Methamphetamine — also referred to as meth — is a dangerous substance that has been gaining popularity over the past few years. It is a highly addictive stimulant and will almost always lead the person using it to develop substance use disorder (SUD). Methamphetamine can have some very damaging effects on not only the body but the mind as well.
With the use of any substance, there are physical and mental risks one takes. To understand these dangers, you have first to understand what methamphetamine is. When we further educate ourselves about the dangers these drugs bring, it can help us avoid their use of them.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, and crank, is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system and gives the user the feeling of euphoria with increased energy. The most common form of this drug is a white powder with no scent. Meth can also take the form of a whiteish crystal or in a pill/capsule containing white powder.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, methamphetamine is chemically similar to amphetamine. Amphetamine is a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While meth can still be used for medical reasons, many people have developed an addiction to it by misusing or abusing it.
Due to some abusing it, methamphetamine has been classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II stimulant. This makes it legally available through nonrefillable prescription. It can be prescribed to treat ADHD and for short-term weight-loss treatments, but this is rarely even the case. If it is prescribed, the dosages are much lower than the dosages that are misused.
What Makes Meth So Addictive?
Methamphetamine is highly addictive due to the increase in dopamine it produces in your brain. In an article posted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Heal Services Administration (SAMHSA), other effects can include heightened euphoria, alertness, and energy.
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that your body makes and then sends to your nervous system, where it is used to send messages between nerve cells. This is how we are able to feel pleasure. It can also affect how you behave as well as physical functions like learning, motivation, and heart rate. Having either too much or too little can cause varying health issues. Methamphetamine is a drug that can make your body overproduce dopamine.
Not only does meth increase the production of dopamine, it rapidly releases it in high levels to the reward areas of the brain. This is what truly makes people want to continue using the substance.
How Meth Affects the Mind
Methamphetamine can also cause chemical changes in the brain. This can cause changes in brain structure and function. Meth has been proven to cause cognitive impairment and altered decision-making.
Along with physical and chemical effects on the mind, methamphetamine can also cause psychological effects as well. Some of these effects can include:
- Problems with memory
Long-term usage of meth can bring on other problems with the brain as well. Over time, meth changes the chemical process of your brain and leads to long-term effects. One of these effects can be impaired verbal learning. Meth can also severely affect the areas of the brain that are involved with emotion and memory.
With the discontinued use of the drug and proper treatment, some of these brain changes may reverse. Although they can be reversed, they can still take an extended period of time. While some changes to the brain can be reversed, there are still some that may never return.
There are still studies being done on methamphetamine and how it affects the mind and body. An article released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) mentions how some studies even suggest that people who have used meth have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This is because meth has effects on movement, and Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nerves that affect movement.
The most effective types of treatment for meth addiction are behavioral therapy. Healing Pines Recovery offers many treatment programs, one of them being cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy helps those struggling with a meth addiction recognize and avoid situations that could trigger feelings of relapse.
Methamphetamine is an incredibly dangerous and addictive substance. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, you should seek professional treatment immediately. When meth addiction goes untreated, you can develop dangerous side effects. Using meth can also jeopardize your daily living as it is illegal. If you are seeking help for meth addiction, we at Healing Pines Recovery have the tools to assist you in a lasting recovery.
Methamphetamine can be a dangerous and addictive drug. There are many ways that meth can affect our bodies as well as our minds. Any toxic substance, like drugs we put into our bodies, can come with risks, so the more we can educate ourselves about them, the more we can avoid them.
If you are struggling with a meth addiction or suspect a loved one may be, we want to help. Healing Pines Recovery offers effective addiction treatment and recovery support and guidance to those who identify as male.
With the help of our staff and professionals, you can receive the care you need and deserve. Reach out to us today at (720) 575-2621.