Addiction A-Z

Methamphetamine

methamphetamineMethamphetamine (also called meth) is a highly addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It was developed from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was originally used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Methamphetamine is currently classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high addiction potential. The narcotic has limited medical uses today and is only prescribed in low doses for disorders such as narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder. Physical effects of the drug include anorexia, hyperactivity, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, diarrhea, blurred vision, muscle twitches, insomnia, tremors, dry or itchy skin, acne, numbness and constipation.

Chronic use or high dosages can result in convulsions, heart attack, stroke and death. Besides euphoria, psychological effects can include anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, energy, confidence, excitation, sociability and irritability, aggression, psychosomatic disorders, paranoia, excessive feelings of power and superiority and repetitive and/or obsessive behaviors. With chronic use or high doses, amphetamine psychosis can occur, which can include delusions and hallucinations. Chronic methamphetamine abuse can lead to addiction as well as significant changes in how the brain operates. Studies have shown that chronic users have reduced motor skills, impaired verbal learning, and paranoid or psychotic behavior. Other long-term effects include violent behavior, homicidal or suicidal thoughts and extreme weight loss. Contracting and transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C can also be consequences of methamphetamine abuse. High-intensity abuse of meth is called tweaking.

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