By, Brandi Hodge

What is methamphetamine? Methamphetamine (meth for short) is a drug that is man made using ingredients such as, ether (which is starting fluid),paint thinner, and iodine to just name a few. Other known names for this drug are, crystal, ice speed, crank, dope, and power to just name a few. Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant which is very addictive, releasing the feel good neurotransmitter, Dopamine. Methamphetamine short-circuits a person's survival system by artificially stimulating the reward center, or pleasure areas in the brain, causing a euphoric and energetic feeling. It releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. This leads to increased confidence in meth and less confidence in the normal rewards of life. This happens on a physical level at first, then it affects the user psychologically. The result is decreased interest in other aspects of life while reliance and interest in meth increases. Methamphetamines robs the body of calcium ,which explains why meth users eventually will lose teeth or need dental care done, and appears to have a neurotoxin effect, damaging brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin, another neurotransmitter.

What is meth continued This leads to increased confidence in meth and less confidence in the normal rewards of life. This happens on a physical level at first, then it affects the user psychologically. The result is decreased interest in other aspects of life while reliance and interest in meth increases. In one study, laboratory animals pressed levers to release methamphetamine into their blood stream rather than eat, mate, or satisfy other natural drives. The animals died of starvation while giving themselves methamphetamine even though food was available.


What the drug is doing to the user The individual who is using methamphetamine frequently displays several clinical symptoms, many of which are directly related to the stimulant effects of the drug. Methamphetamine use causes dilated pupils, dry mouth, elevated blood pressure, tachycardia (high heart rate), decreased oxygen delivery to the extremities resulting in poor circulation (which contributes to skin lesions), dental decay, increased temperature of major organ systems, decreased appetite (therefore, weight loss), and increased libido. Muscle, kidney and liver damage can occur as a result of elevated body temperature and there is also an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes because of vessel constriction. The desired effects of methamphetamine use are directly related to the dopamine and serotonin released. Dopamine release causes euphoria (feeling of well-being), excitation, intensification of emotions, unusual motor movements, elevation of self-esteem, increased alertness and aggression, decreased appetite and elevation of libido (sexual appetite). Elevated levels of serotonin result in increased feelings of empathy and closeness as well as a generalized state of well being. The undesired effects of serotonin include bruxism, bizarre mood changes, psychotic behavior and aggressiveness.

Here is a break down of the effects meth has on the body.


This is a scan that shows a normal 28 year old females brain (right image)

This is a scan of a 28 year old female whom has used methamphetamines for 8 years (left image)

The neurotransmitters that are effected by using methamphetamines
Dopamine: a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses. The central nervous system complications may include neuron loss and damage, seizures, chronic psychosis, movement disorders, strokes, and spontaneous brain bleeds Serotonin: a neurotransmitter that plays a part in the regulation of mood, sleep, learning and constriction of blood vessels . A low level of serotonin in the space between nerve cells is connected to depression. Serotonin is created in the body from the amino acids tryptophan. Serotonin may also have a role in appetite, vomiting, migraine and anxiety. Norepinephrine: a neurotransmitter, released by adrenergic nerve terminals in the autonomic and possibly the central nervous system, that can cause constricting blood vessels, raised blood pressure, and dilated bronchi.


These are the areas that methamphetamine effects the brain.

Statistics of the use and consequences of this drug
‡ More than 12 million Americans have tried methamphetamine and 1.5 million are regular users. ‡ Meth users In Spokane committed 70 percent of the city's burglaries, 80 percent of vehicle thefts and 95 percent of credit card fraud . ‡ Around 20 percent of ALL Snohomish County jail inmates in 2003 tested positive for methamphetamines when they were booked. ‡ In the last decade, there was a 62 percent increase in foster care population due to parents being meth addicts ‡ For every pound of meth produced, five to seven pounds of toxic waste are produced! ‡ Costs of cleaning up JUST ONE meth site can reach $150,000. which in most cases the tax payers pay for.


WORK CITED Rendell, Peter, Magdalena Mazur, and Julie Henry. "Prospective memory impairment in former users of methamphetamine." Psychopharmacology 203.3 (2009): 609-616. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Feb. 2011.

Marcello Solinas, et al. "Environmental Enrichment does not Reduce the Rewarding and Neurotoxic Effects of Methamphetamine." Neurotoxicity Research 19.1 (2011): 172-182. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. Rogers, J., S. Santis, and R. See. "Extended methamphetamine self-administration enhances reinstatement of drug seeking and impairs novel object recognition in rats." Psychopharmacology 199.4 (2008): 615-624. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Feb. 2011 Unchao Tong, et al. "Brain serotonin transporter in human methamphetamine users." Psychopharmacology 202.4 (2009): 649-661. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. Harvard Mental Health Letter vol. 22 number 2. august 2005 Michael Miller February 18, 2011


WORK CITED CONTINUED Harvard Mental Health Letter volume25 number 9. march 2009. Orson FM T he Craving Brain Ronald A. Ruden Harper Collins Publisher. 1997 Pan Chun-Hong, et al. "Deterioration of intelligence in methamphetamine-induced psychosis: Comparison with alcohol dependence on WAIS-III." Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences 64.1 (2010): 49. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2011

Websites with more information about methamphetamines


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