Long-Term Effects of Meth

Table of Contents

There are many long-term effects of using meth, including overdose and addiction. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disorder that’s characterized by compulsive drug use regardless of adverse outcomes. The effects of long-term meth use may include significant changes in brain function and structure. Read on to learn more about the consequences of methamphetamine abuse and discover how to connect with compassionate care.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Meth?

The effects of prolonged meth use can be severe and potentially irreversible. Long-term meth use impacts all body systems.

Neurological impact

Long-term effects of methamphetamines may include cognitive impairments like memory loss, reduced attention span, and difficulty with problem-solving. Chronic meth use may also trigger emotional and psychological changes, such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and an increased risk of psychosis.

Physical health issues

Long-term methamphetamine use can lead to significant weight loss, dental problems – often described as meth mouth – skin sores, and heightened risk of infectious diseases, either from unsafe injecting practices or compromised immunity.

Cardiovascular problems

Meth use is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to prolonged cardiovascular issues, including a heightened risk of heart attacks, stroke, and irreversible damage to blood vessels.

Dependence and addiction

Methamphetamine, like all Schedule II substances, is highly addictive, leading to the development of tolerance (where more of the drug is required to achieve the same effects) and dependence (a state associated with the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation).

Changes in brain structure and function

Imaging studies show that meth use can cause changes in brain structure, especially in areas that govern emotion and memory. Chronic meth abuse may also lead to impaired verbal learning and reduced motor speed.

Social and behavioral changes

People using meth long-term often demonstrate significant changes in behavior, including increased aggression, risky sexual behaviors, and social isolation. These changes can lead to strained relationships, job loss, and legal problems.

The cumulative effect of these issues can be devastating not only to the person but also to their family and community. Recovery from long-term methamphetamine use require comprehensive medical and psychological treatment to address the broad-based nature of the addiction and its consequences.

woman looking out at sunset representing Long term effects of meth

Meth Effects on The Body

Methamphetamine triggers an array of effects on the body, some of which are immediate and others that develop or worsen over time with continued use:

  • Increased blood pressure: Meth use increases heart rate and blood pressure, which strains the cardiovascular system. This may lead to chronic heart problems or acute emergencies like heart attacks.
  • Meth mouth: Those abusing meth long-term often suffer from severe dental decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, attributed to the acidic content of the drug, dry mouth, and poor dental hygiene.
  • Skin and appearance: People who use meth long-term often have sores or abscesses on the skin from scratching and picking.
  • Malnutrition and weight loss: Meth causes appetite loss and extreme weight loss, which may lead to malnutrition and weaken the immune system, rendering the body more susceptible to illness.
  • Reproductive health issues: Meth use can lead to sexual dysfunction in men and menstrual irregularities in women, as well as increased risk-taking behavior which may result in the transmission of STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Neurological damage: Beyond cognitive impairments and emotional disturbances, meth can cause permanent damage to the dopamine system in the brain, affecting a person’s ability to experience pleasure naturally.
  • Respiratory problems: Smoking methamphetamine can provoke respiratory issues like coughing, breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of respiratory infections.
  • Liver damage: Meth can be toxic to the liver, increasing the risk of liver damage and failure over time.

Treatment for Long-Term Effects of Meth Use

Addressing the long-term effects of methamphetamine use involves a holistic approach that combines medical care, psychological support, and lifestyle adjustments.  

Medical interventions

For immediate health concerns like cardiovascular complications or infections, medical treatment may involve medications, surgeries, or other interventions. Dental care helps address the severe oral health issues caused by meth use.


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other forms of counseling are essential for tackling psychological dependence on meth. Therapy can help people understand the root causes of their addictions, develop coping strategies to counter cravings, and deal with any co-occurring mental health disorders like depression or anxiety.

Nutritional support

Dieticians can provide personalized eating plans to help people restore nutritional balance and support overall recovery from meth addiction.

Physical rehabilitation

Physical therapy and exercise programs can help people recover from the physical deterioration triggered by chronic meth use.

Social and community support

Family therapy, peer support groups, and community resources can all play a part in someone’s recovery from meth addiction, providing support, accountability, and practical assistance.

Relapse prevention

Continuous monitoring and support help prevent relapse. This may include ongoing outpatient treatment, support group meetings, and medication-assisted treatment to help manage cravings and ongoing withdrawal symptoms or co-occurring disorders.

Recovery from the long-term effects of meth use is challenging but achievable. Here’s how you can kickstart your recovery.

ohio recovery centers facility from curb view, representing Long term effects of meth

Get Treatment for Meth Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you or someone that you care about needs help moving beyond meth addiction, reach out to Ohio Recovery Centers and begin your recovery with supervised medical detoxification.

After addressing the issue of dependence on methamphetamine, you can tackle the psychological side of stimulant addiction during ongoing outpatient treatment at our rehab center in Cincinnati, OH. This form of treatment is not only affordable but also highly flexible – attend therapy sessions around your existing commitments.

All meth addictions are unique and are often associated with physical or mental health complications. Treatment plans at Ohio Recovery Centers reflect this with a personalized blend of science-backed and holistic interventions for a whole-body approach to recovery from meth addiction.

Call 877-679-2132 today and kickstart your recovery right away.

Table of Contents

an image of author Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

An image of Ohio Community Health staff

Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn