It is no great surprise that methamphetamine is bad for your health. Multiple studies have shown that the drug attacks the body in a number of ways: from destroying organ performance to eroding dental hygiene to deteriorating neurological functioning, meth assaults the human body in a variety of extremely effective manners.

But even with all of this existing knowledge, it appears that recent studies have indicated yet another way in which meth is detrimental to those abusing the substance. There is mounting evidence that methamphetamine increases a person’s susceptibility to infection by crippling immune system functioning and facilitating disease transmission. While the physical dangers of meth have been shown for decades, understanding how the drug negatively impacts the immune system is newer to researchers but quickly proving to be just as detrimental as all previous knowledge concerning the illicit substance.1

So what does meth use do to the immune system? Before we get into those specifics, it’s important to understand some of the general effects methamphetamines can have on an individual, both short-term and long-term.

The Negative Effects of Meth and the Immune System

With the recent resurgence of meth use around the country, researchers have begun to focus on the effects methamphetamine has on the immune system and how habitual use dramatically affects the body’s ability to fend off disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

In particular, recent studies have shown methamphetamine to suppress killer T-cells, a type of white blood cell that fights off pathogens. This negative impact on the T-cell memory population and T-cell activation have the ability to leave a meth addict unable to initiate a sufficient immune response to a number of infectious diseases.

Additionally, meth’s ability to dry out mucosal membranes and cause abrasions in the mouth and rectum might increase an addict’s vulnerability to debilitating infections without the ability to naturally fend off the experienced illness.

This is directly related to a meth addict’s increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne pathogens due to their addictive behaviors and drug administration routes.3

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Short-Term Effects of Meth on the Body

Meth is one of the most potent and addictive drugs in our society. It can be smoked, injected, snorted or eaten. Meth primarily affects the central nervous system. When it reaches the brain, it immediately signals the release of an excess amount of dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure system. Dopamine also influences important daily behaviors such as movement, emotion and memory.

Once the brain is flooded with the “feel good” chemical, an intense, euphoric high that can last on average six to eight hours overtakes the body. In addition to this feeling of intense pleasure, here are other short-term effects of meth use:

  • Dilation of pupils
  • Hyperexcitability/increased alertness
  • Increased sex drive
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed sleep patterns/decreased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Erratic, sometimes violent behavior

In extreme cases:

  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic and psychosis
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Death from high doses

Long-Term Effects of Meth on the Body

A meth addiction typically starts after the body has built a tolerance to the drug, necessitating a higher
dose to achieve the coveted high. Once addiction seizes control over the mind and body, multiple health concerns and consequences develop.

The Effects of Meth on the Heart

As a stimulant, meth wreaks havoc on the heart. Any time meth enters the body, your heart rate significantly increases. Users who consume meth excessively and/or over a long period of time have a high risk of developing heart palpitations (powerful, abnormal heartbeats that feel like pounding) and/or an arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat that feels like a skipped heartbeat).

Both are severe conditions that can cause an individual to collapse or enter cardiac arrest.

Meth also causes blood pressure to rise, which can lead to damaged arteries that block the blood flow to various organs in the body.

The Effects of Meth on the Lungs & Respiratory System

In a similar light, the stimulant effects of meth can cause an individual to experience rapid breathing, lightheadedness and fainting.

  • Smoking meth can cause the alveoli to bleed. The alveoli is the portion of the lungs responsible for gas exchange with the body’s blood supply. When this happens, a meth user will cough up blood.

Smoking meth can also destroy the small pulmonary blood vessels and lead to excess fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). As a result, a meth user can form a rare lung condition called pulmonary hypertension.

  • Snorting meth can cause a meth user to experience powerful coughs and severe respiratory damage such as:
    • Collapsed lungs
    • Air being released into the body from sources other than the lungs
    • Interstitial lung disease

The Effects of Meth on the Liver and GI Tract

For meth users who inject and share needles, the spread of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C are commonly transmitted. Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver and can lead to bleeding, jaundice, cirrhosis and nervous system damage.

The GI tract is affected when blood vessels in the intestines become constricted and prevent blood flow to the bowel. This can kill bowel tissue, resulting in perforation of the intestinal wall and peritonitis, which is a likely fatal infection that leads to septic shock.

The Effects of Meth on Skin and Teeth

A signature of meth use is compulsive skin picking. Attributed to either delusions, psychosis or the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin, meth users tend to scratch their face and arms in a repetitive manner that leads to open sores. Without a chance to heal, these open sores are often prone to infection. Additionally, chronic meth use can cause:

  • Severe acne
  • Weakened or lost skin elasticity
  • The skin takes on a leathery texture
  • The appearance of rapid aging

Another trademark of long-term meth use has been dubbed “meth mouth.” Meth use causes/leads to:

  • Dry mouth
  • Weakened saliva production leads to the body’s inability to fend off cavity-causing bacteria
  • Compulsive grinding

In conjunction with poor oral hygiene, a meth mouth can quickly change into cracked teeth, severe tooth decay, tooth loss and gum erosion.

