What Effect Does Methamphetamine Have On The User?
The most recent studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers has revealed severe functional and structural changes in areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems associated with chronic methamphetamine abusers. Repeated methamphetamine abuse can also lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing to the drug characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, which is accompanied by chemical and molecular changes in the users brain. Some of these changes continue long after methamphetamine abuse is stopped. The reversal of some of the changes, however, may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence or 1 year or more.
Transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C can also be consequences of methamphetamine abuse. To the users who inject the drug, HIV/AIDS as well as other infectious diseases can be spread through contaminated syringes, needles, and other injection equipment that is used by more than one person. Methamphetamine abuse has also been proven worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies of methamphetamine abusers who are HIV-positive indicate that HIV causes greater neuronal injury and cognitive impairment for the individuals in this group compared with HIV-positive people who do not use methamphetamine.
Chronic abuse of methamphetamine significantly changes how the brain functions. Studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning and memory.
Methamphetamine addiction has proven to be one of the toughest to overcome. A long term meth habit leaves a person unprepared to withstand the grueling symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety and depression. Meth damages the brain, and although memory, concentration and cognitive abilities do improve in time, the risk of relapse is high during those initial few months filled with powerful drug cravings. Most people need a meth rehab center to really break free from the people and places that prompt excessive temptation and to learn life skills that work to minimize the odds of relapse. Meth addiction is tough, but with treatment, manageable.
Methamphetamine Short Term Effects
Acting as such a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine, even in very small doses, can increase wakefulness and physical activity and decrease the user’s appetite. Methamphetamine has also been proven to cause a variety of cardiovascular problems, including rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and convulsions may also occur with methamphetamine overdose, which can result in death, if not treated immediately.
The majority of the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine are believed to result from the release of extremely high levels of the neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Dopamine is most commonly involved in users motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function, and is a common mechanism of action for most popular drugs of abuse. The elevated release of the neurotransmitter dopamine produced by methamphetamine is also thought to contribute to the drug’s deleterious effects on nerve terminals in the user’s brain.
Methamphetamine Long Term Effects
With long-term methamphetamine abuse comes many negative consequences, including addiction. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing, and characterized by compulsive drug seeking and abuse, accompanied by functional and molecular changes in the addict’s brain. In addition to becoming addicted to methamphetamine, chronic abusers exhibit symptoms that can include confusion, insomnia, anxiety, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. The user can also display a number of psychotic features, including delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, and paranoia. The psychotic symptoms have been shown to last for months or years after methamphetamine abuse has ceased, and stress has been shown to cause spontaneous recurrence of methamphetamine psychosis in formerly psychotic methamphetamine users.
Tolerance to methamphetamine’s pleasurable effects can develop with chronic abuse. In an effort to intensify and bring a user back up to the desired effects, abusers may take increasingly higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or alternate their method of drug intake. Withdrawal from methamphetamine usually occurs when a chronic abuser stops taking the drug; symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug. Methamphetamines toxic mind altering effects, regardless of how it is taken, can also alter judgment and inhibition and often lead people to risky sexual behavior.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction treatment is something to help those addicted to stop compulsively getting and using drugs. The organization also goes on to say that “Drug addiction treatment has been shown to reduce associated health and social costs by far more than the cost of the treatment itself.”
Anyone addicted can be helped through treatment. For more information call Narconon at 800-468-6933.