According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse methamphetamine, or meth, as it is more commonly called, is a powerful and addictive stimulant that can significantly affect a person’s central nervous system. The drug can be made quite easily in clandestine laboratories, with a series of somewhat inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. These factors are the main reasons that this drug has such wide spread use and abuse.
Some of the other names that are used for methamphetamine include meth, chalk, and speed. If it is smoked, it is commonly referred to as crystal, ice, crank and glass. It is an odorless, white and bitter tasting crystalline powder that will dissolve easily in alcohol or water. It has been developed from amphetamine and the original, intended use was to use it for a bronchial inhaler or decongestant.
The chemical structure of methamphetamine is very similar to amphetamine; however it has much more significant effects on a person’s central nervous system, and can cause a decreased appetite and overall sense of well-being. The effects of the drug can last for a period of six to eight hours. Once the initial rush brought on by the drug has subsided, the takers will usually experience high agitation, which in some cases leads to violent behavior.
Abuse of Methamphetamine
The United States Department of Justice reports that methamphetamine can be snorted, injected, smoked, ingested or smoked. The drug can alter a person’s mood, which is dependent on how it is taken. When the drug is taken intravenously or injected the “rush” that is experienced will only last a few minutes. Oral use or snorting of the substance will produce a good feeling, but not the intense rush of the IV injection.
Effects of Methamphetamine
Since methamphetamine is such a powerful stimulate, it can affect a person even when taken in small doses. Some of the short-term effects of the drug include:
- Decreased fatigue;
- Increased attention and activity;
- Decreased appetite;
- A rush that simulates euphoria;
- Increased respiration;
However, the long term effects of using the drug can be extremely damaging, and include addiction. Addiction is a chronic disorder that is characterized by a person displaying drug seeking behaviors in relation to the drug use. Some of the other long-term effects of use of Methamphetamine include:
- Addiction psychosis;
- Repetitive motor activity;
- Weight loss.
With chronic use of methamphetamine, a person can develop a tolerance for the drug. As this tolerance increases, the person will increase their dosage in order to intensify the desired effects that are produced. There are some reported cases of users of Meth foregoing sleep and food while they indulge and binge on the drug. With this chronic abuse, it may lead to psychotic behavior, which is characterized by hallucinations, paranoia and rages that are seemingly out of control.
10 Signs of Methamphetamine Use
While methamphetamine is not the most abused drug, it is one of the most addictive and destructive. It is essential that if a person is addicted to methamphetamine their friends and family understand the signs and symptoms of the addiction. Here you will find the 10 most common symptoms a person will have if they are addicted to methamphetamine.
Number 1: Skin Picking
A person that regularly uses methamphetamine will likely be seen obsessively picking at their skin. This leads to sores and wounds, mainly on the face, that may appear to be a severe case of acne and that often leave open sores all over the person’s face and body.
Number 2: Skin Crawling
A meth user will also likely complain that their skin feels as though it is crawling, which is a disorder that is referred to as formication.
Number 3: Tooth Decay
If meth is used for prolonged periods of time, the user will begin to experience tooth decay. If this use continues, teeth loss may occur and this is commonly referred to as “meth mouth.”
Number 4: Hair Loss
A meth addict will have a lack of nutrients in their body and be injecting dangerous and toxic chemicals each time they use the drug. As a result, they will experience hair breakage frequently.
Number 5: Temporary Weight Loss
The chemicals in meth can cause temporary weight loss when someone first begins to use it. This is associated with a loss of appetite. However, the weight loss will usually subside after use of the drug for a few weeks.
Number 6: Eye Twitching
A person that is addicted to meth will experience a number of different reactions to the drug, one of which is eye twitching. This is a natural side effect of the drug and you will likely notice twitching of the eyes several times each minute, which will not go away until the person has completely quit and been detoxified from the drug.
Number 7: Changes in Mood
There are many psychological disorders that may cause a change in mood; however, they are also a sign of meth addiction. In some cases, a high dose of meth can create a permanent depression for a number of addicts
Number 8: Hyperactivity
If a person was hyperactive prior to starting the drug, this may be a difficult symptom to identify. There are some cases, however, that a meth addict will get high and then not be able to stop moving. There are cases where they can become a danger to themselves, as well as others around them.
Number 9: Noticeable Body Odor
A person that is addicted to meth will have a smell that is harsh and they will likely sweat a lot. The odor is described to be similar to cat urine, which is the same smell that meth labs typically have. The chemicals that are used in the drug are the reason that it has this smell and when the person sweats, they will also smell like this.
Number 10: Paranoia
Many meth addicts become extremely paranoid with continued use of the drug. They will have a belief that everyone is “out to get them.” In some cases they will avoid going out in public and keep to themselves, not communicating with anyone around them.
Being aware of the symptoms associated with meth addiction can help identify a person that has a problem. If a person is addicted to methamphetamine they will need treatment from both medication, as well as, psychological treatment. It is important to identify the underlying psychological reasons that a person may be, otherwise they are likely to relapse and begin using again.
Complications Related to Use of Methamphetamine
The use of methamphetamine can lead to a variety of different cardiovascular issues. This can include irregular heartbeat, rapid heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, damage that can lead to a stroke and smaller blood vessels in the brain. Another issue can be Hyperthermia, which is an increase in a person’s body temperature and a series of convulsions that usually accompany an overdose of methamphetamine, which can ultimately result in death.
Methamphetamine is highly addictive and extremely dangerous, especially if a person builds a tolerance to the drug. There are various treatment facilities to help addicted individuals withdrawal from the symptoms and successfully stop using the drug. This includes the use of counseling and other methods to help the person overcome the addiction, which is both mental and physical.