The Effects of Meth on the Musculoskeletal System

Long-term meth use can lead to an increase in deep tendon reflexes (hyper-reflexive) and cause serious muscle twitching and tremors.

Additionally, the abuse of meth can result in rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition that involves the rapid deterioration of muscle tissue. When this happens, the toxic contents of damaged cells can be released into the bloodstream. This causes severe muscle pain, intense changes in electrolyte levels and irreversible kidney failure if not treated in time.

Life-Changing Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

You only get one life and one body. Make the most of yours by putting meth addiction behind you. Regardless of where your addiction has landed you, you can stop using meth and get your entire life back on track.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your precise detox needs, successful recovery and sober re-entry into society is our top priority. At our holistic recovery center, our meth treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies and preparation to forge the drug-free future you desire.

Have questions?

CALL NOW: (877) 843-7180

Life-Changing, Holistic Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Undoing the damage of meth addiction can be messy, extremely uncomfortable and some of the hardest work you do in your life. But, in order to have a life worth living, your addiction must end.

Your mind and body need significant attention and care during meth addiction treatment.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your successful recovery and sober re-entry into society is our utmost mission.

At our holistic recovery center, our meth treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies, and preparation to forge the drug-free future you desire.

Learn more about our meth addiction treatment program to start your journey toward detox and recovery.

Have questions? We’re here to help, call (877) 843-7180.

