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What happens with long term meth use?

Corina08 What happens with long term meth use?
I am wondering what I can expect to see as more time goes by with my sister.
What are the physical signs of meth use after years of use? Any response would be appreciated. Thank you very much.
Sfj Re: What happens with long term meth use?
I can answer your questions, but first, let me preface the answers with a few questions of my own.
I realize you may not be able to answer these completely, but take a guess as best you can, if you can.

How long has she been using? Like one year, five years, twenty?
Next, how often does she use, monthly, weekly, daily, four times a day ? or ?
How much does she use? In a week? a Month? or ?
Like a gram a day? a gram a week? or ?
How old is she?
How old was she when she started?
Has she had any reasonable periods of "clean time" since she first started using?

Other than meth addiction, what is her general health?
Does she use other substances?

I'll give a more detailed response later on today.
Corina08 Re: What happens with long term meth use?
Thanks for your help.
She is 35 years old. She used on and off again from the age of 16 to 23 years old. There were times when she was clean in her early to mid 20's. I believe she has been using nonstop since the age of 29 until now. She smokes cigarettes but I don't know about alcohol or any other drug. I don't know how much she uses, but I am pretty sure it is daily, I just don't know. She has never admitted to anyone that she is currently using. She used to snort crank, but I believe she is smoking it now. That is what I have heard. Her teeth are bad and she sometimes has big acne like blemishes on her face, they sort of look scabby. Anyway.....I want to learn as much as I can so I can point things out to my mom so she will stop enabling her. My mom still believes that she is not on drugs. My sister pretty much has lost everything in her life....but the support of my mom. She allows her to live there. Her kids live with me now. So hopefully this will help.

Sfj Re: What happens with long term meth use?
She is a chronic user. The pattern is not rare or uncommon. At this point, she is quite likely dependent upon the drug in order to make it from day to day. Her brain chemistry, the actual biology of her central nervous system has been altered and has settled into a new form of chemical balance. There is a chance that things can change, but it will take a great deal to manifest that change. People in that condition have pretty much made a choice. They have decided to continue to use meth and live with the consequences. The other option is to quit using and that is a very miserable option. Chronic users, who have been dependent on meth for over decade have a very difficult time trying to change back to being a non-user. It is just too painful, too depressing, and too brutal. It is possible though, it happens everyday, but the chances aren't really too encouraging.

So what can you expect? Hmm, not too much. But don't give up hope. Facing reality is just as tough as changing it. If she is still in serious denial, I have a few suggestions, a formula for getting a meth addict to admit the problem. I can share it with you if you'd like.

She is probably very aware of her problems. These problems include losing the custody of her children, dental health deteriorating, skin health going bad etc. Even though she may be in denial or lying about these problems, in her heart she is very aware of them. She is in a great deal of emotional pain at all times. She feels that meth is the only friend she has. She knows she is addicted, and that she is a slave to meth, and that slavery in no fun at all.
Meth takes away the hurt, the depression, the pain of shame and guilt, and it does it very effectively.

Please read my webpage, How Meth Addicts Think and Feel 
imlostinky Re: What happens with long term meth use?
Corina? Still with us?
The long term effects vary.
For me, it did damage to my already weakened kidneys -I have to be very vigilant about watching for signs of kidney infection and kidney failure.
I dehydrate too quickly. I have to be careful how many Tylenol, Advil I take. I can't work full time on my feet like I used to.
I couldn't do part time last year. They are screwed.
My teeth are breaking out of my head.
My husband's teeth are breaking out of his head.
His lungs are shot.
Pneumonia is a given every year- guarantee at least once.  It isn't good.

Read all you can, learn all you can- if we can help you, we will.
Some questions we just don't know the answer to.

Penel0pe Re: What happens with long term meth use?
I used for 26 years. I don't know what I can attribute to meth use, what is just me, but when I do a comparison of myself to my non - drug using peers, these are the things that I see that I experience that seem to be related to my long term use of meth (and other drugs.)

Chronic Fatigue
SEVERE memory deficit (I am only 44... I'm not THAT old!) I have problems with short and long term memory, and "recall" of familiar names, events, and information that I should be able to bring up without difficulty.
Chronic respiratory infections (I smoke cigarettes - an OBVIOUS FACTOR - but, when compared to others my age who also smoke, my colds, etc seem more severe, last longer, and I get them more often. I smoked meth.)
WEIGHT GAIN - (Can't say enough for this one...)

