Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is an extremely addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Also known as ice, crank, and glass, it can be ingested through smoking, snorting, or injection. Meth deteriorates the brain and body, and can cause mental issues, such as psychosis. Just one use of meth can cause the user to become addicted. Once addicted, it doesn’t take long for meth to destroy the body.
Meth acts quickly once used, causing an immediate high and pleasure. However, the initial rush fades quickly, causing users to binge on the drug to recreate the initial high. If chronically used, a tolerance to meth can build. Because of this, users may have to find more dangerous, potent meth to feel the same rush. They may start injecting the drug, which opens doors to contracting blood diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis.
Meth causes the brain to release huge amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical which creates pleasure in the brain. Becoming dependent on meth for dopamine can cause long term damage. Users may be unable to find pleasure from anything but meth, because the brain is burnt out from producing dopamine.
Through neuroimaging, studies have found that chronic meth use actually changes the structure of the brain. This is what causes the interruption in dopamine production. Changes in brain structure can also lead to problems with emotions and memory, which may persist even after quitting meth. Thankfully, scientists have found that many of the changes are reversible, though some are permanent.
Since meth is a stimulant, it can cause the cause the user become severely dehydrated, and suffer from insomnia. This, in addition to the damage meth does to the brain, can cause users to experience psychosis and hallucinations. A common hallucination is of bugs crawling on the skin, causing users to scratch and cut themselves. These sores are known as meth mites or crank sores.
Meth use can also affect the user’s teeth. Meth users with poor dental hygiene have what is called “meth mouth”. Meth mouth is characterized by the extreme decay and loss of teeth. A decrease in blood flow to the mouth, lack of saliva, poor diet, and grinding rot meth user’s teeth away.
Meth use is extremely dangerous, and can be difficult to quit without treatment. It is important for users to get treatment before symptoms become irreversible. If you or a loved one is suffering from meth addiction, please call (888) 919-4792 for help. The number is available to call 24/7, will direct you in the path of treatment.
For more information, see Step One Rehab’s webpage on meth addiction.