Methamphetamine is often referred to as meth, speed, crank, crystal, glass and ice. Depending on the chemical composition, methamphetamine can look like shredded glass pieces or ice. Colors can range from white, brown, yellow-gray, orange or even pink. It’s odorless and bitter and can easily dissolve in water or alcohol.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that can have a number of effects on the user. The abuse and addiction potential is extremely high and it can damage the user’s central nervous system.
Meth users may start off using methamphetamine by swallowing or snorting it. It can also be smoked or injected which offers a more euphoric rush. The effects of this drug can be extremely dangerous and often deadly, either to the user or to those around them.
The Dangers of Methamphetamine Abuse
Methamphetamine abuse can cause many serious health hazards partly because it’s made with corrosive and toxic chemicals. Over-the-counter cold medication is included in the harmful chemical concoction.
Here are some of the harmful chemicals that are used to make methamphetamine:
- Brake fluid
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Muriatic acid
- Hydrochloric acid
- Red phosphorus
These toxic and corrosive chemicals can cause physiological and physical damage to the user. Organs can become permanently damaged or unusable resulting in death.
Kayla’s Story of Recovery from Meth Addiction at Narconon Fresh Start
How Meth Abuse Affects the Heart
Methamphetamine is a stimulant so it speeds the heart up. At the same time the blood vessels are constricted and so this adds pressure to the heart as it is trying to pump blood through the body. So the heart really takes a beating which may result in the user having a stroke or heart attack.
How Meth Abuse Affects the Kidneys
Like ecstasy and cocaine and bath salts, methamphetamine increases the user’s body temperature which can cause hypothermia. The kidneys can shut down and cause irreparable damage which can lead to a person needing constant dialysis until he or she gets a transplant.
How Meth Abuse Affects the Lungs
Methamphetamine users often accumulate fluid in their lungs and experience pulmonary hypertension which is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. This causes breathing difficulty and shortness of breath and chest pains or even fainting. It can be fatal if not treated early.
How Meth Abuse Affects the Brain and Mind
Parts of the brain can become damaged from abusing meth. Tissues of the brain are affected directly which impair memory and judgement and motor coordination. The stress on the blood vessels create higher risk of stroke that can lead to irreversible brain damage or even death.
Lasting changes in personality and intelligence can occur in methamphetamine users. They can become nervous and aggressive or violent. Users may pick at their skin for hours because they may experience a delusion that insects are crawling under their skin. This can trigger a change in the brain which results in compulsive and repetitive behavior.
Schizophrenia and suicidal or psychotic episodes are some of the mental effects that meth abuse can have on a person. These effects might improve, but a person may not fully recover.
Difficulty breathing, hyperactivity, and other signs of central nervous system stimulation can cause life threatening emergencies.
How Meth Abuse Affects Others
Not only is methamphetamine dangerous to the health and life of the user, but to the rest of society as well. Someone who is abusing this drug will often steal and commit other crimes, and may become violent if confronted or challenged in any way. Areas of the country hardest hit by methamphetamine abuse epidemics have seen increases in medical emergencies, crime statistics, violence, and deaths, and these increases may be associated with the user or with individuals who do not have drug abuse problems and are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Effects that Methamphetamine has on the User
The effects that methamphetamine has on the user is one of the reasons that this drug is so dangerous. Methamphetamine use causes excessive dopamine levels in the brain of the user. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which has a stimulating effect on the brain cells and causes mood enhancement and the energetic feeling that the drug causes. Scientific research has shown that this drug has a toxic effect on the brain cells, causing damage to cells that contain the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. As the methamphetamine abuse continues the dopamine levels in the brain become depressed, and this can cause a number of mental and physical conditions.
Symptoms of Methamphetamine Abuse
The symptoms of methamphetamine abuse are similar to the symptoms of any type of amphetamine or methamphetamine abuse. The user may seem hyperactive at times, with an inability to sit still.
Loss of appetite and weight loss are common problems associated with methamphetamine abuse also.
The individual may even run into legal problems if they are caught buying or using the drug. Financial difficulties are common because the drug can become very expensive once methamphetamine abuse starts.
Common paraphernalia that may be found can include aluminum foil, glass pipes, and other items that have a burned residue on them. If the drug is injected then hypodermic needles and injection marks on the user are other possible signs that methamphetamine is being used.
Getting off Methamphetamine
We have helped many people get off methamphetamine at Narconon Fresh Start. Though methamphetamine abuse causes many physical and mental effects on a person, we can help a person get the harmful toxins out of their body. These harmful toxins can drive drug cravings. The Narconon Fresh Start drug detox procedure can help eliminate these drug residues.
The Narconon Fresh Start life skills portion of the program help an individual to recover to their full potential so that they can start living a productive and successful drug-free life.
Call a Narconon Fresh Start specialist today at 855-734-2223 to find out how we can help save you or your loved one from methamphetamine addiction.