Ranch Creek Recovery
Based on 15 reviews
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M HonM Hon
00:26 19 Jan 24
Staff: 4.5/5Owner, Director, therapists, nurses, counselors, and support staff are all really great. I had no issues with anyone in particular. They are all there to help you however they can. I found that everyone advocated for my well being, were available when I needed them, and did their best to support me, check in on me, and make sure I was happy and comfortable.(why not 5/5? They have had a bunch of turnover and need to update their website with their newer staff members and qualifications. Additionally the Doctors they partner with were not as thorough as I would have wanted, and were kind of pushy with medications)Program: 4/5Small groups for the win! You get a lot of attention if you need it. This is a Holistic approach rehab. They do not focus on any 12 step programs. You have daily classes with different counselors, focusing on the science behind addiction, anger management, talk therapy, art therapy, equine therapy, nutrition, and much more. You have one-on-one sessions twice a week with a Licensed Therapist, and you have access to a gym daily, with a yoga instructor and trainer coming a few times a week. You also have a docent that comes once a week to do sound therapy, and you can learn techniques such as tapping. They have 2 doctors on staff you will have Zoom appointments with, and someone is always present to distribute morning, afternoon, and bedtime medication. You can also always grab whomever is on-call to talk through any issues or questions you have.(why not 5/5? Overall I found that there was too much down-time. I got bored and restless with that much free time and I craved more structure. Additionally I thought that the family Zoom sessions could have served as a stronger resource for loved ones)Location: 4/5Murrieta is a quiet, tranquil area, with mountain views, a lot of farmland, and very little public noise to distract you. When you do leave the house, you get to visit a small farm that is very close by to interact with horses and goats, etc. You also have an outing on Saturdays for a few hours that allows you as a group to get out of the house. The immediate area has all the basic stores and activities you would want, like target/walmart/grocery/7-11/etc as well as mini golf, bowling... You do need to decide as a group where you want to go because you have 1 chaperone and need to stay together at all times.(why not 5/5? There are 2 different houses located about 10 minutes away from each other. The Bass house advertised on the website is much nicer and larger than the Doreen house. During my time the clients staying at the Doreen house were shuttled over to the Bass house for our daily classes and sessions, not being able to utilize their own kitchen, rooms, and bathrooms during the day. I was also told by clients that the Doreen house was not as nice as the Bass House)Amenities: 4/5Pool - (I was there in the winter, so it was not heated and basically unusable, however, I did do some cold plunges just for the shock)Hot tub - available once a week on Friday eveningsYard - Large Grass Backyard and cement patio with tables and chairsGym - Available daily. TV for movies or music. Free weights, yoga mats, and a few outdated cardio machines that mostly worked.Kitchen - Large kitchen, multiple Fridges/Freezers, Huge pantry for preparing anything you want, ovens, microwave, toasters, dishwasher, outdoor gas grill, etc...Pool table, ping pong table, arts and crafts table, outdoor TV, Indoor TV, Computer, land-line house phone.Comfortable rooms and bathrooms with laundry access, and provided bedding and towels.(why not 5/5? I was disappointed that it wasn't clear that the pool and hot tub didn't have daily access as advertised, and that the gym was more outdated than described/pictured. They also could make some very inexpensive recreation investments like a basketball for their outdoor hoop, soccer ball, frisbees, croquet set, bocce, etc for their giant lawn to be used during the extensive downtime)
Dorothy SmithDorothy Smith
00:29 12 Aug 22
Ranch Creek Recovery is the best way to start your new healthy way of life. This program actually saved my life and my sanity. Their Holistic approach was amazing and I learned so much from my counselors and Dr. Dena. With only a limited number of participants in the house at one time, you are guaranteed the one on one time, as well as the group counseling they offer in a safe and comfortable setting. They make you aware that they truly care and are there to support you , listen to you, and most important to teach you. Teach you information about triggers, cognitive behavior and how to stay sober. They include therapy through others means such as Yoga, Meditation, working with Horses and even Physical Training. Ranch Creek makes sure when you leave you are good, Mind, Body and Soul. They have an excellent Intensive Outpatient Program (10) weeks that helps navigate your way back into life. A year ago (received my one year chip June 8, 2022) I was lost and a raging out of control alcoholic. I can proudly say today that I am not. I will always be an alcoholic with an addictive personality. But now I have tools, personal contacts and the faith in myself that I have never had before in my 9 years searching for sobriety. I often reflect back on my time at the Bass house. I am probably one of the few that actually stayed 60 days because I had so much to learn. My insurance did not cover all of the last days, but it was worth it to me, so I stayed. I am so grateful to so many of the staff, Jimmie, Christine, Jonathon, Dr. Dena and countless extended staff to name a few, because there were more. I would not be here to tell you it works, because without the treatment and the help I received, I alive today to tell my journey. If you are ready to face the truth, please give them a call. I promise if you are committed, you will never be the same as when you walked in. Thank you Ranch Creek Recovery.
Martha BlackMartha Black
18:45 25 Jan 22
Also known as Angelica, I couldn’t recommend this place more . This treatment center really helped me get what I have always wished for , Peace with my past , healing , restoration . Ranch Creek Recovery’s program was such a tremendous blessing, life changing experience for me and my family. This week I celebrate 9years of living life in recovery, sobriety. Thank you RCR for saving my life .
00:59 03 Nov 21
I had long term sobriety and was under a lot of stress from my professional position. I began to use cannabis recreationally and soon became dependent. I sought recovery, because I could not stop using cannabis on my own. It was causing issues with my family and in my professional life. I signed up with Rancho Creek Recovery, through my insurance. I attended the pm IOP zoom sessions with Lorri. Her group sessions and the materials she provided, helped me to get off of cannabis. Lorri was a big help in giving me strategies to stay sober and to manage the cravings and ways to deal with my work stress. I would strongly recommend Rancho Creek Recovery's outpatient program and the pm IOP zoom sessions with Lorri. She was a great professional to work with.
Courtney FergusonCourtney Ferguson
19:04 01 Aug 21
I've had a few stints with rehab and none even skinned the surface of what I learned here. Located on a beautiful property in the foothills of Murrieta, with in house groups led by instructors that break it down so in depth. My perspective had a total shift and I can honestly say I owe my life and the promise of a new future to this facility and it's faculty. If you're willing to do the work this is the place to get into your core issues and help you recover from the lifestyle and vices that one is addicted to. I recommend this place to anyone who wants something different from life. DBT, CBT, recovery education, family therapy are just a few of the groups and The program director and Clinical director hand picked a team that is progressive, informed, patient, caring and passionate about what they do. I encourage anyone who's seeking treatment to look into this program I first hand watched others and had my life transformed.
David KlentDavid Klent
09:17 16 Jul 15
Coming to Ranch Creek Recovery, I had been through three different inpatient chemical treatment facilities in CA. I was feeling lost and somewhat hopeless. The serene setting gave me peace and I began healing. The counselors were very inspiring and helped me grow in ways I haven’t experienced in years. I began to see the bigger picture that a life in sobriety can give you. Although I am somewhat scared to leave the comfort and security that Ranch Creek Recovery and staff has brought me, I am also excited to share my growth with my family and to start my new life. Thank you RCR!


1 The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Impact of methamphetamine on infection and immunity. Accessed December 3, 2018.

2 PBS Frontline. How Meth Destroys the Body. Accessed December 3, 2018.

3 PLOS ONE. Methamphetamine Administration Targets Multiple Immune Subsets and Induces Phenotypic Alterations Suggestive of Immunosuppression. Accessed December 3, 2018.