Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is an illegal and highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that’s often sold as a white, bitter-tasting, odorless crystalline powder. Originally used as an ingredient in nasal decongestants and other medications that act on the respiratory system, methamphetamine is more powerful than other stimulants. Meth causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Meth is abused for its stimulating effects, which include increased activity, a reduced appetite, and euphoria.
Chronic abuse of meth causes a number of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse¹. Other long-term health effects include psychosis, hallucinations, and paranoia as well as mood disturbances, aggression, and violent behaviors. Long-term effects on cognitive function include memory loss, problems with thinking and processing information, and a decrease in motor skills.
In addition to devastating effects on long-term health, meth is known for its ravaging effects on the physical appearance of chronic users. According to the clinical journal American Family Physician², the severe dental and skin problems related to meth are thought to be largely the result of malnutrition.