Effects of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, like most other drugs, will alter the chemical and physical make-up of the human body. The purpose of this page is to provide an overall summary of the signs and symptoms of a frequent methamphetamine user as well as provide information on the physical effects that methamphetamine has on the various systems of the human body. For a more in depth look into what methamphetamine does to each organ system, please refer to the Table of Contents located on your left.


Symptoms and Signs

Physical Effects


- Chest pain can be present in current users of methamphetamines

- Signs can range from something as severe as aortic dissection which occurs when a tear in the inner wall of the aorta causes a significant amount of blood to flow between the layers and forcing them apart

- Dyspnea or shortness of breath

- Meth can produce a hypertensive effect on the heart causing unnecessary stress on the cardiac muscle (See cardiovascular page)

- Acute congestive heart failure (CHF) can occur over an extended period of time for constant methamphetamine users causing systolic dysfunction and “weak hearts”


Central Nervous System

- Signs include agitation, violent behavior, comas, new-onset seizures, headaches, emotional lability (constant change of emotions), hypersexuality and paranoia


- Agitation and paranoia are frequent results from alternations that occur in the CNS dopamine, serotonin and glutamate pathways (see Nervous System page)  



- Symptoms include wheezing and labored breathing

- Pneumothorax, where the lung leaks air into the chest cavity due to the lining of the lung ripping away from the chest wall resulting in a collapse of the lungs. This includes the inhibition of the vessels that return blood back to the heart



- Wheezing from reactive airway disease may be induced by methamphetamine

- Pneumothorax may be a result from forceful inhalation from regular methamphetamine use


- Delusional parasitosis can be a symptom after an individual experiences meth. It is the mistaken belief of the infestation of parasites and small insects on the skin

- Abscess which is very common in meth users, this occurs when an infection causes fluid and pus to collect in the skin

- Cellulitis which is another skin infection caused by bacteria allowing inflammation of the skin



- Methamphetamine injectors such as shots will frequently present the effects of abscess and cellulitis causing largely infected areas

- Meth users will pick at their skin frequently blaming it on a “spider-bite” from delusional parasitosis


- Symptoms include abdominal pain

- Obstruction in the intestines

- Lack of appetite and few nutrients received from energy source (food) that is absorbed in the digestive system

- Severe abdominal pain may result from acute mesenteric vasoconstriction

- Methamphetamine has also been associated with the formation of ulcers and ischemic colitis due to the lack of nutrients and a result of poor health



- Caries which is typically defined as the progressive break down of bone structures is typically seen in the teeth of avid meth users

- Peridental abscess is similar to abscess found on the skin however the infection is present in the oral cavity

-Severe caries, especially of the maxillary teeth is commonly seen in chronic methamphetamine users

- The results of the tooth decay come from maxillary artery vasoconstriction or the narrowing of the blood vessels due to meth’s effects on the cardiovascular system and poor hygiene.






Methamphetamine’s effects on the human body are devastating. Below you will find a poll asking for your opinion on which effect you believe is the worst. Please take the poll; we value your input. The videos below the poll explain each effect in the poll in greater detail.

  1. natlizlublin says:

    This page was very well done. I really enjoyed reading the biological effects Meth has on the body. I would be interested to hear what the worst effect on your body is. Again, great job!


  2. brooksaurora says:

    Hey you guys! This page is absolutely amazing, probably one of the best that I have seen! It’s very professional and the format is extremely user friendly. The only possible criticism I have is that some of the sections seem a bit biased instead of purely objective and informative. Regardless of if you keep it this way or not though, this page definitely deserves a high grade.


  3. I really like the diagrams of the human body and all the places that meth effects! These really make a big difference ad highlight what you guys are explaining in the table!

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