Methamphetamine, or meth, is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that has a very high potential for abuse. It produces a temporary, addictive euphoria, followed by a “crash” and severe depression. If you know someone who might have a substance abuse problem, encourage him or her to seek addiction treatment. The detrimental physical effects of meth are quite pronounced and can be life-threatening.
Damage to the Brain
When a substance abuser initially takes meth, he feels a rush of euphoria as the brain releases a large amount of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that affects the brain’s “pleasure” centers. With continued substance abuse, the dopamine receptors are destroyed. A person who is chemically dependent on meth is no longer able to feel pleasure. The damage to cognitive function can be permanent, and users might also display psychotic behavior, such as hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, paranoia, and aggression.
Inhibition of the Circulatory System
Those who are chemically dependent on meth have weakened circulatory systems. The drug constricts the blood vessels, causing tissue damage and delaying the healing process. It’s common for meth users to have multiple skin sores that refuse to heal and dull skin that adds years to their appearance.
Suppression of Oral Hygiene
The oral effects of meth addiction are notorious; people with significant tooth decay and tooth loss are sometimes referred to as having “meth mouth.”Tooth decay occurs because the drug inhibits the production of saliva, which encourages cavity development. Furthermore, meth users typically grind their teeth until they become stumps. They may also have a poor oral hygiene routine, which is further exacerbated by binging on sugary snacks.
If you or someone you know is addicted to meth, get help right away. The caring staff at Aurora Behavioral Health Care in Las Encinas Hospital will develop a personalized treatment plan for overcoming drug addiction. Los Angeles-area residents are encouraged to call our substance abuse treatment program at (888) 348-2165 for more information.