Friday, September 30, 2022

What Does Crystal Meth Do To Your Brain

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Methamphetamine: The Immediate Effects

The immediate effects of taking methamphetamine and, in particular, crystal meth include:

  • An intense sensation of euphoria this can last for 30 minutes or longer
  • Feeling awake and alert
  • Feeling extremely confident in oneself
  • Feeling motivated to accomplish goals and tasks
  • Experiencing a sense of an improved intellect and problem-solving abilities

The immediate effects of using meth make this a very attractive drug for recreational substance abusers. Theyre often just curious about the meth high theyve heard so much about, wondering what all the fuss is about, and how it will feel just the once. However, once these recreational users know how it feels, theyre likely to continue to experiment.

The Effects Of Meth On Weight

  • As a powerful stimulant, meth functions as an appetite suppressant, and it has historically been used as a diet pill. However, meth is far from just a harmless diet aid.
  • Meth users experience a severe loss of appetite and often neglect to eat regularly, potentially going days without food. Because meth also speeds up the bodys metabolism, this can lead to rapid weight loss so severe that meth users may take on an emaciated appearance.

How Much Does Crystal Methamphetamine Typically Cost

The prices of crystal meth fluctuate wildly based on location, supply, and demand. A gram in one state can cost the same as a 3 and a half grams or more in another, with the least expensive crystal meth being found in places of high supply on the East Coast, the West Coast, and close to the southern border. The most expensive crystal meth is typically found in the Midwest region of the United States. Like all drugs, its price increases sharply as the quantities purchased decrease. The discounts given for buying larger quantities are usually more significant with crystal methamphetamine than with other illicit drugs. A quarter gram retails as low as $10 and as high as $40 a gram, approximately $30$100, while 1.75 gram is $60$130. An 8th of one ounce or 3.5 grams is in the $90-$250 range. A quarter of an ounce or 7 grams is around $150-$300, while a full ounce or 28.3 grams can cost anywhere from $200-$900.

How People Smoke Meth

Most people smoke crystal meth or ice out of specialized glass pipes. They also use a variety of homemade contraptions, such as pen cases, aluminum foil and light bulbs.

Smoking meth usually leaves brown or black residue on the pipe or makeshift pipe. Dirty aluminum foil, tubes, pipes or other contraptions can be .

When people smoke meth, they usually dont hold the meth vapors in their lungs for a long time. Theyre often aware of the damage that meth can do to their lungs.

Few people smoke meth one time per session. Most people who use the drug smoke it every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the high from fading. The effects of meth can last between six and 12 hours, but the initial high or rush from the drug lasts for less than 30 minutes.

Some people smoke meth continuously for multiple days. Repeatedly smoking meth drains the brain of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects mood and happiness. When people smoke the drug for multiple days, they lose the ability to get high because their dopamine levels drop so low.

These binges change the way the brain operates. The organ reprograms itself to crave meth so it can achieve the same feelings of happiness. The more often a person smokes meth, the more addicted theyll become to the drug.

Medical Disclaimer: 

The Effects Of Meth On The Brain And Body

What does Crystal Meth do to your brain?

Methamphetamine abuse can lead to long-term physical and psychological problems, including addiction, brain damage, mental illness, overdose, and serious infection.

Methamphetamine abuse is becoming increasingly more common across the United States.

Meth can be injected, smoked, , or swallowed, all of which can harm a persons mind and body and lead to addiction.

People who abuse meth on a chronic basis and/or over long periods of time may develop serious mental and physical health problems, some of which may be permanent or deadly.

All forms of meth, including the illegal versions and prescription methamphetamine can cause a range of side effects and health problems.

Illegal forms of meth are far more potent than their prescription counterpart, but despite this, Desoxyn can be abused in a way that leads to physical and mental harm and addiction as well.

Continuing to abuse this powerful stimulant drug despite the physical or mental damage its causing can be a major sign of meth addiction. When meth abuse becomes compulsive, a person will likely spend more energy finding and using the drug than taking care of themselves.

