Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs that are used regularly by people. Fortunately, it’s not as addictive as heroin, methadone, or even nicotine, but it is enough to create addictions in hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. It can be incredibly addictive because it can produce the following effects when used:

  • –Arousal and attention is enhanced
  • –Serotonin is increased, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and sexuality
  • –Norepinephrine is increased, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, wakefulness, and attention
  • –Adrenaline is increased, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the “fight or flight” response
  • –Dopamine is increased, a neurotransmitter that regulates motivation, reward, addiction, reinforcement.

 

You might see why this drug can lure you into using it. The high that meth produces includes excited speech, decreased appetite, increased physical activity, and elevated levels of energy. Because of this experience of pleasure, a person can easily get hooked. They want more and more of the experience that methamphetamine gives them. And in the beginning, the consequences that might otherwise come with the high isn’t as present. Instead, a person feels the enjoyment of high energy, creativity, and increased ability to get all they want done.

However, the continued use of the drug soon brings consequences, including memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and agitation. With ongoing use, methamphetamine can cause severe damage to the central nervous system as well as irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain which can lead to strokes. These are only some of the severe health consequences associated with this drug.

Furthermore, the increase or decrease of dopamine in the brain (which happens with the use and crash of methamphetamine) can affect the communication between neurons and affect the functioning of the brain. Whenever a person introduces a foreign substance into the brain, it makes it more difficult for the neurons to communicate with one another. Experts in the field of drug and alcohol addiction have known that addiction usually shows a significant increase in dopamine in the brain as well as the presence of glutamate, the brain’s excitatory chemical.

As you can imagine, because of the highs that come with this drug, getting off methamphetamine can be challenging. The release of dopamine, which creates strong feelings of euphoria are often followed by a crash that leads to repeated use of the drug and increased doses to attempt to feel the same levels of euphoria. Because of the highs and lows of meth, which are so similar to cocaine, withdrawal symptoms can also include low levels of energy while the body learns to balance and restore its natural rhythm.

If you find yourself addicted to methamphetamine, contact a mental health provider or your doctor. There are medications that you may be able to take to ease your experience of withdrawal and slowly wean off the drug. Talking to a mental health professional will also provide you with an assessment that can screen for the severity of the addiction as well as the possible presence of other mental illnesses.

However, it’s important to get help first. If you’re caught in the cycle of addiction, calling a professional can help.

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