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Ask Michelle - Questions & Answers about Meth Addiction and Recovery

  • Feb

    Physiological Effects from Meth Use

    Hello. I have been smoking meth daily for about 2 months now, and have a few questions.

    I only smoke about 1 gram a week, evenly spaced out during day ... I eat, sleep, function regularly. Some days, I'm fine, and some days I feel hot, heart beats fast, etc... I used 3 times before in my life before starting this every day pattern.

    My question is, obviously this is not optimal, but am I in any serious immediate trouble? Are the few occasions where I feel "funny" dangerous? All I have to do is take a cold shower, lay down and breathe, and I'm normal again. Why do I feel that occasionally, and not at other times? Also, is any permanent damage being done? I'm not paranoid, don't see bugs crawling, don't hallucinate, don't get aggravated, etc... No mental issues. Thank goodness. It seems to be more physiological effects. Are they temporary? Because when I don't use for a day, I feel fine. If any damage is being done, are they reversible? And finally, what is considered to be "long term" use? How long, how much, how consistently do you have to be using to be considered a "long term" user? Whew, lots of questions, I know. Thank you so much.

    By: James Chen

    Meth is a stimulant drug that not only stimulates the brain, but the heart as well. You don't have to smoke meth for a long period of time or be a heavy user to have it affect your heart. Your heart rate increases when you use meth no matter how it's administered. You can be a healthy person and experience a racing heart, palpitations, anxiety and even changes in body temperature when using drugs like meth at any given time. No one knows for sure how healthy their heart is or how their heart will react to drugs of any kind and this includes legal over the counter medications too.

    Not everyone's body reacts exactly the same or experiences the exact same symptoms when they use drugs. It's hard to say whether the symptoms you're experiencing are temporary or if they will continue to get worse. If you feel fine when you don't use for a day then you need to listen to your body and it's time to stop. When we talk about the effects and symptoms of meth we know that it can increase a person's blood pressure, increase their body temperature, it does increase a person's heart rate and cause anxiety. Some people may experience mild symptoms while others symptoms are much more intense and more often.

    Immediate Trouble-It's impossible to say if you could be in immediate trouble when it comes to your heart. It's definitely a sign that you need to stop because these symptoms will continue to increase as time goes on and may not go away so easily when you shower, rest, and relax your breathing. As far as why you experience these symptoms occasionally is hard to say but your body is definitely trying to tell you something.

    Meth also causes damage to the small blood vessels in the brain which can lead to a stroke. It doesn't matter whether you've used meth for 6 months or 6 weeks, it just depends on your body and you have to listen to the signs. A person can experience irreversible damage and not be a heavy meth user or have used the drug daily for several years. Long term drug use involves a few years of abusing substances but there are many people who experience some long term side effects after only using for a short period of time.

    Please don't think that just because you haven't used meth for very long or that you're not a heavy user that you don't have to worry about serious health issues taking place early. Everyone is different and it's not worth the risk so I hope you're able to stop.