Enrolling in a comprehensive methamphetamine drug rehab program can help to break this destructive cycle, so that a person can regain sobriety and better mental and physical health.

Some Surprising Effects Of Crystal Meth

Due to its highly addictive nature, the street drug crystal meth has become a threat to the health of some people at risk for or who have HIV. Before delving into research on recovering from crystal meth, we first provide some background about the effects of this drug, some of which may be surprising.

The Effects Of Meth On The Heart

  • Meths stimulant effects can substantially raise users heart rates, and over time, excessive and chronic use of meth can produce heart palpitations. This alarming symptom is typically experienced as a powerful pounding feeling in the chest or neck.
  • Meth use can also lead to the development of an arrhythmia, also known as an irregular heartbeat. These can feel like a skipped heartbeat, and if the arrhythmia becomes severe, it can lead to lightheadedness, collapse, or even cardiac arrest.
  • Overuse of meth can raise blood pressure as well, and over time, chronic high blood pressure can damage arteries, causing them to harden and block blood flow to various organs. The symptoms can be silent as the damage occurs and meth users may not be aware of the harm to their bodies until its too late.

Related Questions Answered On Yanswers

after using meth does your brain recover from the brain damage?
Q: My ex boyfriend has been on meth for about 4 years and looks absolutely terrible, but whats worse is Im sure he has some brain damage due to the amount he has used. I am worried that he will never recover even if he stops using. Do you think his brain can recover from Meth use. I will never see him again romanticly but would like to know if he will ever be the way he used to be before all the drugs? Please help
A: I heard once damage is dealt within the brain, it cannot go back to normal Whats done is done. The brain and heart are the only two organs in t he body that do not repair themselves.I could be wrong.I hope I helped
does smoking crystal meth make your brain bleed?
A: Generally speaking no. The high is caused because the drug increases level of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Perhaps with an acute overdose the brain would bleed. Im not sure. It would be a very serious adverse reaction, if not fatal overdose.

Effects On The Central Nervous System

The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. It serves as the major relay station for the body and is involved in the actions, regulation, and maintenance of nearly every bodily function. Research looking at the effects of methamphetamine focus primarily on the effects that occur in the brain; however, some of these effects can also be expected to generalize to neurons located in the spinal cord. The nerves located in the CNS are referred to as neurons, whereas the nerves outside the CNS are simply referred to as nerves.

There is a vast body of research investigating the effects of meth use and abuse. Information taken from research articles in the journals Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, Biological Psychiatry, General Physiology and Biophysiology, and PloS One indicates that there are a number of damaging effects associated with chronic use of methamphetamine.

How To Make Healthier Choices About Methamphetamine

Some of the risks of using methamphetamine are related to how we use it. For example, smoking or injecting the drug can lead to infection and transmission of disease if we share needles or pipes. The following are some other useful guidelines to follow.

Lowering the risks
  • If smoking, wash your hands, start with a small amount, use a shatterproof pyrex pipe and your own mouthpiece, inhale slowly and exhale immediately.

  • If injecting, wash your hands, rotate your injection site but avoid the neck, clean the injection site, use clean needles and never share them.

Not too much. Managing the amount we use in a given period can help to decrease risky behaviours.

Tip: Buy less so you use less, and set a limit to how much you will use at one time.

Not too often. Limiting how often we use helps reduce harms to ourselves and others over time.

Tip: Reflect on your pattern of use and identify the situations in which you are likely to use. And then try to break the pattern by consciously planning other activities for those situations.

Only in safe contexts. Trusting and feeling safe in your surroundings can make injecting or smoking easier and therefore safer.

Tip: Use with a buddy. Using alone means no one will be there to help you if you overdose.

