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methamphetamine

Health effects

Short-term effects

Effects can vary depending on the type and amount of methamphetamine used, how it is taken, and individual factors like tolerance, size, gender, and health. The onset of effects is fastest when methamphetamine is injected or smoked.

Typical effects of methamphetamine include:

  • feelings of euphoria, excitement and wellbeing
  • increased energy, confidence and motivation
  • feelings of power and superiority over others
  • feelings of increased strength
  • talkativeness
  • increased libido
  • enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • dry mouth
  • increased breathing rate and shortness of breath
  • restlessness, repetitive actions, itching, picking, and scratching
  • anxiety, nervousness, agitation and panic
  • paranoia and hallucinations
  • irritability, hostility and aggression
  • headaches and dizziness
  • wakefulness and  difficulty sleeping
  • disjointed thoughts and speech
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure, irregular heart beat, palpitations
  • chest pain
  • reduced appetite and stomach cramps
  • increased sweating and body temperature
  • faster reaction times.

(Meth)amphetamine psychosis:

Heavy and frequent use can lead to ‘methamphetamine psychosis’ for some people.  This condition is characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and bizarre, aggressive or violent behaviour.

The come-down:

People coming down after using methamphetamine can experience feelings of exhaustion, irritability, mood swings, depression and violence. These feelings are more pronounced after heavy, prolonged use, and can last up to several days after methamphetamine use has stopped.

Long-term effects

The long-term use of methamphetamine can greatly increase the risk of significant physical and mental health problems. These include:

  • anxiety, tension and depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • a violent or aggressive personality
  • psychosis
  • brain damage, memory loss
  • poor skin condition, wounds, acne
  • poor oral hygiene which can lead to gum and teeth problems
  • susceptibility to infection and disease due to reduced immunity
  • weight loss and malnutrition due to poor eating habits
  • increased risk of stroke
  • increased risk of heart attack due to increased strain on heart
  • damage to kidneys, risk of kidney failure
  • damage to nasal passages (for those who snort methamphetamine)
  • lung damage (for those who smoke methamphetamine)
  • damaged veins (for those who inject methamphetamine)
  • blood-borne diseases (such as HIV, Hepatitis) for those who inject methamphetamine.