Meth, also known as methamphetamine, is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Snorted, smoked, or injected, it affects the body and the mind. As it does so, it creates a sense of euphoria that can last for hours form just one dose. The long term effects of meth can be both physically and mentally devasting. Substance abuse treatment can be found at The Right Step. How Meth Works in the Body Meth is a central nervous system stimulant. This makes you feel awake, and it may cause hyperactivity. You have more energy and feel like you can go on forever. Often, it causes restlessness, agitation, and jitters, as well. It increases blood pressure and body temperature.\u00a0Meth also releases large amounts of the brain's pleasure chemicals. These are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. However, dopamine releases in much higher amounts. Dopamine is the brain's reward chemical. Under normal circumstances, your brain releases dopamine when you accomplish something good. Exercise, interacting with loved ones, and receiving compliments each release small amounts of dopamine. This feels good, encouraging you to repeat the behavior. Meth releases dopamine in much larger amounts, accounting for many of the long term effects of meth. Eventually, your brain becomes accustomed to this. It changes to try to maintain balance, including the loss of dopamine and serotonin receptors. The\u00a0Long Term Effects of Meth on the Brain The most startling long term effects of meth have to do with the brain. Decreased white matter, decreased neurons, and fewer dopamine transporters. This can result in many side effects, including: \tReduced coordination \tDifficulty regulating emotions \tDifficulty concentrating \tAnxiety \tLearning impairment Impaired Thinking The long term effects of meth include behavioral and cognitive problems. It can impair judgment and problem-solving abilities. Essentially, this is a result of poor impulse control in the brain. When you become impulsive, your ability for problem-solving decreases significantly. Some individuals may require medication or psychotherapy to help them learn to control their impulses. Chronic meth use also decreases memory. Your brain essentially encodes information and retrieves it when you need it. This process happens each time you recall a memory. Meth use impairs your ability to properly encode memories as well as your ability to retrieve them. Motor Function Impairment Meth damages the white matter of the brain. Some of the long term effects of meth use relate to movement problems due to this. Reaction time is noticeably slower. Coordination decreases. In severe situations, even simple tasks like walking can be impaired. Psychiatric Disorders Meth also leads to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders. Delusions, hallucinations, and the inability to distinguish reality from fantasy can all occur as a result of meth use. Meth bugs are one example. Those who abuse meth for long periods may think they have "bugs" crawling under their skin. They may then try to remove them, resulting in serious harm. Severe psychiatric disorders will normally cease after meth use stops, but there can be some residual effects. Psychiatric problems like anxiety and depression can last long after meth abuse has stopped. One reason for this is the effects meth has on the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are depleted, making depression much more likely. Apathy is common as well because once enjoyable activities no longer provide the same positive feelings. Anxiety can stem from damage done by the drug, or the inability to function sober after long term use. Meth Treatment at Right Step There are serious long term effects of meth. However, many of them can be reversed or at least partially repaired once meth use has stopped. It can be a difficult process, but it's much easier when you have professional help and an adequate support system. Don't let meth or other drugs continue to cause damage that you will have to live with long term, contact us at , and find out how The Right Step can help you get clean and sober.