Health Problems Caused by Long-Term Meth Addiction | Banyan Mass

Health Problems Caused by Long-Term Meth Addiction

meth addiction

Meth, which is short for methamphetamine, is a stimulant that creates feelings of euphoria and focus by stimulating the central nervous system.

The drug releases high levels of dopamine into the brain, increasing feelings of pleasure. [1] Chronic meth use can result in behavioral changes such as an increase in anxiety or confusion. But what are the physical health effects of prolonged meth use?

Brain Effects of Meth Addiction

Long-term meth use can cause a wealth of problems, even after a patient completes meth addiction treatment. Brain imaging studies show that when meth addiction is active, healthy neurons in the brain can be damaged in key areas responsible for memory, movement, and emotions. [2] This is believed to be part of the cause of the strange behavioral effects of meth addiction. But there is good news, lasting sobriety is shown to improve these crucial brain cells, with some cells recovering after about 2 years of sobriety. [2]

The brain changes caused by meth addiction can cause problems such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Mood changes
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Motor skill reduction

Other effects of long-term meth use include an increased risk of stroke [2] and hypertension. [3] With inpatient and PHP drug treatment in Massachusetts, these conditions can be properly addressed.

Understanding and Treating Meth Mouth

There are several effects of meth use that can damage one’s oral health, causing a condition casually referred to as meth mouth. When addicts are using, they often neglect eating and drinking, which can lead to dehydration that can be damaging to the mouth. Additionally, the drug also alters saliva production, making a person’s existing saliva higher in protein than normal. This makes matters worse by contributing to further dental decay. [3]

Once sobriety is reached, meth mouth can be treated with dental care and support. Many patients begin undergoing dental services once they have entered our intensive outpatient program or after they complete the full treatment program.

Call our treatment team at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we can help treat meth addiction and its related challenges.


  1. DEA – Meth [PDF]
  2. NIH – What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?
  3. University of Arizona – Medical Complications
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