Methamphetamine, also known as methylamphetamine or crystal meth, is a drug having psychostimulant action on the brain. After taking it, a user experiences euphoria along with increased energy level, sexual desires, and wakefulness for some time. As with any type of stimulative drugs and medications, meth is very addictive, and the number of people reported for meth drug abuse is very high. With repeated use, the drug affects the physical health and cognitive functionality of a user.
How does Meth Affect the Brain?
The drug can be taken orally or by injecting, snorting, and smoking. While injections and smoke give a sudden rush of energy for a short-term, the effects of crystal meth snorting and oral administration last for a longer period. The feeling of intense pleasure and euphoria are due to impact of the stimulative properties of the drug on the brain.
As per medical studies, once meth enters the body, it induces the brain to secrete dopamine neurotransmitter in large amounts. And the after results are sudden rush and high amongst drug abusers. Overall, it heightens the mood and metabolism of the body. Following is a description of the consequences of short-term and long-term abuse of the drug.
Even when taken in a small dose, meth causes noticeable adverse reactions in the mind and body. In an animal study, it was found that a single dose leads to nerve injury, particularly in areas that contain dopamine neurotransmitters. There are also cases, in which the blood vessels of the brain get injured after a single high dose intake, resulting in stroke. Notable short-term effects of the drug on the body are:
- Feeling of pleasure
- Increased confidence level
- Alertness or increased physical activeness
- Wakefulness and reduced sleepiness
- Elevated metabolic processes
- Loss of appetite
- General irritability and restlessness
- Talkativeness and feeling of excitement
- Increased sexual desirability
- Impairment in taking decisions
- Loss of focusing power
- Increased respiration
- Elevated body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle tremors
- Cardiovascular collapse
The long-term effects of the drug on the mind and body are:
- Significant loss of weight
- Psychotic behavior
- Smelly body odor
- Hallucination effects
- Memory loss
- Violent behavior
- Damage to muscles
- Injury to brain parts
- Homicidal thoughts
- Internal organ damage
- Sudden mood swings
- Cravings for crystal meth
- Loss of sex drive
Likewise, there are other conditions like meth teeth, meth skin, meth mouth, and meth bites observed after meth addiction. It is not unusual for a person to become addicted to crystal meth after a few initial uses. In the first try, he/she feels extremely happy with increased vitality as a result of elevated dopamine production. However, after that first try, the user requires repeated intake of the drug to get that feeling again and maintain it. Thus, the person becomes a meth drug addict.
In high doses, this stimulative drug is capable of elevating the body temperature significantly, or causing severe physiological complications (rapid heart rate, pulse rate, and breathing), which may become life-threatening for the person. Signs of serious meth side effects are rapid breathing, extreme perspiration, dilated pupils, and elevated heart rate. In such cases, immediate medical attention is necessary to save the person's life.
Whether short-term or long-term, the effects of the drug are serious and should not be taken lightly. There are therapeutic approaches and behavioral therapies that will help the patients to abstain from this addictive drug. The doctor may recommend gradual tapering of the drug intake to combat severe withdrawal symptoms. In conjunction to this, medications and relaxation techniques are suggested, so that the user experiences less cravings for meth drugs.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.