Take Our Substance Abuse Self

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

How Meth Affects The Brain

Meth produces potent neurological effects. Over time it can physically alter the way the brain is wired and operates. Meth works through amplifying certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. There is a surge of all three of these neurotransmitters, but dopamine function is amplified much stronger than the others. Amphetamines produce their effects by indirect means. Meth acts by directly stimulating neurotransmitter release. It will also inhibit reuptake. This promotes the release of stored dopamine and causes reverse transport in the receptors themselves.

Through chronic use, crystal meth produces long-term effects on brain structure and function. Certain areas of the brain, such as the striatum and the ventral tegmental area, are affected. This can have far-reaching consequences for higher-level reasoning. As parts of the limbic system, they are sometimes referred to as the reward center of the brain. The limbit system handles feelings of reward, positive reinforcement, motivation, and fine motor control. Meth-induced changes to the limbic system accelerate addictive behavior, reduce empathy for others, and increase risk-taking behavior.

Meth Mites And Crank Bugs

What Does Meth do to Your Brain?

Meth can cause tactile hallucinations, which is when a person feels something that doesnt exist.

Long-term meth abuse may make a person feel as if they have insects crawling on or burrowing beneath their skin. Referred to as crank bugs or meth mites, the scientific term for this is formication.

A Brief Social & Pharmaceutical History Of Methamphetamine

Like all powerful and dangerously addictive substances, methamphetamine was originally developed for medical purposes. Produced by chemically adjusting its parent drug, amphetamine, in Japan, during the early 20th century, methamphetamine was originally used in nasal decongestant medications and bronchial inhalers.

Methamphetamine was used widely during World War II, as a way to keep troops awake and alert. However, thanks to the false sense of euphoria users experience, it was successfully used in high doses when given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. After the war, meth abuse by injection in Japan reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the public.

In the mid-20th century, it was regularly used as a nonmedical stimulant by U.S. college students, truck drivers, and even athletes, and abuse of the drug spread rapidly. In 1970, the U.S. government made it illegal for most uses. In the 1990s, Mexican drug cartels set up huge illegal labs in California, prompting the arrival of smaller private labs in U.S. kitchens and apartments. Thats why one of meths names is stovetop.

How Is Meth Manufactured

Methamphetamine is a purely synthetic chemical, unlike many other powerful drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, that are derived from natural plants. It is commonly manufactured in secret illegal laboratories, either in the U.S. or abroad .

Chemical ingredients from common cold remedy medications, eg. pseudoephedrine, are extracted by a meth cook to produce the drug. However, pure meth or crystal meth is rare, as additional chemicals, such as battery acid, drain cleaner, and antifreeze, are often added to strengthen the substances potency.

These chemicals, however, are potentially explosive, and, because many meth cooks are drug users themselves and likely disoriented, resulting accidents often leave the lab workers either severely burned and disfigured or killed. Additionally, running a meth lab creates a large amount of toxic waste , and those exposed to this waste risk becoming poisoned and sick.

The Difference Between Amphetamine Methamphetamine And Crystal Meth

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. The prescription drug Adderall, commonly used to treat ADHD, is an amphetamine. It has a similar chemical make up to methamphetamines. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine belong to the phenethylamine class of drugs and both are Schedule II controlled substances in the United States. They are not chemically identical, but very similar and they have similar effects on the body, depending on potency and dosage. Additionally, when either drug is purchased illicitly , that level of potency is unclear.  Generally, methamphetamines are significantly more potent drugs than amphetamines.

Rob Bovet from the Oregon Narcotics enforcement Association said in a PBS interview that from a chemical perspective, methamphetamine is amphetamine with a methyl groupbut its pretty much like high-octane vs. low octane gas with methamphetamine being the high-octane version.

However, crystal meth is the most potent drug of the three. It is a crystalline form of methamphetamine. It has no approved pharmaceutical equivalent and is developed from over-the-counter ingredients like Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

Methamphetamine Addiction: The Damage & The Destruction

Youve seen the photos shown previously, so you have a fair idea of the level of damage and destruction that meth addiction can do to a user. However, sadly, a dramatic change of facial appearance is literally just the tip of the iceberg. Its life-changing effects are below the waterline, buried internally, both physically and mentally.

