Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Meth has some legitimate uses as a prescription drug, but most drug dealers make it themselves in labs, using dangerous chemicals and over-the-counter medications. This mix is transformed into meth and isn’t the same as the legitimate drug doctors prescribe. The chemicals used in meth can have irreversible negative effects on the body as well as the brain.
What Is Meth?
Meth is used to stimulate the central nervous system and it can increase energy and alertness. It releases dopamine into the brain, producing an overall blissful feeling. It can also decrease the appetite as well as thirst. Crystal, crank or go-fast are just a few street names for the drug. It comes in either a yellowish powder or a crystal-formed nugget. Meth is made up of legally obtained items such as ephedrine, which is commonly found in decongestants. Other chemicals used include battery acid, drain cleaner, and red phosphorus. When these ingredients are combined or cooked they produce toxic gases, which are highly flammable and can cause explosions.
- What Is Meth? Explains what meth is and the dangerous effects of the drug.
Methamphetamine-induced psychosis describes a meth user who has overdosed and is in a state of confusion. He or she may be hallucinating and unable to understand what is really happening. Any or all of the senses may be altered. For example, the user may feel sensations on or under the skin and complain about bugs on the skin. He or she might not want to eat any food, thinking that it tastes funny or contains poisons. Another sign that the user is having an amphetamine-related psychosis is extreme paranoia. He or she may feel like someone is out to harm or control him or her or that he or she is in complete control of all situations. These delusions can last for several hours or until the user is given medical attention and treatment.
- Meth-Induced Psychotic Disorder. The causes, symptoms, treatments and preventative measures.
- Persistent Methamphetamine Psychosis. The remission of methamphetamine psychosis even after the user has stopped ingesting the drug.
What Does Meth Do to Your Brain?
Meth affects the reward, judgment and memory centers of the brain. Meth produces more dopamine than other pleasurable activities. In the long-term, it will take more of the drug to get the same pleasurable feeling. Over time, the judgment and memory centers of the brain will not function properly because of the decreased dopamine level, along with lack of sleep and nourishment. The user may then become violent or use poor judgment. He or she may also have to change the way they use the drug. For example, one might consider injecting the drug to obtain the same level of euphoria.
- Meth Changes Over the Long Term. How meth damages or changes the brain after it is used for a long period of time.
- Long-Term Effects on the Brain. The long term use of meth and how it affects the brain.
- Meth Brain Flash. Diagrams and information about dopamine and how it is released by using methamphetamine.
What Does Meth Do to Your Body?
Long term meth use can damage the body permanently. It suppresses the urge to eat and drink. At first, losing a little weight may be unnoticeable to a user but eventually, the user will become malnourished. This can cause problems like rotting teeth, muscle loss, and anemia. The immune system will not function properly and blood flow can even slow down, causing skin problems such as acne or open sores. Using meth can speed up the heart rate and over a period of time, it can damage the heart. This increases the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Toxic chemicals used in making meth can make a user’s hair fall out and can also cause breathing problems.
The first step in getting help for meth dependence is getting into a recovery center immediately. The staff should be trained to help with this type of addiction. Accept any help from family or friends. Find a counselor to get through the psychological dependency and to avoid a relapse.
- Meth Awareness. National Institute of Justice’s overview of meth and what it does to a user.