Crystal Meth Psychological Side Effects

 

Overview

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful brain stimulant with tremendous potential for addiction and abuse. In its crystal form meth is typically smoked but can also be snorted or dissolved and injected. Crystal meth can have a number of dangerously negative effects on the body and brain. The psychological tolls of crystal meth are devastating to meth users, their friends and family, and the community as a whole.

Addiction

The initial use of crystal methamphetamine brings about feelings of euphoria. These feelings come about as meth works on specific dopamine nerve centers in the brain to give the body and brain the illusion of having unlimited energy, explains the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Any drug that activates dopamine neurotransmitter systems will have tremendous potential for addiction rooted in the biology of the brain. As a result of addiction, meth users will have difficulties controlling doses of meth used. Users may continue to self-administer meth until they run out of the drug. At this point the user may have been awake for several days and is likely to be in an irritable and potentially violent state.

Learning Difficulties

In addition to bringing about feelings of pleasure and euphoria, the neurotransmitter dopamine also plays an important role in learning and memory. Long-term use of meth can destroy the balance of the dopamine system and lower levels of dopamine in the brain. As a result of dopamine loss, chronic meth users may have problems learning new tasks, particularly new motor skills. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that meth users may also have problems with verbal memory.

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