Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug, available illegally under the names meth, crystal, crank, and ice among others. Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the DEA, because of its very high abuse and harm potential. Statistics on its use vary widely, with one study from the National Center for Drug Abuse estimating in 2013 that over 5% of Americans over the age 26 had admitted to methamphetamine abuse in their lifetime.

How Does Methamphetamine Work?

Methamphetamine is an intense stimulant drug that produces feelings of elation and a burst of energy, caused by massive releases of the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Of course, the high is followed within hours by a plummeting low, often referred to as a crash. This causes the user to want to duplicate the high again, and a cycle begins leading to psychological dependence, methamphetamine abuse and addiction. There is no safe number of times that a person can “try” the drug and not become addicted.

What Are Methamphetamine Abuse Dangers?

Besides the legal problems posed by methamphetamine’s illegal use, the drug has some very harmful effects on the body.

With continued use, the effects and the risks multiply and include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease or stroke.
  • Damage to major organs (such as the liver and kidneys). This damage is heightened by dangerous chemicals and impurities which are often present in illegally manufactured product.
  • Decrease in appetite, which can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and illness.
  • Insomnia: since sleep is the brain’s natural way to repair and restore, chronic lack of sleep or staying awake for days on end can lead to confusion, hallucinations or permanent brain damage.
  • Skin problems: Malnutrition can lead to skin breakdown. Also, chronic meth users report delusions of things crawling on or under the skin which causes picking at the skin and sores. These sores can become infected or heal slowly because of the chronic meth user’s overall poor health.
  • Poor dental health: users can experience decayed teeth or tooth loss.
  • Poor judgment: Meth use renders users incapable of proper judgment. It often causes delusions of power or invincibility. The need for more of the drug causes desperate users to forget a sense of right and wrong, with anything being fair game – even stealing from friends and family.
  • Paranoia: The chemical changes that meth creates in the brain and sleep deprivation can cause paranoia and hallucinations.

How Can You Stay Safe?

First of all, if you haven’t tried methamphetamine, DON’T DO IT! If you are a victim of methamphetamine abuse, STOP. You may need help to stop using. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. Inpatient treatment may be necessary to help you stop using. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, may be necessary to help you learn and continue to make good choices and stay clean. You can receive this and more in a reputable drug rehabilitation treatment center.

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