Addiction, medically described as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder, is characterized by both compulsive drug-seeking and use, and accompanied by functional and molecular changes in the brain. As the users level of tolerance rises from repeated use, they need to take higher doses of the meth, take it more frequently, and change the manner of how they take it, just to attempt to feel the same as when they experienced their first rush.

Iii Brain Temperature Responses To Meth Are Dose

Our studies revealed that METH induces dose-dependent temperature increases, which were generally correlative in different brain sites , temporal muscle, and body core. At the lowest dose , the increase had the smallest amplitude and duration and was progressively larger and more prolonged at moderate and high doses. At the latter dose , brain hyperthermia even in standard ambient temperatures , reached clearly pathological levels . This temperature increase generally correlated with locomotor hyperactivity, which was evident and strong at 1 mg/kg and greatly progressed at higher doses. Although drug-induced temperature changes were generally correlative in brain structures, muscle, and body core, each point has its own temperature. Within the brain, temperatures are distributed according to a dorso-ventral gradient and for ventrally located structures , they are ~1°C higher than in temporal muscle and about the same as in the body core. Skin has the lowest temperature, about 1°C less than in the muscle and ~2°C less than in ventral brain structures .

Effects of methamphetamine on brain and muscle temperatures in rats in three conditions . Graphs represent absolute and relative temperature changes as well as brain-muscle differentials. Filled symbols mark values significantly different from baseline.

Crystal Meth & Stomach And Digestive Issues: How Meth Damages The Stomach

The toxins found in meth can foundationally alter your bodys functionality and overall digestive health. Since meth is a lethal poison, the body will instinctively try to eliminate the substance from your system as quickly as possible. 

This often results in meth stomach pain, diarrhea and other digestive issues. In addition, meth is known to have a dampening effect on your appetite, causing disruption to your normal digestion process and stalling the manner in which your body processes food when you begin eating again. 

Other known stomach and intestinal issues caused by meth use include:

  • Intestinal ischemia 

This refers to the condition where your blood vessels become constricted to the point that the intestines stop receiving enough oxygen, and their ability to properly function is compromised. 

This can cause diarrhea, intestinal cramping and even result in your digestion slowing down or even stopping completely. This can lead to reduced nutrient absorption, as the normal digestive functions of your gut are disrupted.3

  • Increased risk of developing blood clots 

Recent studies have indicated that consistently using meth can contribute to intestinal issues by blocking blood flow, resulting in necrosis and the presence of ulcers and perforations in the stomach and intestines. 

This can also lead to an increased potential for the development of gangrene in the gastrointestinal system, which can leave you struggling with long-term stomach pain and serious digestive issues.3

How Addictive Is Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal meth is a highly addictive substance. Depending on the psychological and biological profile of the first-time user, psychological addiction to methamphetamine can develop very quickly, sometimes within several uses or faster. The use of crystal meth is characterized by the powerful rush the user experiences right after taking it that is quickly followed by an intense craving for immediate additional use. This begins a rush-use more cycle which often leads to binge use behavior. Continued use of crystal meth can lead to a tolerance for the drug fairly quickly, requiring stronger and stronger doses to get the same high. Prolonged use is known to create a very strong psychological dependency. Due to intense cravings, crystal meth users frequently resort to criminal activity in order to a finance their addiction.

Methamphetamine Abuse And Depression

What are the Withdrawal Effects of Methamphetamine?

When a persons natural levels of dopamine are exhausted from meth abuse, they may develop an inability to experience pleasure from their life, a state referred to as anhedonia. When a person cant get pleasure naturally, they may develop depression.

As methamphetamine changes a persons brain chemistry, a pseudodepressive state that shares many symptoms with major depression may occur. Symptoms could include anhedonia, fatigue, a lack of motivation, and low mood.

