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Meth- What It Does To The Brain
Methamphetamine, commonly known as "Meth," is a drug that stimulates our central nervous system. When it comes to structure, it is practically similar to amphetamine. Meth is categorized as Schedule II drug because of its considerably high potential for abuse. Therefore, it is obtainable only via prescription and cannot be refilled. Although some doctors prescribe this drug, its medical usage is very limited. Physicians normally prescribe negligibly small dosage of methamphetamine that cannot be abused. Most of the meth abused nowadays comes from either domestic or foreign super-labs. In many cases it is made in illegal laboratories, which not only endangers people making it, but also presents severe risk of damage to people living near that lab. Normally it is available in white powder form that can easily be dissolved in water. It is odorless and bitter tasting. Most addicts dissolve it in alcohol and take it orally. However, it is also taken intra-nasally, through smoking and by needle injection.
Effects of Meth on Human Brain
Unlike cocaine, meth has a long-lasting effect on your body. It causes your body to release high levels of a brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for stimulating brain cells when meth is abused. It enhances the body movement and temperament of the abuser. Moreover, it causes motor function, reward, the feeling of pleasure, motivation, intense euphoria and rush. Meth consumption has also a neurotoxic effect on your brain cells that store serotonin - another substance responsible for neurotransmission.
Chronic meth addiction considerably changes the way your brain functions. It has been identified by the Noninvasive Brain Imaging Studies that changes in the dopamine system cause impaired verbal learning and reduced motor skills. Recent researches related to chronic meth addiction have revealed that abusing this drug may result in severe functional as well as structural changes in areas of human brain associated with memory and emotions. This might set off many emotions and cognitive issues that are common in meth abusers.
Even a very small amount of meth can induce increased physical activity, wakefulness, increased respiration, decreased appetite, euphoria and hyperthermia. Other effects of methamphetamine on human central nervous system include insomnia, irritability, confusion, aggressiveness and paranoia. Repeated abuse of methamphetamine can lead to addiction, which is a relapsing, chronic disease categorized by compulsive drug usage. It is accompanied by molecular and chemical changes in your brain. Some of these alterations are long-lasting and persist even after the abuse is stopped. It might take more than a year to reverse some of these effects. Some might never be reversed.
Since it is evident that damaged nerve cells are almost impossible to be regenerated, this drug causes irreversible damage in your central nervous system irrespective of the amount taken. NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) reported the same observation. It also presented the information that people having a long history of addiction to meth have substantially reduced levels of "Dopamine Transporters", which is the major reason behind impaired motor skills and memory issues. Studies have shown that abusers who remain abstinent for more than 9 months recover from the damage cause by meth to their dopamine transporters. However, their memory and motor skills may not recover at all.
Meth is under research for more than two decades, and most studies are focused on its effects on human brain. Though the substance brings extreme pleasure to the user, the flashes last for just few minutes. It is proven over time that users become addicted to meth very quickly, and they face uncontrollable desire to increase the dosage. They sometimes cannot help themselves and use it with increasing frequency, which causes severe damage not only to their brain but also to their body.
As with other drug addiction problems, meth addiction can also be treated, provided that addict seeks help at the right time. The usual treatment entails psychotherapy, counseling, family therapy and support groups. There are certain medications that are prescribed by physicians in order to suppress the meth withdrawal symptoms. These medications also help blocking the adverse effects of meth and craving of the drug. It has been proven over time that if treatment is given for a longer period of time, it works well and the addict stays away from addiction.
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