Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth is a synthetic stimulant and complex substance which has long-lasting effects and can alter your’s brains chemistry and structure.
It is highly addictive and if the availability becomes easy then it will become a huge problem due to the side effects of meth addiction.
What is meth, how does meth affects the brain and what are the effects of drug abuse, let’s dive deep into it.
1. What is Meth?
Meth, crystal meth, or methamphetamine is basically a central nervous system stimulant and although it has some medical usage like for the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), the problem arises with its recreational usage.
It is very powerful and addictive. This shiny white and blue glass-like stimulant is similar to amphetamine chemically.
How does meth addiction develop lets’s see that?
2. How Methamphetamine Works in the Brain?
Just like any other stimulant, the consumption of meth also releases an abundant amount of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
The release of these neurotransmitters creates a feeling of extreme euphoria accompanied by high energy, you don’t feel vulnerable and there are a lot of other psychoactive reactions.
How all these starts can not straight up be proved because meth is made by a combination of various substances like antifreeze, battery acid, or drain cleaner.
The issue here is that you can not clarify what ingredient has what reaction.
But based on the composition we can very safely assume that it is highly combustible, some ingredients are toxic and overall it is very dangerous to consume or manufacture.
3. How does Meth Affects The Brain?
As we have seen above there are psychoactive reactions, and there are neurological changes in the body too.
So, when you are into chronic methamphetamine abuse the brain eventually gets altered and starts operating in a different manner based on what stimulation it is getting.
Since it is a very powerful drug, not only does it boost dopamine, norepinephrine, and dopamine but it also inhibits reuptake.
So, it basically acts in a manner that affects directly and even leads to the release of stored dopamine.
The reward system of the brain is completely taken over by meth, and so is motor control and reinforcement.
Various pieces of research have shown how meth abuse can lead to decreased gliogenesis, increased glutamate calcium in the brain, cytoskeletal damage, and sometimes permanent brain damage.
4. Neurological Effects of Meth Use
Meth consumption totally affects your brain both in the short term and long term.
The most common effects include increased confidence and awareness along with quick thought processing and euphoria.
It primarily affects three neurotransmitters in the following way.
Dopamine surge is created by meth consumption, it is the brain chemical that is responsible for reward and motivation.
The effect of meth addiction is that release of dopamine is so much that a sudden spike is created which causes a very drastic high and extreme effect on the brain as well.
Norepinephrine is basically related to the fight-or-flight response. It leads to an increase in confidence, aggression, and even alertness.
It works in a dual manner both like a hormone and a neurotransmitter. So, it also affects blood flow and pressure, and heart rate.
Although the neurotransmitter is used in various body parts, for the brain it works as an enhancer and regulator.
It also affects the feelings of happiness and well-being. With meth, this becomes overwhelming, as it produces a flood.
5. Short-Term Effects of Methamphetamine
There are a lot of effects of meth on your brain and body; let’s see what are the short-term effects of meth.
Symptoms like awful breath, clenched jaw, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dilated pupils, and excessive sweating.
It also leads to increased wakefulness and physical activity, faster breathing, and irregular heartbeat along with increased blood pressure and body temperature.
People also experience insomnia, nausea, teeth grinding, and tremors.
6. Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine
Chronic users who inject meth are at risk of even contracting diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B.
Meth also leads to alteration of judgment which in turn even affects your decision making which can lead to uninformed or less thoughtful decisions.
It has been seen that people who are already infected with HIV can experience worse symptoms from meth consumption.
Other long-term symptoms are extreme weight loss, addiction, and dental problems.
Along with intense itching, anxiety, confusion, memory loss and sleeping problems, and sleeping problems.
People also experience paranoia and hallucinations due to long-term meth usage. Neurologically, it affects the verbal learning process making it less effective.
7. Can a Person Overdose on Methamphetamine?
Given the effects of meth consumption, and the euphoria that one experiences, it is highly likely that a person can end up consuming a large amount which is an overdose and it can have serious toxic reactions on your body, which could even lead to death.
NIH studies have shown that meth overdose deaths have increased three times between the year 2015 to 2019.
It basically starts slow, but when the body becomes accustomed to a certain stimulus over time, its effects start fading and it requires more of the drug concentration to achieve the same level of excitation.
This process ends up in the development of addiction which can sometimes lead to an overdose.
8. Final Thoughts
How meth affects the brain has been thoroughly explained above.
We now have an understanding that it can have very long-lasting and dangerous effects on your brain like memory loss, movement issues, emotional control, and even attention problems.
There are also some severe reactions possible like anti-social behaviour and even dementia-like symptoms leading to brain damage.
So, consumption should be done keeping in mind all these aspects and consequences.