Breaking Down the Nature of Methamphetamines
Listed as one of the deadliest and most addictive drugs on the planet, Methamphetamine has leaked into nearly every corner of the country. The last two decades have seen a massive increase in the widespread popularity of the drug and the thousands of before and after pictures on the internet only solidify the dangers and effects of Meth for both long and short term users.
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The History of Meth
From its creation at the turn of the 20th century as Amphetamine, methamphetamine is a chemical drug designed to be a high-powered stimulant. It was widely administered during WWII to keep troops awake and was given in high doses to Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. In the 1950s, meth became a popular diet suppressant and depression medication.
In the ’60s, injectable meth started to flourish, and in the 1970s, the US Government banned the substance. Shortly after, biker gangs working alongside Mexican drug traffickers started creating “Meth Labs” in California to fill a now hungry and addicted market. Since then, the drug has spread throughout the country, primarily in the midwest and Appalachian territories, and all throughout Europe.
The crystalline ‘shards’ of meth are often what meth looks like in popular imagination as well in media depictions.
The Secret Types of Meth
Over the past twenty years or so, Amphetamines have become one of the most prescribed medications in the world, with the United States being the number one prescriber. They come in ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. When prescribed to people who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorders, they counteract the hyperactivity of the mind, mellowing the thought processes and allowing the person to focus. However, when people who do not suffer from these disorders take these drugs, they create a high similar to that of cocaine. Amphetamines, which are only a slight chemical difference away from Meth, have become one of the most commonly abused drugs in the country.
There are many people these days who use the party drug known as Molly, aka, MDMA and/or Ecstasy pills. Little do they know, a lot of today’s Molly has become over-saturated with adulterants, for dealers to make more of a profit. Many people are unaware that they are actually ingesting high amounts of meth, and this lack of awareness about the purity of the drugs is most likely the reason why we have been hearing so many overdoses at music festivals.
The Effects of Meth
Since methamphetamine is a stimulant, it takes effect on a person based on the amount ingested. So if it is taken in small doses, it speeds a person up, and on the contrary, if ingested in large amounts, it has a counter effect where it begins to act as a depressant. The chemical reaction that creates the desired effect is the increased levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine coincides with motivation, pleasure, motor functioning, and euphoria. However, this massive increase in dopamine is believed to have a severe effect on the deterioration of nerve pathways in the brain.
The Long and Short of It
People primarily take meth to feel up, and although it creates a feeling of well-being and energy in the user, it will inevitably lead to a very hard come down. People will experience weight loss, nausea, irritability, and delusions of power. While people do use Meth for its stimulating properties, there are quite a bit of dangerous side effects that can occur even for short-term users.
- Decreased Appetite
- Increased Respiration
- Rapid and Irregular Heartbeat
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Fluctuations in Sleep Patterns
- Bizarre and Sometimes Violent Behavior
- Panic and Paranoia
- Convulsions and Seizures
For people who use meth for more extended periods of time, the dangerous side effects become even more severe. Prolonged increase in heart rate can cause a permanent raise in rate and blood pressure, damaged blood vessels in the brain can lead to stroke, and frequent irregular heartbeat can cause cardiovascular collapse among many other side effects.
- Extreme Weight Loss or Starvation
- Severe Tooth Decay
- Destruction of Tissue at Ingestion Site (nasal cavity if sniffed, lungs if smoked)
- Infectious Disease and Abscess if Injected
- Depression and Anxiety
- Symptoms Relative to Alzheimer’s Due to Damage to Blood Vessels and Neural Pathways in the Brain
However it is used, Meth has been called the most addictive drug on the market as the user requires more and more of it to feel the effects. Prolonged use causes the brain to lower the natural production of dopamine, leaving users with violent mood swings and a roller coaster of highs and lows. Not to mention, the psychosis that can develop from meth use can develop into permanent brain damage and long-term hallucinations (i.e bugs crawling under the skin or seeing people/things that are not really there).
Chronic meth use has proven to be detrimental to brain tissue as well, thermal imaging scans have shown that the brain never regains its dopamine receptors entirely, and can lead to chronic and emotional issues and memory loss, as well as reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning.
No one really knows why addicts choose the drugs they do. What we can be sure of is why we use drugs at all. Addicts crave the effects of drugs as an escape from reality, as a way to not feel for a little while, or to at least feel good for a little while. When it comes to meth, it makes sense why people would be willing to put themselves through all of the dangerous long and short term side effects.
Meth gives users a false feeling of well-being, of power and of control. For people who suffer from addiction, that is the only thing that they really look for in life, a feeling of control and power, over ourselves and the things around us. Don’t let it fool you, the long and short effects of meth will sooner knock a user on their butt than it will actually give them the freedom they are looking for. Therein lies the never ending battle of addictive drug use; it is the only thing we feel we have control over, until one day it takes control of us.
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Freedom From Addiction: Found Here
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need with top treatment providers nationwide matched to your needs.
Give yourself a break with a confidential call to our helpline now, to find facilities that can help with meth across the country. Put meth in your rearview mirror and reach out now!
Edward lives and works in South Florida and has been a part of its recovery community for many years. With a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts, he works to help Find Addiction Rehabs as both a writer and marketer. Edward loves to share his passion for the field through writing about addiction topics, effective treatment for addiction, and behavioral health as a whole. Alongside personal experience, Edward has deep connections to the mental health treatment industry, having worked as a medical office manager for a psychiatric consortium for many years.