What is Meth And Which Are Meth Addiction Long-Term Effects

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Meth or Methamphetamine is a potent stimulant that affects the CNS (central nervous system).Developed in the 20th century from the amphetamine. Methamphetamine is a more powerful stimulant, has longer lasting effects and more damaging effects on the brain than its parent drug amphetamine.

Meth comes in various presentations and depending on its form; it can be

  • smoked
  • inhaled
  • orally consumed
  • injected

Smoking meth is nowadays the most common way of consuming it. Both injecting or smoking it produce an instant intense rush or flash that lasts just a few minutes. Inhaled or consumed orally it produces intense euphoria, without the rush.

Meth abusers tend to follow a binge and crash consuming pattern. Given that the effects of pleasure the drugs deliver vanish while there is still drug in the blood,  users take more drug so as to remain “high”.  Due to this, abusers continue consuming meth during several days, neglecting sleep and food.

Meth addiction implies the long-term abuse of methamphetamines, which in fact is the main consequence of meth abuse. One of the biggest issues regarding meth addiction is that it is a chronic and relapsing disease.

What Are The Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction?
  • Tolerance. The immediate effects of meth consumption is an intense feeling of euphoria. Frequent users develop tolerance to methamphetamine´s effects, so they start needing higher doses, consume it more frequently or change the way they consume it to obtain the desired results.
  • Skin Changes. An extreme user´s appearance can be quite shocking on the long term. Due to the constriction of blood vessels, the skin loses its elasticity and healthy glow and making the meth addict skin look dramatically aged. Moreover, the damaged blood vessels and tissues make it hard for the body to repair damaged cells. Therefore, long lasting sores are common to meth abusers.
  • Damaged teeth and gums. The saliva dries up allowing the acid present in the mouth to damage the teeth and cause cavities. Additionally, while high, meth abusers tend to have bruxism, which adds damage to their teeth. It is not rare to see meth users having lost dental pieces.
  • Brain damage. Meth affects mainly the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which are the responsible for the “pleasure effects.” Such damage can take as much as a year to reverse or can be permanent. The symptoms of dopamine and serotonin imbalances on meth users include: mood changes, violent behavior, sleeplessness, hallucinations, memory loss, impaired critical thinking, decreased reasoning skills, self-harm desire,  and psychosis.
  • Malnutrition. Meth suppresses appetite, so it´s common to see extremely thin meth abusers with malnutrition.
  • Adverse effects on non-neural brain cells known as “microglia.” These cells defend the brain removing harmed neurons and protecting it against infectious agents. However, an excessive activity of the microglial cells can damage healthy neurons.

Although statistics indicate that only a small percentage of meth abusers can quit for good, the possibility exists. In every case, to fight meth addiction, it is crucial to count on the addict´s will to do it, and on professional treatment and guidance.

 

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