The Quest to Battle Meth Addiction: Chapter 4

If taken in improper doses, drugs can have a long-lasting and severe impact on the human brain, body, and emotional state. In certain cases, individuals may turn to a specific form of the drug to receive a “kick,” or a boost that brings waves of euphoria and energy: stimulants. One particularly powerful variant is methamphetamine, a drug that is specifically designed to induce powerful bursts of energy. While stimulants ultimately affect people in similar ways, methamphetamine is considered particularly dangerous due to its long-term reactions on the nervous system.

Up Close with Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a synthetic (manmade) stimulant that stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain and, ultimately, stifles nerve receptors to prevent the reabsorption of dopamine. Typically, it is used to suppress symptoms of ADHD, to treat narcolepsy, and serve as an avenue for weight loss treatment. Furthermore, this drug not only releases dopamine at a rapid rate but also instigates a particularly large dose of this neurotransmitter.  In this sense, feelings of pleasure and self-motivation immediately increase as the drug enters the human body and last for long periods of time. Health experts warn that this overpowering flood of sensations is what initially incites abusive behavior.

People who abuse methamphetamines may suffer from long-term neurological problems as a result of frequent consumption. Studies have shown that this stimulant can damage the brain’s nerve terminals. Victims may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Raised body temperature (hyperthermia)

Compare and Contrast: Cocaine

All stimulants ultimately produce the same feeling of increased awareness, stamina, and motivation, but methamphetamine differs on various levels. As an example, let’s contrast it with another infamous stimulant: cocaine.

  • Methamphetamine is synthetic, while cocaine is a naturally-occurring substance.
  • The human body metabolizes cocaine within one hour of consumption, while methamphetamine can remain in a user’s system for approximately 12 hours.
  • Both drugs block the reabsorption of dopamine, but methamphetamine stimulates the rapid release of overly large quantities of this neurotransmitter.

While the drug may be used as a successful form of treatment, methamphetamines can still pose a serious threat to your health and well-being. Always consult a doctor before making the decision to take these stimulants.

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