Further, people who are dependent on meth and regularly take high doses of the drug may experience depression from methamphetamine withdrawal.

Instant Effects Of Meth

Crystal meth is a potent central nervous system stimulant that can lead to addiction. It reaches the brain and signals it to produce large amounts of dopamine, the happy chemical. This produces a rush or a feeling of high that methamphetamine users crave.

Recreational use of methamphetamine is considered abuse and can be legally prosecuted.

The Short-Term Effects Of Meth Are:

  • Euphoria or feelings of intense pleasure
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased risk of Parkinsons disease
  • Chronic apathy
  • Anhedonia

Some psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects of meth abuse hinder the users ability to function effectively as a responsible member of society, form and sustain healthy relationships, perform at the workplace, and hold on to jobs. , the variation of the drug in the Philippines, has shown even more serious side effects.

Damage To The Brain And The Mind Commonly Experienced By A Methamphetamine Abuser

The brain is constructed to be tough and resilient but it is no match for the toxicity and stress of meth abuse. Changes occur in a meth users brain that may take years to heal if they ever come all the way back. Anyone who is going to use this drug needs to understand their risks for permanent injury to body or mind.

Treating Crystal Meth Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with crystal meth addiction, The Recovery Village is willing and ready to help on your road to recovery. Together with our team of trained medical professionals, you can gain the tools needed to help overcome your addiction and live a healthier, safer life. Dont wait another day to start your journey.

    Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

    Brain Damage: How Meth Disrupts & Destroys Brain Function

    Meth withdrawal occurs when a chronic user stops taking the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal include: 

    • Depression

    Long-term users experiencing withdrawal may also have psychotic symptoms, such as:

    • Paranoia
    • Visual and auditory hallucinations, and
    • Delusions for example, the bugs crawling under their skin

    Recurring Psychosis

    Psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months, and even years, after a person has stopped using meth, and high levels of stress have been shown to precipitate a recurrence of their meth-related psychosis.

    • Photo left: Healthy person
    • Middle photo: Meth user after 1 month of abstinence
    • Photo right: Meth user after 14 months of abstinence

    Are You A Meth Addict

    If youre currently using this drug, you may be wondering how you can tell if youre an addict. There are several signs you can look for in yourself, and they are both physical and psychological.

    Keep in mind that addicts tend to prefer to stay in denial of addictions. That means that you may need to ask someone else to give you their opinion.

    Have you noticed any of the signs of meth addiction:

    • Problems getting to sleep
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Frequent headaches

    If you have noticed any of these, you may already be a methamphetamines addict. However, its possible that even after looking over this list, youre still not sure. You may want to consider taking a meth addiction quiz like this one. It will dig a little deeper into your drug use patterns and history. Once youre finished, youll know if youre an addict or not.

    The Effects Of Meth On The Liver And Gastrointestinal System

    • Methamphetamine abusers sometimes use needles to inject the drug, and they may also share needles with other users due to the expense and difficulty of obtaining new needles each time they use meth.
    • The practice of needle sharing can easily spread blood-borne diseases from one user to another, and hepatitis B and C are two commonly transmitted conditions.
    • Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, can cause progressive damage over time and may lead to jaundice, cirrhosis, bleeding, and nervous system damage.
    • The blood vessel constriction caused by methamphetamine use can cut off blood flow to the bowel, potentially leading to the death of bowel tissue. This can cause perforation of the intestinal wall and peritonitis, potentially fatal infection of the abdominal cavity that can progress to septic shock.

    The Deadly Effects Of Meth

    The short-term and long-term impact of the individual

    When taken, meth and crystal meth create a false sense of well-being and energy, and so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. Thus, drug users can experience a severe crash or physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear off.

    Because continued use of the drug decreases natural feelings of hunger, users can experience extreme weight loss. Negative effects can also include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability.

    Other serious effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, use can cause convulsions that lead to death.

    Long-range damage

    In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure; damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage.

    Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.< p>

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