Does Meth Make You Skinny

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Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive and dangerous drug that affects the central nervous system.

Methamphetamine use can cause a range of serious health problems, including brain damage and heart failure, and can lead to death. One of the more obvious ramifications of meth abuse is dramatic weight loss that can bring about an array of related health concerns that can seriously impact your health.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a dependence on meth or any other substance, Guardian Recovery can help. We will work with you to develop an individualized and effective program to help you recover from addiction and get you on the road to long-term recovery. We believe in the benefits of a full curriculum of clinical care, beginning with medical detoxification, transitioning into a higher level of treatment, and concluding with personalized aftercare planning. Our program also offers nutrition therapy to help you with a healthy recovery from weight loss and nutrient deficits. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options in your area.

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How Methamphetamines Affect Your Metabolism

As a stimulant, meth makes the body work harder, increasing your heart rate and speeding up your metabolism. At the same time, it suppresses the appetite, turning off the body’s hunger response. You lose interest in eating and rapidly lose body mass. The size of your stomach shrinks, further limiting your intake of the nutrients necessary for maintaining good health.

In one scientific study utilizing house flies, those given meth became twice as active as usual but decreased their food consumption by as much as 80 percent. That means they were using up more of their energy and getting less back from food. Meth also seemed to affect triglycerides (where unused calories that provide energy are stored) and glycogen (stored glucose that the body uses for energy). These energy reserve molecules were drained over time while the flies were given meth.

Methamphetamines & Appetite Suppression

Your brain and body work together to ensure you get enough food automatically. When your body needs fuel (food), it prompts you with hunger sensations, which are tied to your brain’s reward center. Healthy activities, like eating a nutritious meal, release dopamine, train your brain to remember they made you feel good, and prompt you to repeat them.

When taken, meth releases high levels of dopamine into the brain. The flood of dopamine overrides your natural hunger signals causing you to lose your appetite. Meth can also cause dry mouth and nausea, adding to the disinterest in eating.

Many find weight loss desirable in the short term, but long-term appetite suppression can lead to serious health problems, including addiction, heart disease, and malnutrition.

Short-Term Weight Loss Results from Methamphetamine Use

Meth causes a decrease in appetite and an increase in energy levels, which may lead to a significant drop in weight. However, this weight loss is often accompanied by negative consequences such as a weakened immune system, dental problems, and skin sores.

Long-Term Weight Loss Effects of Methamphetamine Use

Chronic meth use can lead to malnutrition, muscle wasting, and other health issues, resulting in a weakened immune system and organ damage. Malnutrition can also cause you to:

  • Feel tired all the time.
  • Feel weak.
  • Feel cold.
  • Have a hard time concentrating.
  • Become depressed.
  • Lose your hair.
  • Suffer from headaches.

The Risks & Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss from Methamphetamines

Rapid weight loss caused by methamphetamine use can also lead to dehydration, malnutrition, muscle wasting, and other health issues. It can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and viruses, and cause mental health disorders and organ damage.

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The Impact of Methamphetamine Use on Muscle Mass

Frequent meth use can cause muscle twitching, tremors, and loss of muscle mass due to malnutrition. When the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, it goes into a dangerous state of starvation. It isn’t getting the protein it needs and uses up stored fat, then eats into the muscle for energy.

You can also develop a severe condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This disorder causes the rapid destruction of muscle tissue. The potentially-toxic damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream, causing widespread muscle pain and dramatic fluctuations in serum electrolytes  – essential minerals necessary for basic life functions. Left untreated or if not caught early enough, rhabdomyolysis can cause irreversible kidney failure.

The connection between meth abuse and rhabdomyolysis is not fully known. Some believe it results from increased body temperature, dehydration, increased muscle movements, and the direct toxic activity of the meth on muscle cells.

Potential Nutritional Deficiencies Resulting from Methamphetamine Use

Chronic meth use can have devastating effects on the body, and one notable area of impact is vitamin deficiencies. Individuals who abuse methamphetamine tend to have reduced levels of vital vitamins, such as vitamins B12, C, and D.

These vitamins play a critical role in the body, helping sustain your immune and nervous systems and overall health. When left untreated, lacking these essential vitamins can lead to severe health consequences, including neurological issues, organ damage, and even death.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal & Weight Gain

Detoxing from meth and getting clean helps to restore normal body processes. When you stop using meth, your appetite will return, allowing you to regain weight. However, you may gain more weight than intended if you are not careful. After being in a starvation state, the body will store calories as fat instead of turning them into energy, resulting in rapid weight gain. You also may find yourself replacing meth with food and end up overeating.

Treating Methamphetamine Addiction & Restoring a Healthy Body Weight

The first step in the recovery process is to seek professional help from a qualified treatment center or program specializing in treating substance abuse and addiction, like Guardian Recovery. In addition to counseling and lifestyle changes, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may also be recommended to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

An essential part of treating methamphetamine addiction is restoring healthy body weight. This may include dietary changes, regular physical activity, and supplementing with vitamins or other essential nutrients. Healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity can help restore the energy balance needed for long-term recovery from meth addiction.

Methamphetamine use can be extremely dangerous and detrimental to your health and well-being. Rapid weight loss that results from chronic meth use may show improvement initially. However, the metabolic disruption it causes can lead to more severe health issues, such as an increased risk of developing weight-related illnesses. Meth also has an intense appetite-suppressing effect, leading to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. The effects of methamphetamine use on the body’s metabolism can ultimately result in extreme weight gain if you quit using the drug without the help of professional support and guidance.

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Methamphetamine is highly addictive and can potentially cause severe dependence and negative impacts on your health. Its potent effects on your brain’s pleasure center can cause you to lose interest in eating, lose dangerous amounts of weight, and develop malnutrition. No matter the substance, the best way to overcome addiction is with the help of experienced, trusted professionals like those at Guardian Recovery. We provide comprehensive treatment, including medically-assisted detox, therapy, specialty programs, and reintegration support. Our caring and skilled administrative, medical, and clinical teams will guide you through every step of your recovery process from the first time you call. We provide a complimentary assessment and a free insurance benefits check and help coordinate local travel to our facility. All you have to do is ask; we will take care of the rest. Contact us today.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835349/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305445/
  3. https://www.methproject.org/answers/why-are-meth-users-so-thin.html#The-Meth-Diet
  4. https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth/the-deadly-effects-of-meth.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835349/
  6. https://www.livescience.com/13815-flies-meth-toxicity-sugar.html

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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