Crystal Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine, known commonly as “speed” or “crystal meth,” is an addictive stimulant that overstimulates certain systems in the brain. Closely related to amphetamine in chemical make-up, crystal meth affects the central nervous system much stronger, making it a popular street drug. While use of crystal meth plummeted in the 1970s, it has reappeared in recent years and is once more a serious problem.
Crystal meth is highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse and psychological dependence. The fast, powerful high tapers off quickly; leaving the user with a strong desire to do more crystal meth and making this illegal street drug a lucrative business for those who manufacture it. Crystal meth can be smoked, snorted or injected.
One of the most potentially dangerous drugs, crystal meth seriously affects the brain, releasing high levels of dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. Over time, crystal meth reduces the levels of dopamine the brain produces, which can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease, a severe movement disorder. Then, when the user stops taking the drug, the brain is unable to function normally.
Crystal meth can have devastating effects on human physiology and psychology. Even small amounts have an enormous impact on the central nervous system, including increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, hyperthermia, euphoria, irritability, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia and aggressiveness.
Crystal meth also causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can do irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, which produces strokes. Other effects include respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat and extreme weight loss and can result in cardiovascular collapse and death.