Although crystal methamphetamine causes one of the highest highs, it has numerous immediate negative short-term side effects. The downfalls of meth begin right away, even in new and first-time users. Many of the symptoms are like those of other drugs, but all are detrimental to the user’s health.
Someone high on crystal meth is often going to appear hyper and excited. They may experience hallucinations, which sometimes lead them to erratic and violent behaviour, where they may harm themselves or someone else. They may be irritable, or demonstrate extreme anger. They may experience delusions of power. Or, they may feel nauseous and may even vomit.
While the user is high on meth, their blood pressure is rising to very high levels. This causes a risk to the heart, sometimes causing heart attack. Similarly, it can cause strokes, as well. The user’s pupils are likely dilated, which is a good way to tell if the person is high or not. They may experience seizures or convulsions. It is possible they will overdose, and this can lead to death.
When the high is over, the user will experience the comedown, which can be an intense crash. This can leave the user extremely tired. They will probably grind their teeth, which factors into “meth mouth”, which is the rotten tooth look frequently associated with crystal meth addiction. The comedown includes very dry mouth, which also leads to tooth decay, as the chemicals ingested don’t have a chance to be rinsed out of the mouth naturally with saliva production.
The way meth affects the brain, combined with the search for the next high, means that meth users stop caring about things like personal hygiene, grooming, maintenance, and well-being. Oral hygiene stops being a priority. The way meth creates delusions of well-being leads to the lack of effort being put into taking care of one’s self. Meth addicts often have poor dietary habits, as food is no longer a priority. In the short term, meth causes increased feelings of sexuality and attractiveness, meaning people engage in excessive, and risky, sexual behaviour. Meth also causes stamina and increased energy, so sexual activities are often prolonged, which only serves to increase the risk and probability of STI transmission. The heightened libido leads meth users to have sex with multiple partners, many of whom are also sexually promiscuous, and injecting intravenous drugs with unclean needles.
While many of the short term side effects of crystal meth begin right away, they are also only the beginning of the road to an unhealthy lifestyle. Things like brain activity and blood pressure are impacted after the very first use, and continue to get progressively worse over the months and years of crystal meth use. While recovery can repair some of the side effects caused, both in the short term and the long term, from meth, some of the effects are permanent and will never be erased or improved. “Meth mouth” is only one of the symptoms of prolonged meth abuse, but it begins with the first exposure to the harmful chemical substance.