Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth (Methamphetamine)

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. The effects of using methamphetamine may be unpredictable. Some people will experience anxiety and panic attacks. A person may be talkative, have a rapid flow of ideas, and a sense of increased mental capacity and physical strength.

Short-term effects

  • dry mouth and teeth grinding
  • dilation of pupils
  • stomach ache and reduced appetite
  • headache and dizziness
  • sleep difficulties
  • sweating
  • muscle tremors (shakiness)
  • increased heart rate and irregular/abnormal heart rhythm
  • increased breathing rate
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • cardiovascular collapse
  • stroke

A person might also experience:

  • high fever, chest pain, fainting
  • muscle twitching
  • confusion, paranoid thinking and hallucinations
  • a rapid heartbeat or irregular/abnormal heart rhythm
  • develop high blood pressure
  • feel anxious or tense
  • lose their appetite and lose weight
  • have trouble sleeping
  • develop "meth mouth" (severe tooth decay and damage)
  • have skin lesions resulting from compulsive skin scratching and picking caused by drug-induced tactile hallucinations of "bugs" crawling under the skin.
  • develop repetitive body movements

Long-term Health Risks

Other serious long-term health risks include:

Psychosis. Some people may develop psychosis with paranoid thought patterns and severe agitation. Their behaviour may be erratic, bizarre or violent. In some cases, psychotic symptoms can linger for months or years after last methamphetamine use. Methamphetamine users sometimes attempt suicide while using the drug or during withdrawal.

Memory and motor problems. Some methamphetamine users have long-lasting memory problems and reduced motor skills. School and job performance may also suffer as a result of chronic, heavy use of methamphetamine.

Brain damage. Research studies have shown that methamphetamine can damage certain brain cells in animals and humans. While this does not mean that the damage happens in all users or after only one or two uses, there is a risk of short or long-term brain damage, which could potentially be irreversible.