How Methamphetamine Destroys Your Mind and Body
Meth is derived from another drug, amphetamine. Amphetamine was originally used as a nasal decongestant and bronchial dilator. (Note: An amphetamine is a stimulant drug that produces increased wakefulness and focus while it decreases appetite and fatigue. It’s also known as “speed”.)
However, methamphetamine is different from amphetamine in that, at comparable doses, higher levels of meth can get into the brain, making it more potent and creates more harmful effects on the central nervous system of the user.
Methamphetamine can not only be created from commonly obtained household items, but the drug can also be prescribed by a doctor for diagnoses such as narcolepsy and ADHD. Meth can be snorted, taken orally, smoked or injected.
When methamphetamine is consumed, the user can experience hallucinations, paranoia, and increased aggression. If a person uses too much, too quickly, the user can die from the damage meth wreaks on blood vessels in the brain. Often, a meth addict will take meth continuously for days. During this time the user is active and doesn’t normally eat or sleep. Afterwards, they crash, sleeping for days and then experiencing extreme anxiety and depression. The depression caused by the crash can cause suicidal thoughts and ideations.
Another extremely damaging physical effect of meth is that once consumed, the drug remains in the body, unchanged, for a long period of time. This means that when the drug affects the brain, it doesn’t cause brief or minor damage, it can cause permanent damage.
Methamphetamine works by blocking dopamine reuptake in the brain and increasing the activity of dopamine in the nervous system. Dopamine is the brain’s “reward” neurochemical and allows us to feel pleasure in life from things like having fun with friends, shopping, sex, and of course, drug use. Meth adversely affects dopamine levels in the brain, causing long-term users to lose the ability to enjoy doing anything, thus why the relapse rate on meth is so high.