Like many drugs, methamphetamine, also known as “crystal meth,” have lasting effects even after one has quit. Some may be treatable, but many are permanent. Crystal meth is known to have some of the most severe and common long-term effects. As an extremely addictive drug, meth users have great difficulty quitting, and are often not aware of the long-term effects they risk experiencing. There may also be side effects of prior crystal meth addiction.
Previous methamphetamine use is most commonly associated with depression and suicidal thoughts. Brain function does not return to normal quickly after one has stopped using meth heavily, and the slow rate at which it adapts to living without the drug causes mental, psychological, and physical problems.
Some physical effects of prior crystal meth addiction include increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, and decreased productivity of the immune system. These symptoms may persist throughout the addict’s life. High blood pressure, liver disease, and dental hygiene issues are also possible side effects from a meth addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prior meth addicts who had been abstinent for two years almost all showed neurochemical disruption, and many do for the rest of their life. Some mental health issues that occur as a result of methamphetamine are memory and attention impairment, decreased precise motor function, and most severely, psychosis.
The psychosis is the most common long-term effect of heavy methamphetamine use. It often resembles schizophrenia. Just over 20 percent of prior meth addicts experience psychosis, and in most cases, it is untreatable.