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Effects of Alcohol & Crystal Meth

By Tracii Hanes ; Updated August 14, 2017

Alcohol and crystal meth are mind-altering substances taken for their effects on mood and cognition. Crystal meth is an illicit form of the stimulant methamphetamine, which is prescribed to treat conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy. Alcohol is a legal central nervous system depressant that causes slowed cognition, acute intoxication and loss of coordination. Understanding the individual and combined effects of alcohol and crystal meth can help reduce the harm associated with these substances.


Crystal meth is one of the most potent stimulants available. Stimulants like meth dramatically increase heart rate, blood pressure and other bodily processes and are taken for their ability to cause euphoria and increased energy. Like other stimulants, crystal meth has appetite suppressant properties and often causes weight loss in people who abuse the drug. It is produced in clandestine labs using a variety of chemicals and is generally smoked for its mind-altering effects.


Alcohol belongs to a class of drugs known as depressants. Its effects are essentially the opposite of crystal meth and include drowsiness, impaired thinking and slowed cardiovascular functioning.

In small doses, alcohol produces effects such as reduced inhibitions and increased social behaviors, while larger doses can cause slurred speech, loss of coordination and dramatic mood swings. An overdose of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is often fatal without prompt treatment. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, loss of consciousness, convulsions and respiratory failure.

Alcohol Poisoning

Combining alcohol and crystal meth may increase the risk for alcohol poisoning. According to BSU Daily News, stimulants like caffeine promote alertness and interfere with a person’s ability to gauge how drunk they are, making alcohol overdose more likely to occur. Because crystal meth is a much more potent stimulant than caffeine, the dangers of overdose are even greater when combining meth with alcohol.

Cardiovascular Effects

Cardiovascular problems are a major risk associated with crystal meth. The drug increases blood pressure and heart rate, leading to an increased risk for irregular heartbeat, heart attack and stroke.

When taken with alcohol, the risk for cardiovascular problems is even greater. According to Drug Information Online, the combination of methamphetamine and alcohol raises heart rate 24 beats per minute more than methamphetamine alone.

Psychological Effects

Both crystal meth and alcohol can cause dramatic changes in mood and behavior. People who combine alcohol with crystal meth may exhibit an increased tendency toward violence, impulsive behavior and high-risk activities like unsafe sex or reckless driving. Psychological effects like moodiness, irritability, anxiety and depression often result from long-term use of alcohol or crystal meth, while repeated use may lead to addiction and other health problems.

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