What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (also known as Crank, Crystal, Ice, Meth, Speed, Chalk) is a stimulant drug usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass crystal fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
How Do People Use Methamphetamine?
People can take methamphetamine by inhaling, smoking, swallowing, snorting or injecting. In some cases, people take methamphetamine in a form of binge also known as a “run,” often giving up sleep and nutrition while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.
How Does Crystal Meth Affect the Brain?
Methamphetamine intensifies the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, pleasure, and reward (pleasure from natural behaviors such as eating). The drug’s ability to release high levels of dopamine rapidly in reward areas of the brain produces the “high” (euphoria) or “rush” that many people experience.
Long-Term Methamphetamine Use
Long-term use of meth has many negative consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (also known as tweaker mouth), intense itching (leading to skin sores from scratching), anxiety, confusion, sleeping problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, meth psychosis (the presence of prominent hallucinations and delusions), methamphetamine overdose can lead to stroke, heart attack, or organ problems-such as kidney failure (caused by overheating). These conditions can result in death.
Methamphetamine is Highly Addictive
When people stop taking it, withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, intense drug cravings, among many others.
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