The Emotional Effects of Crystal Meth

Written by kyra sheahan
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The Emotional Effects of Crystal Meth
Crystal meth causes anxiety and paranoia. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

There are many reasons to avoid using crystal meth, a form of methamphetamine, including the emotional effects the drug has on the mind and body. Crystal meth is an addictive stimulant that impacts the nervous system and triggers the body to release dopamine and norepinephrine, which are known for heightening that "pleasure" effect. However, users of crystal meth report experiencing emotional side effects that are certainly not pleasurable.


People who use crystal meth experience spurts of euphoria and pleasure, which are triggered by the overproduction of dopamine and norepinephrine caused by the drug. The emotional effect of euphoria makes the user feel happy, content and without a care in the world. It is important to know that this feeling is not "real," as it is strictly related to the stimulant's impact on the nervous system. Euphoria is an emotional effect that fades eventually as the chemical high goes away.


Anxiety is an unpleasant and uncomfortable emotional side effect of using crystal meth. Once the high subsides, drug users are left with a feeling of panic and nervousness, categorised as anxiety. Anxiety attacks, which are severe cases of anxiety, can be the result of a user coming down from a crystal meth high. Anxiety causes a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, feeling of helplessness, restlessness and rapid thoughts.


Meth-induced paranoia is an emotional response that causes the drug user to feel uncertain about the environment and the people in it. When someone becomes paranoid from using crystal meth, he believes that others are out to get him, or that irrational fears are turning into something real. Paranoia can have more serious effects, such as causing someone to become violent towards others out of self-defence. Such emotional effects are linked to the hallucinations that are caused by using crystal meth, since this drug does evoke visual and auditory hallucinations, making it difficult or impossible for the user to discern between reality and fantasy.

Mood Swings

Mood swings are characterised by an individual's roller-coaster of emotions. People who use crystal meth experience mood swings that go up and down, from euphoric to depressed, to anxious to paranoid, to content to agitated. This complexity is based on the fact that the nervous system has been compromised by the drug and is no longer in stable condition. Mood swings may be worse depending on the level of drug use. A chronic user will experience more rapid mood-swinging cycles, where as an occasional user of crystal meth may only experience mood swings periodically.

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