The Health Damage Methamphetamine Causes

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Methamphetamine is a popular and dangerous drug that can cause severe damage to a persons health.

Methamphetamine also known as meth, crystal meth, crystal, speed, crank and poor mans cocaine plus numerous other names is an illegal drug that it so popular and widely used that it is second only to alcohol and marijuana as the drug most frequently used in many states. It is a crystal like substance and can also come in the form of rocks and is taken in several different ways, snorting it through the nose, smoking it or injecting it. Methamphetamine causes both mental health and physical health damage.

Why People Take Methamphetamine

People are always trying to find a way to beat sleep, to stay awake that extra time for various reasons. Taking methamphetamine might have started out as a way to beat sleep and stay awake for sometimes days at a time, but in the past decade the drug has been taken as a cheaper form of cocaine, a drug to make someone feel more sociable as it artificially boosts self-confidence.

Another reason for taking speed is the fact it diminishes appetite dramatically, so some people use methamphetamine for weight loss.

The main reason people take methamphetamine is because they like how it affects the brain, there is the initial pleasure and then a high that can last as long as 6-12 hours. The drug causes the release of excessive amounts of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that controls pleasure.

How Methamphetamine is Made

When a person takes methamphetamine they are ingesting a wide range of chemicals that are used in the making of this drug and all are dangerous to your health. Here is a partial list of the chemicals that are used in the making of methamphetamine. Rubbing alcohol, ether, benzene, paint thinner, Freon, acetone, chloroform, Anhydrous ammonia, phenyl-2-propone, phenyl acetone, Phenylpropanolamine, toluene, lye, drain cleaner, muraitic acid, battery acid, ephedrine, cold tablets, diet aids, iodine and bronchodialators.

There are so many volatile and dangerous chemicals mixed together just to make methamphetamine, that whenever a police or fire department finds one of these drug labs in a home, everyone entering the house needs to wear a protective body suit. And anyone taking methamphetamine is also ingesting these chemicals into his or her lungs, nose, blood and organs and who knows what other dangerous chemicals someone making the drug might add to it.

The Health Damage Methamphetamine Causes 

The health damage done by methamphetamine is not only physical but mental as well. It is an addictive drug and the body builds a tolerance to the drug quickly meaning that the user has to have more of it and more often to continue the same feelings and to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. It destroys the brains dopamine receptors and without the drug users can fall into a deep depression.

Mental Health Damage From Methamphetamine

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Hearing voices
  • Compulsive repetitive behavior such as constantly checking the door locks which goes with the paranoia.
  • Violent or aggressive behavior
  • Can cause a person to lose the ability to be happy or joyful without artificial drugs or stimulation
  • Lost jobs
  • Ruined marriages

Prolonged use of methamphetamine can also cause the person to believe there are insects under their skin to the point they will scratch themselves to get at them. Long-term use causes health damage to brain cells that are similar to those of a stroke or Alzheimer’s. When addicts take the drug over and over again, it damages the “wiring” in the brains pleasure areas.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant and this causes the body to release high doses of adrenaline inducing anxiety, wakefulness and intense focus. Users claim this intense focus lets them work far more efficiently when in reality they look back at their work and see it is a total mess they created while on the drug.

Physical Health Damage from Methamphetamine

  • Increased heart rate
  • Lower resistance can cause illness and damge to the immune system
  • Convulsions
  • Liver damage
  • Extreme rises in body temperature causing brain damage
  • Stroke and even death
  • Rapid aging
  • Sores to appear that take a long time to heal
  • Insomnia
  • Flushing or pallor
  • Tremors
  • Shortness of breath

Methamphetamine actually ages the body dramatically. Before and after pictures of people who are addicted to the drug are dramatic in how they have aged. By causing the blood vessels to constrict this drug cuts off the proper blood flow to all parts of the body. Continued usage causes health damage to these areas that could prevent the body from repairing itself. Even though some people might lose weight using this drug, it is because they aren’t eating food and the body is using up all of its stores of nutrition. The body of a methamphetamine user is basically wasting away.

Methamphetamine ages every part of the body.

The drug causes health damage from inflammation of the brain as well as ruining the dopamine receptors causing motor skills and cognitive thinking areas of the brain to be damaged. In studies done by Dr. Nora Volkow and colleagues at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, PET scans done on users of Methamphetamine showed a 20% increase in brain metabolism. This was due to inflammation of the brain from this very toxic drug. Dopamine transporters (DAT) had diminished by 24%. The dopamine transporter losses in the brain for methamphetamine users, is roughly equivalent to 40 years of aging for 2 years of methamphetamine use. The body can heal itself, but you have to stop taking the drug and let your body heal.


You are not doing yourself a favor by using the drug methamphetamine to enhance your study or work abilities. In fact you are worsening your brains ability to even understand or remember what you are studying. If you think methamphetamine is making you better or more socially acceptable, it is doing the exact opposite. The old saying “speed kills” is true. Methamphetamine damages your mental and physical health

© 2009 Sam Montana

Sources and further information:

The Brookhaven National Laboratory

Complete study by Dr. Volkow

WGBH and PBS show about methamphetamine


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