Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that is used as a recreational drug. It is made using amphetamine, a drug used to treat ADD and obesity. It can take the form of either a pill, an odorless white powder or as a glass-like crystal that is known as Crystal Meth.
Like other stimulants, such as Cocaine or Adderall, Methamphetamine increases a one’s alertness and ability to pay attention to something. Meth gives a user a lot of energy and reduces drowsiness or sleepiness. In fact, it can be very difficult to sleep after using Meth. This drug will make you hyperactive, increasing physical activity. It can cause someone to talk at a fast pace and for a long time without stopping. Most notably, Meth use causes a distinct and powerful sense of euphoria, making it one of the most commonly abused and most addictive drugs that exist today.
This strong euphoria is caused primarily by an excess amount of Dopamine that is active in the body. Methamphetamine interacts with multiple neurotransmitters in the brain, the primary one being Dopamine. Meth causes the brain to produce or release an increased amount of Dopamine than is normally released. This floods the body with Dopamine, causing the euphoria associated with Meth.
On top of this, Meth is a Dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which means that it stops the appropriate faculty in the nervous system from reabsorbing Dopamine. Normally small amounts of Dopamine are released and then reabsorbed and saved for later use. On Meth, more is released than normal and none is reabsorbed. This causes there to be an excessive amount of Dopamine in circulation, creating an overwhelming sensation of pleasure.
Methamphetamine has been around for a long time, first having been discovered in Japan, around 1919. Alongside other stimulants, Meth was used by soldiers on all sides in World War II to help them stay awake, alert and energetic.
In the 1950s, Methamphetamine was being prescribed in the United States as a diet pill. It was also being used to treat depression and came close to being a “cure all” medication quickly. Meth was sold over the counter as a decongestant. It was even used commonly as a non-medical stimulant that was similar to coffee. To top it off, it was also used casually by college students, athletes and others who had a particular need to stay awake, maintain a high-level energy or hold attention for long periods.
Soon, the addictive properties of Methamphetamine were realized as more and more people began to abuse the drug. In 1970, the US government made Meth illegal under most circumstances as the detrimental effects of Meth abuse became more apparent and prevalent.
In the following years, many illegal labs that produced Methamphetamine for illicit sales started to pop up. Mexican drug cartels were, and still are, particularly active in this trade. Smaller groups and individuals have followed suit, though, because of the lucrative sales. This is how recreational Meth is produced to this day, secretly and illegally in clandestine or underground labs.
Presently, Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States of America. One variant of Meth is still readily available as a prescription called Desoxyn. It is used to treat ADD and aids weight loss, but there are many alternatives with the same levels of effectiveness that have much lower risks associated.
Abusing Meth, like all addictive substances, can cause a person’s life to completely fall apart at the seams. Meth abuse will damage personal relationships, deteriorate work and school life, break down someone’s motivation and productivity. Meth abuse results in isolation, depression, mood disorders, estrangement from loved ones and passions.
It is now known that Methamphetamine damages the Dopamine and Serotonin neurons in the brain. In recovery, the effects this damage has had on a person’s personality, cognitive abilities and mood may be compensated for to some degree. Most of the time, though, brain damage like this is permanent.
There is more physiological damage that long term Meth abuse causes that is unique to this drug. The deterioration of muscle tissue and fat, which exhibits as emaciation, is caused by the extreme and long-term lack of nutrition from chronic loss of appetite. Meth causes the mouth to be very dry, which, results in the rapid rotting of teeth. This is usually made worse by the tendency of users to neglect personal hygiene.
If you or a loved one are suffering from Methamphetamine addiction and facing any of these monstrous consequences, there is help. No one is hopeless, and regardless of what you may think you have lost, there is more to live for. Additionally, there are plenty of resources that are available to people struggling with addiction. Call us, at 866-579-7471, for information on rehab, therapy, support groups, programs like the 12-step program, sponsors, meetings and other available services that can help with Meth abuse.