Major physical and psychological harms of methamphetamine use

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 May;27(3):253-62. doi: 10.1080/09595230801923702.


Issues: The major physical and psychological health effects of methamphetamine use, and the factors associated with such harms.

Approach: Comprehensive review.

Key findings: Physical harms reviewed included toxicity and mortality, cardiovascular/cerebrovascular pathology, dependence and blood-borne virus transmission. Psychological harms include methamphetamine psychosis, depression, suicide, anxiety and violent behaviours.

Implications: While high-profile health consequences, such as psychosis, are given prominence in the public debate, the negative sequelae extend far beyond this. This is a drug class that causes serious heart disease, has serious dependence liability and high rates of suicidal behaviours.

Conclusion: The current public image of methamphetamine does not portray adequately the extensive, and in many cases insidious, harms caused.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Heart Diseases / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / etiology
  • Suicide / psychology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Methamphetamine