How does meth affect your life?
Meth causes the brain to release a huge amount of certain chemical messengers, which, as you probably know, make people feel alert, confident, social, and generally great.
Some of these messengers help us to respond to threats by preparing us to either fight or run away, so they increase energy, keep us awake, stop hunger and raise blood pressure and heart rate. When using meth, you can experience all of this, even if you don’t feel threatened.
When people have been using meth for a while, the glass empties and no matter how much methamphetamine they use, they just can’t get the ‘rush’ they want and will still feel awful. There are just too few messengers left to tell the brain to feel good. It’s like overdrawing a bank account — no matter how many times you go back to the bank, the balance is still zero until a deposit is made.
It takes rest, a good diet, and most of all TIME for the glass to become full again. During this period, people can feel flat, moody, irritable, forgetful, restless, and exhausted, which is opposite to the feelings people have while using.
These tips might help to prevent or manage some of the negative effects of meth use.
Want to know more?
Plenty of rest and sleep
You probably find that you don’t sleep well, or at all when you’re using meth.
Lack of sleep can affect your mental and physical health. Try to get some sleep daily or at least every second day.
If this isn’t possible, rest in a darkened room for a few hours each day.
Meth reduces your appetite, meaning you probably don’t eat much or at all when using.
The best thing you can do to boost your immune system is eat a balanced diet including fresh, healthy food like fruit, vegetables, dairy, lean meats, chicken and fish and wholegrain cereals and bread. They are high in vitamins and other nutrients which are important for maintaining health.
Fruit and vegetables:
Start with a piece of fruit or some vegetable sticks and build up to two pieces of fruit and 2 ½ cups of cooked vegetables or a cup of salad.
Grain (cereal) foods:
Start the day with some cereal and milk or toast. This is important to give you energy, especially when you’re on a crash.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, lentils:
These foods have lots of important nutrients for maintaining health. Eggs are a low cost way to make sure you’re getting protein and other nutrients.
Try to have some milk, yoghurt or cheese every day. Dairy can help reduce blood pressure and provide calcium to keep bones and teeth strong.
When using meth, people can become dehydrated.
To avoid dehydration take regular small sips of water, about 250 mL per hour, or if dancing or very active drink 500 - 600mL of water per hour.
However, drinking too much water can lead to over-hydration, which can be fatal if left untreated.
Try to avoid caffeine-based drinks and energy drinks as they can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Drinking alcohol will cause further dehydration and your meth use can mask the alcohol intoxication signs that place you at risk of physical harm including injury and arguments.
Looking after personal hygiene
Regular showering and changing into clean clothes can make you feel physically and psychologically better.
It is also important if you have any wounds that are taking a while to heal.
Good dental hygiene
The mucous membranes in your mouth can dry out due to decreased saliva production, especially when smoking meth.
Poor dental hygiene can increase the risk of infection, tooth decay and tooth loss.
Remember to brush your teeth, using toothpaste every day.
Chewing gum can also help to produce saliva that can help reduce the risk of having dental problems.
Understanding health effects
The effects of meth will vary depending on the person, the drug and the place.
Dave's Story, 25 year old
"When you take meth you feel unstoppable, indestructible. When you come down it's not great. I used to get the shakes in my legs and I'd start to feel all the sores in my mouth from chewing all the time. Then I'd sleep sometimes for days. I would get infections on my chest from picking. I was severely malnourished. And my teeth would sporadically crumble in my mouth."
Some effects of meth use:
- Reduced appetite and malnutrition
- Inability to sleep
- Jaw clamping, teeth grinding and dental problems
- Increased alertness, sweating, dehydration.