Obviously, addictions are never healthy for a person’s body. But methamphetamine dependencies have proven to be especially harmful. U.S. News and World Report recently released some data that highlighted the toll a problem like this can have on a person’s immune system, as well as the risks it creates for other deadly diseases.
For the record, “meth” is classified as a stimulant and it has been known to harm the heart, the lungs, the liver and even a person’s neurological system. And this doesn’t take into account the risks associated with injecting the drug, which opens up a wide a variety of infectious diseases.
Some of the stats shared by U.S. News showed that meth users were twice as likely to have two more chronic medical conditions during their lifetime versus non-users. And let’s not forget the psychological toll this drug can have, often causing paranoia and heightened anxiety. The research went on to show that meth users are actually three times more likely to suffer from mental illness than a non-user.
Needles are a big part of this equation too. Intravenous meth users were shown to have an extremely high propensity for contracting other diseases. The data illustrated that people within this group have a much higher rate of developing hepatitis and HIV or AIDS, all of which can drastically shorten a person’s lifespan.
NYU School of Global Public Health researcher Joseph Palamar helped pull together this data and spoke to U.S. News about the findings. “We need to inform clinicians that this population is at risk,” In my opinion, more research is needed to learn how dose and frequency of use relates to these conditions — for instance, occasional use on a night out versus chronic use that can lead to a host of adverse effects on the body.”
One other area that was brought up concerned sexually transmitted diseases. Though this wasn’t deeply explored in the data, it is believed that meth users engage in unprotected sex much more frequently, putting themselves at great risk. The drug is also known to have libido-enhancing effects, which is a concern for people who develop serious habits. It is not uncommon for prostitution to enter the equation either, putting users (particularly female ones) in harm’s way.
One other sad note is that these chronic health problems can stay with you long after you after enter a recovery program and get clean. Our advice is to get ahead of any risks before they occur and reach out immediately if you sense there is a meth problem in your inner circle.