Long-term abuse of methamphetamine can lead to several unsightly changes in physical appearance such as meth sores, false aging, meth mouth, and dramatic weight loss.
While everyone is different, meth and weight loss are often connected. In some cases, methamphetamine may be used purposely to lose weight, and other times, it is simply a side effect of continued abuse.
Along with the treatment of ADHD, occasionally doctors will give obese patients prescription methamphetamine for weight loss, but this is rare. Because of methamphetamine’s addictive nature, there is a high risk of abuse so if doctors do prescribe it, it is usually only for a short period of time.
More often than not, methamphetamine is abused illegally and without meth treatment, and most people struggle to stop regardless of the negative consequences. Unhealthy and drastic weight loss is one common side effect of this abuse. Some people may even take crystal meth for weight loss specifically before becoming addicted to the drug and no longer having much of a choice. Others take this drug intending to get high and, consequently, repeated use of methamphetamine causes weight loss. This relationship between meth and weight is believed to be attributed to a few different reasons.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that increases energy levels. When people take this drug in binges to avoid the unwanted side effect of crashing, it may lead to days without real sleep. Alongside this constant activity, methamphetamine is also believed to suppress appetite. Regular users may go days with a full meal. There is also some evidence to suggest that long-term drug abuse can impact the body’s metabolism and ability to store fat, but this discovery is still new and needs further review.1 Over time, all of these factors can lead to drastic weight loss as well as malnutrition from a poor diet when users do eat. Drug rehab centers should do a full clinical assessment of patients before treatment begins to address secondary issues like malnutrition in recovery.
At Banyan Massachusetts, we believe that successful long-term recovery should be a lifestyle change that starts in early treatment. Our Boston center partial hospitalization program will not only help the user quit abusing this drug, but also look at the side effects from its use such as unhealthy weight loss. Those who are underweight or malnourished from long-term abuse will focus on changing their diet to give their body the nutrients its been lacking as well as getting back to a healthy weight.