MAMa FAQ's #12

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More information can be found in Crystal Meth: They Call it Ice.

What are the effects of meth on the rest of the body?

Methamphetamine affects other systems in the body as well as the brain.

Hyper-stimulation of the heart and blood vessels causes rapid heart rate and extremely high blood pressure, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Hyper-stimulation of the brain causes fevers and muscle spasms, headaches and seizures.
Methamphetamine causes the eyes to dilate, so that lights seem too bright. They may wear sunglasses, even indoors for this.

Methamphetamine causes the user to get hot and sweaty, and produces a distinctive and sometimes foul body odor. They are fidgety and hyperactive, take things apart and put them back together repeatedly, or play video games for hours.

The skin of meth addicts is commonly marked by sores called 'crank bugs' that appear on the face, arms and legs, and body of the addict. They itch and the addict frequently thinks there are insects under his skin. He will scratch and dig holes in his skin in an effort to get rid of them.

Methamphetamine causes a loss of appetite, sometimes even a food aversion. The very thought of eating can make them nauseated. Weight loss is rapid and extreme.

Methamphetamine causes a heightened sex drive and delayed ejaculation in men. It also causes drying of the mucous membranes and abrasions during sexual activity so that disease is spread more readily.

Addicts get severe lung damage from smoking crystal. A chronic cough is common, and progresses to emphysema. They also develop heart failure at an early age, sometimes in their 30s, requiring heart medications, and even a heart transplant. Blood vessels disintegrate resulting in kidney damage, pancreatitis, liver failure, and rhabdomyolysis where muscles dissolve and release toxic chemicals into the blood stream. These conditions have a high mortality rate.

AIDS and Hepatitis are rampant in methamphetamine addicts. Most users carry Hepatitis C, and they commonly die of it. Of the HIV positive people in this nation, 1/3 are IV drug users, and 1/3 of all IV drug users are HIV positive. Meth addicts are often extremely promiscuous which contributes to the spread of these and other sexually transmitted diseases.



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