National Institutes of Health

Effects of Meth on Bodies and Brains

These are just some of the problems meth can cause:

You Overheat

Meth can make your body temperature so hot that you pass out. Sometimes this can kill you.

Crank Bugs

Meth can make you feel like bugs are crawling on or under your skin. It makes you scratch a lot. Scratching causes sores on your face and arms.

Meth Mouth

Meth users' teeth become broken, stained, and rotten. Meth users often drink lots of sweet things, grind their teeth, and have dry mouth. This is called "meth mouth."

You Look Old

People who use meth start looking old. Meth users burn a lot of energy and don't eat well. This can make them lose weight and look sick. Their hands or body might shake. Their skin looks dull and has sores and pimples that don't heal. Their mouth looks sunken as the teeth go bad.

HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis

People who inject (shoot up) meth can get HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease) if they share used needles. People also get these diseases by having unsafe sex. They often forget to use condoms because they're high on the drug.

Addiction

Meth use can quickly lead to addiction and hurt different parts of your brain. It can cause thinking and emotional problems that don't go away or that come back again even after you quit using the drug. For instance, you might feel, hear, or see things that aren't there. You might think that people are out to get you, or start believing strange ideas that can't really be true.

Photo of meth user before she began using the drug and after she began using the drug

People who use meth start looking old. Their skin often looks dull and has sores that don't heal. The picture on the left shows a woman before she started using meth. The picture on the right shows her two and a half years after she began using the drug. (Photo provided by the Multnomah County, Oregon, Sheriff's Office).