I have a lot of other problems that are, thankfully, on the mend. I am a psychiatric nurse who has ALWAYS worked with assertive patients (since 1980) and have my share of ass kickings - and yes, I was using during most of my career (Not proud of that, just being honest.) For the past year, I have been unable to work with patients; I have been physically disabled because of a number of problems with muscles, spine, discs, etc - I think that, because maybe I wasn't sleeping, wasn't taking care of my health, wasn't eating right, etc for so many years, working in such an environment left my body unable to repair itself after repeated trauma for so many years (And my doctors tend to agree.) So here I am, finally CLEAN, and I am sitting at a stupid DESK, unable to do the work that I love, possibly never able to do that kind of work again. Just prior to getting clean, I was not working as a nurse - I was building houses with my husband. Now I write things on paper. Ick.

Today, I am finally able to walk more than a few blocks after lots of physical therapy, surgery, etc. Thank God.

I don't know what role addiction and drug use played in that, but I believe that there is no way I could ignore my own health for so many years, do the things I was doing, use SO MUCH METH, and NOT be where I am health wise today.

For some reason (Good Genes? Obsessive oral hygiene while tweeking?) my teeth survived - all but two, anyway.

The worst of all are the memory problems. That scares the hell out of me because it doesn't seem to have improved much over the past 3 years - a little, but not much. I've damaged my brain - this much I know to be true.

Brain damage. That right there is enough reason to stay away from meth. The rest can be changed - not so sure the brain damage part is going to change.

vctry7 Re: What happens with long term meth use?
Hey Corina,
I used for about 5 years off and on and then one year very heavily.
I have high blood pressure. It came on when I was only 27 after the last year when I was using. I also have bad teeth and horrible weight gain.
The worst of the problems by far, though, is the brain damage. I can't think as clear as I used to. I forget everything. I don't have the best control over my emotions - that my be a character flaw or just learning to live life without drugs, but I feel it's worse because of the meth. I also feel like I took a huge hit to my overall intelligence.

The good news is, I can see improvement year by year. I don't think I'll ever reach the potential that I could've if I had never used meth. The difference I see in myself from then until now is amazing, though.

Corina08 Re: What happens with long term meth use?
To everyone who replied to this message....thanks so much! It really helps to hear your stories. I see the physical as well as the emotional effect that meth has had on my sis. I feel so sad inside because there is nothing I can do until she seeks help. She used to be this sweet loving person and now she is this aggressive, vindictive and sneaky person. She pretty much has lost everyone in her life, ...i guess she is not ready and willing to face her problem.

The sad part...because she is not ready and willing.....I am afraid she will die. I found out that she was having heart pain awhile back. I believe my mom took her to the hospital....but again....no word about drugs were mentioned. Even though my sister is (was) a beautiful woman...she looks old....she is wrinkling in the face and her skin does not look healthy. There are some scabs on her face. Her eyes are not the brown they used to be....it's hard to say what I see when I look into them. They almost have a cloudy look to them....She can't sit still and she makes these weird facial movements constantly with her mouth and her nose. She truly thinks that she has people fooled.

I worry about her health. I have looked at pictures of people pre-meth and post-meth and it is scary. I wish I could help her...but instead I am fighting for her kids. We go to court next week. I am nervous.

I hope my nieces don't lose their mom and I hope I don't lose my sister. It's hard for me because I don't talk to her anymore. We live 500 miles away and except for the court dates.....there really is no contact. Partly because of her choice and partly mine. I am tired of the drama....and believe me....there is A LOT OF DRAMA!

My sister used to have a great job....she lost it years ago....she is just wasting away in my opinion. She has no plans....nothing....just nothing.

Last time I was in court...she agreed to give me permanent custody of the girls.....as soon as the judge brought up visitation and I brought up the words drugs and being clean.....she raised her hand and told the judge that she changed her mind. She has told my mom the reason she changed her mind was because I gave her a dirty look. Of course I didn't. I think she was afraid that she may have to take drug tests or something...I don't know.....but I was hoping that could be the beginning of something.

I watch her body waste away, I see my beautiful sister looking haggard, I see a mother who has given up.....I just wish I could help....but I am letting go until she can face herself and admit she needs help.

Thanks everyone.

imlostinky Re: What happens with long term meth use?
{{{HUGS}}} Corina. What a hard place to be.
Thank you for being there for your nieces.
I wish I knew of something you could do but I don't.
Other than standing by the drug tests- I don't know.

See also:

Effects of Crystal Meth from Usage Topics

Long term effects of meth

Back to Crystal Meth & Methamphetamine Questions, Answers & Advice

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