16 Apr The Meth Epidemic
Methamphetamine is one of the most quickly spreading illegal drugs in the world, with tens of thousands of new users adding to the numbers each year in the U.S. alone. Meth is a stimulant and is a key component in various medications used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. It was formerly used to treat respiratory problems as well, but as its addictive nature became apparent, it was listed as a schedule II controlled substance. Meth can easily be produced using over-the-counter ingredients, which contributes to its continued rise in popularity.
Like other stimulants, methamphetamine increases dopamine production and retention in the brain to give users a sense of pleasure and reward. It provides a longer high than other stimulants, lasting for several hours. The effects of the drug wear off long before it is out of the body, though. After 12 hours, 50% of the drug is still present in the body, but the high is long gone. This causes those who abuse the drug to take another dose while the drug is still present and risk overdose.
Even the first dose of meth begins to cause damage to the body and puts the user at risk for serious cardiovascular problems and death. The short term effects of meth use include :
Euphoria and rush
Increased activity and wakefulness
Continued use of meth is extremely destructive to the body. It can cause psychosis including repetitive movement, paranoia, and hallucinations. Permanent changes in brain structure and function occur and cause loss of memory, mood swings, and aggressive or violent behavior. Severe malnutrition occurs among meth abusers which can lead to serious dental problems and weight loss.
Many of the side effects of long term meth use are irreversible. It’s important for people who are suffering from a meth addiction, or who have a loved one who is, to seek out treatment immediately to minimize these effects. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that builds a tolerance, causing an increased demand over time. The best way to break the cycle of increased use and damage is through the help of a qualified drug rehabilitation facility.