Crystal methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, which acts on the central nervous system to induce euphoria, and increase mental alertness and concentration. Methamphetamine is basically a drug used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and exogenous obesity.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved this drug for the treatment of these two conditions. But it is known to be one of the most highly abused drug, and is largely made in illegal laboratories. It is commonly known as 'crystal meth', and it comes in the form of colorless or bluish-white small crystals, that can be injected, snorted, ingested, or smoked using a glass pipe.
Crystal Meth Abuse
It is a highly addictive and psychoactive drug, that can alter mood and mental processes by stimulating the central nervous system. It causes the release of the neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, and thus activates the 'psychological reward system' of the brain. This in turn enhances mood, mental alertness, self-esteem, and confidence.
The abuse of crystal meth can have numerous adverse effects on the body and the mind. If abused, methamphetamine can elevate the blood pressure and the heart rate, and cause anorexia, anxiety, restlessness, aggression, hyperactivity, tachycardia, and suicidal thoughts. Some other side effects associated with this drug include blurred vision, twitching, arrhythmias, diarrhea or constipation, increased libido, headaches, dizziness, and bradycardia. In the case of an overdose, it can raise the body temperature and cause convulsions, which can prove fatal at times.
The abusers often develop an urge to pick their skin constantly. The drug produces a sensation of bugs crawling on or under the skin, which compels the user to pick the skin continuously. This can ultimately cause the development of skin sores.
In the long run, its chronic use can cause psychosis, anxiety, insomnia, depression, heart problems, erectile dysfunction, significant weight loss, malnutrition, tooth decay and discoloration, delusions, and hallucinations. The long-term use of this drug can also damage the brain, kidneys, and the liver, and increase the risk of stroke by damaging the small blood vessels of the brain.
Effects on Pregnant Women
Pregnant women who abuse this drug can experience severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, irritability and paranoia, and decreased cognitive abilities, such as memory and reasoning. If the drug is abused during pregnancy, it can affect the growth of the unborn baby. Women who abuse this drug usually give birth to premature babies with low birth weight.
Apart from these, this drug can increase the risk of birth defects like cleft palate, along with heart defects, respiratory problems, and the development of skeletal abnormalities like clubfoot. If used in high dosage, it may cause a rapid increase in the blood pressure of the unborn baby, which may result in stroke or brain hemorrhage as well.
Crystal meth can cause addiction, and serious physical and psychological problems, if it is abused for a prolonged period of time. This highly addictive drug is presently categorized as a 'Schedule II drug' under the 'Controlled Substances Act'. Therefore, several restrictions have been placed on the production, distribution, as well as the sale and possession of this psychoactive drug.