Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is a very strong central nervous system stimulant that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It is a synthesized drug and takes the form of a white, odorless, and bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is most often used recreationally and for its effects as a potent euphoriant. Read on to learn about how exactly this drug affects the brain and about the long-term effects that it might have on the brain.
In the midst of the opioid epidemic, meth addiction has been lost a bit in the shadows of national attention. Make no mistake, though, meth addiction is still a highly prevalent problem in the United States and is often found in lower-income rural communities with little access to treatment and help. At Renaissance Ranch, we help people overcome meth addiction through gospel-based treatment that utilized clinically-proven methods.
How Meth Works
Methamphetamine works by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the body, which leads to high levels of that chemical in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for several natural functions of the body, including motor control, arousal, motivation, cognition, and reward; it even has some effect on sexual gratification, lactation, and nausea. In the case of methamphetamine, the increased levels of dopamine mainly cause feelings of euphoria and an increase in sexual desire.
Short-Term Effects of Meth Abuse
When a user is on meth, they will experience several major physical problems, such as circulatory issues that change your heart rate and blood pressure. During this period, the user may experience nausea and have hot and cold flashes. Despite these horrible physical effects, the high of meth is very extreme and causes people to slip into a cloud-like euphoric state, even though it is often coupled with paranoia and even hallucinations.
In the shorter term, methamphetamine can cause feelings of euphoria, but it can also cause feelings is dysphoria, which is a profound state of uneasiness or dissatisfaction. It can also affect alertness or create a decreased sense of fatigue. Other shorter-term effects of the drug include apprehension, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and repetitive and obsessive behaviors. Socially, it can lead a person to feel increasingly social, or to false feelings of superiority. These effects only continue and increase over time with chronic use.
Long-Term Effects of Meth Abuse
The physical issues of using meth in the short term only compound, over time. Long-term meth usage can lead to a heart attack because of the extreme fluctuations in heart rate that it causes. In addition, meth can damage your blood vessels, and cause several vital organs to fail, including your heart, lungs, kidney, and liver. Brain damage is also a common side effect of meth-usage. A person’s mental state is also liable to be at risk after long-term meth addiction.
In the long term, chronic methamphetamine use can be extremely damaging to the brain. It is a highly addictive substance and can quickly build tolerance levels, making chronic use all-to-common in even those who intended to use methamphetamine “just once.” Chronic use can result in heightened anxiety, depression, confusion, continual insomnia, mood disturbances, and increasingly violent behavior. A chronic meth user might also experience paranoia, hallucination, or delusions, such as the sensation of insects crawling under the skin.
Physical Effects of Meth Abuse
Mental Effects of Meth Abuse
Meth Impact on the Brain
Beyond these negative side effects, chronic meth use actually causes chemical and molecular changes in the brain. It can cause changes in the activity of the dopamine system in the brain, resulting in impaired visual learning and reduced motor skills. These structural and functional changes also contribute to emotional problems and impaired memory.
Call Today for Help!
If you know somebody who struggles with meth addiction, then it is so important that you are able to find them help in a treatment facility that can help them thrive and rebuild themselves into a stronger person. Renaissance Ranch has helped tons of Utahns overcome the horrors of addiction with a rehab program that is based on family interaction, gospel principles, and clinical methods.