Understanding What Methamphetamine Can Do to Your Body
Many people who are tempted to try an illegal drug go into it thinking that using the drug once or twice won’t hurt anything. This can be especially true with younger people, who still tend to think that they are invincible. They figure that getting high with their friends isn’t that much different from drinking a few beers. However, when the drug of choice is crystal meth, stop and think twice before trying it even one time. Methamphetamine, and particularly the more potent crystal meth, is highly addictive. It is believed that a user can become addicted to meth within a very short period of time. Attracted by the feelings associated with using meth, like high energy, increased activity levels, and a lack of appetite, some people think they can use it once in awhile as a pick-me-up. In low doses, using the legal form of methamphetamine, this could be true, but most users of illegal meth are not using the medically therapeutic dosage. Crystal meth works on the central nervous system of the user’s brain. The amount of drug that enters the brain is higher with meth than with other illegal drugs, as is the length of time that it stays in the brain. These factors contribute to the danger of meth use and what it can do to your brain. Methamphetamines cause the release of high levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects motivation, motor function, and the pleasurable feelings that can come with drug use. These high levels of dopamine and meth combined can contribute to destructive effects on the nerve terminals in the brain that can have long term negative effects on how your brain functions. In the short term, use of meth on a regular basis can cause increased blood pressure, weight loss, insomnia, agitation and irritability, confusion, increased or irregular heart rate, as well as increased body temperatures to the point of danger. There are many other possible side effects of meth use that can vary depending on the age and weight of the user, what form of meth they are using, and how it is ingested, meaning whether it is snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed. With longer term use, it takes an increasingly more frequent and larger amount of crystal meth in order to achieve the same high. The body builds a tolerance to meth in a reasonably short period of time, causing the user to crave the drug. That is another reason why crystal meth is so highly addictive. Where chronic abuse is concerned, users can develop feelings of depression, paranoia, and hallucinations to the point where the user may think and feel as if there are bugs crawling all over his or her body. There is an increased risk of stroke due to the impact on the blood vessels in the brain. And if you have ever seen a photo of a heavy crystal meth user, you have seen that it can destroy the teeth; this is called “meth mouth”. Clearly, the toll that meth can take on the body is rather alarming. First of all, this drug will prematurely age the body, and make a person look far older in just a short period of time. Further, chronic usage of this drug can cause psychotic behavior and sometimes even death. Over time, meth will change the brain chemistry and make it difficult for a person to experience pleasure. Often these pleasure centers cannot be regrown. The bottom line is that crystal meth is a drug that can destroy the body and the mind as well.