Meth and Stroke Risk

A comprehensive look at Washington State statistics shows that meth use has become more prolific in the state over the past decade. In 2003, there were 89 deaths per 100,000 residents due to meth use. In 2015, that number had jumped to 344.

New research from an Australian research team has revealed a startling connection between meth use and stroke in young people (under the age of 45). Read on to learn more about meth and how its use can influence whether or not somebody suffers a stroke.

What Is Meth?

Meth is a home-made chemical drug similar in composition to the pharmaceutical methamphetamine, which is used to treat disorders such as ADHD and narcolepsy. It acts as a stimulant and produces a powerful ‘high’ when taken improperly.

Other names for meth include crank, ice, crystal, chalk, and speed. Meth causes the brain to release a large quantity of dopamine, resulting in an intense high. The brain quickly becomes tolerant to the dopamine release, causing users to become addicted after as few as one or two uses.

Meth is commonly found in powder or pill form, but can also come in the form of crystal meth, where it appears as glass-like fragments of white rocks. Users can ingest meth in a number of ways:

  • Inhalation/smoking powder
  • Swallowing in pill form
  • Snorting in powder form
  • Injecting dissolved powder

Connection Between Meth and Stroke

A study recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry concludes that methamphetamine use is “a putative cause of stroke among younger people.”

The study looked at 77 relevant cases pulled out of a pool of 370, and found the following:

  • 81 hemorrhagic strokes (brain bleed)
  • 17 ischemic strokes (blood clot)
  • Both types of stroke were twice as common in males than females.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke was more associated with injecting or swallowing meth.
  • Ischaemic stroke was more associated with inhalation of meth.

In the case reports, eight out of ten strokes in young people associated with meth use were hemorrhagic. This is 40 to 50 percent higher than among young people who are not using meth.

Death was also found to be a higher risk of a hemorrhagic stroke; 1 in 5 people recovered but approximately a third died. This is compared to ischaemic stroke, where death occurred in 1 in 5 victims.

“With the use of methamphetamine increasing, particularly more potent forms, there is a growing burden of methamphetamine-related disease and harms, particularly among young people, in whom the majority of methamphetamine use occurs,” write the researchers.

Meth Use Effects On Health

Prolonged use of methamphetamine causes severe health issues to the user. Some, like stroke or HIV, are not necessarily curable, even with treatment. Health risks include:

  • Possible contraction of HIV, Hepatitis B or C
  • Increased risk-taking behavior
  • Extreme weight loss/malnutrition
  • Severe tooth decay/other mouth issues (commonly referred to as ‘meth mouth’)
  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Constant scratching resulting in open sores on the skin
  • Paranoia and hallucinations
  • Violent behavior
  • Sleep problems

While meth is considered one of the most difficult drugs to quit, there is help for meth addiction in Washington State. Before you experience long-term health effects, Recovery Village Ridgefield urges you to join us at our secluded Washington State retreat. We offer a holistic approach to recovery, addressing the mind, the body and the soul of those seeking help. For more information, contact us today and begin your journey with Recovery Village Ridgefield.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.