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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