Methamphetamine Addiction

From its first use, methamphetamine creates an effect that is conducive to addiction. The euphoric feeling obtained by methamphetamine is long lasting, and most of the early side effects of the drug are desirable. The initial feelings of high energy, tirelessness, excitation and lack of appetite, combined with the pleasurable high that created by methamphetamine make easily understandable the desire to repeat the experience. As a result, addiction occurs in very short order. As early as the first several uses, the user becomes dependent on the drug to offset the lows that take place when the drug wears off. Within those first early uses of methamphetamine, the cycle is already set.

Using to combat the depressed state when the drug wears off, along with the subsequent need for sleep, most early users tell themselves it will only be “one more time” and are quickly using daily to assist them in performing super-human feats of scholastic achievement, easy weight loss, marathon work sessions, and other hours-long accomplishments not ordinarily possible. Along with the added sensations of increased pleasure and the ability to perform at high levels, the so-called benefits of early use are many.

How It Begins

Using to combat the depressed state when the drug wears off, along with the subsequent need for sleep, most early users tell themselves it will only be “one more time” and are quickly using daily to assist them in performing super-human feats of scholastic achievement, easy weight loss, marathon work sessions, and other hours-long accomplishments not ordinarily possible. Along with the added sensations of increased pleasure and the ability to perform at high levels, the so-called benefits of early use are many.

Who Uses Meth?

Students are commonly drawn to meth for its properties of increased alertness and concentration; the eight to 10 hours duration allows them to study and retain information that would normally take days of studying to master. The hyper-alert state enhances creativity and productivity. It wards of sleepiness and exhaustion that ensues from hours of studying and reading needed to excel in academic realms. Methamphetamine is also used widely for weight loss purposes by young women who want to reduce their caloric intake rapidly and lose weight more quickly than is normally possible. While both of these uses seem innocuous enough, in time the drug will grab hold of both students and the weight conscious and take them down the addiction path. It is not long before the consequences begin to pile up.

Why Is Meth So Addictive?

Addiction to methamphetamine is one of the quickest to occur. Due to the early pleasurable experiences most users have, the drug is used repeatedly for a short time and quickly becomes an addiction. Withdrawal, for even a few hours, produces a depressed state that is as unpleasant as the pleasure sensations created by the drug. For those who enjoy the benefits, the withdrawals are impossible to tolerate, making them one of the most likely relapse groups of addicts seen by treatment professionals.

The depressed state of body and mind is not the only reason for relapse. Long-term use will necessitate a long-term period of brain chemistry adjustment that is both uncomfortable and difficult to withstand. While central nervous system regulation takes place, irritability and anxiety are common occurrences. Angry outbursts and psycho-social adjustments to mood disorders caused by meth use/abuse are difficult to navigate without long-term treatment by professionals. At this time, there are no known drugs to offset the depression, agitation, and mood swings that accompany withdrawal from methamphetamine, making relapse into active addiction commonplace and high-risk.

What Happens to an Addict's Brain?

Flooding of dopamine to the brain of the addict from chronic use of methamphetamine creates neurotoxic levels to neurons, which takes many months to regulate and stabilize. Brain damage seen using imaging equipment on long-term abusers of methamphetamine shows as permanent changes made in the areas of the brain that control emotional regulation and memory functions. It is believed that this damage explains the need to continue using the drug long after its pleasurable effects have stopped.

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Addiction to the process of overstimulation of the brain by producing excess amounts of dopamine has many adverse effects. Most of the effects are noticed only after addiction to the drug occurs. While other drugs operate at the level of the pleasure center of the brain, methamphetamine is alone in producing the highly addictive levels of pleasure that earmark it as one of the most highly addictive drugs of abuse popular today.

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