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Meth Addiction and Meth Addiction Symptoms

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. The drug is easily made in small clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients. These factors combine to make meth addiction widespread.

Meth addiction causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. Methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that at comparable doses, much higher levels of methamphetamine get into the brain, making it a more potent stimulant drug. It also has longer lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system.

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Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high potential for abuse and is available only through a prescription. It is indicated for the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; but these medical uses are limited, and the doses are much lower than those typically abused.

Methamphetamine comes in many forms and can be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested. The preferred method of methamphetamine abuse varies by geographical region and has changed over time. Smoking methamphetamine, which leads to very fast uptake of the drug in the brain, has become more common in recent years, amplifying meth addiction potential and the ravishing health consequences.

As with similar stimulants, methamphetamine most often is used in a "binge and crash" pattern. Because the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls significantly Meth addicts try to maintain the high by taking more of the drug. In some cases, abusers indulge in a form of binging known as a "run," foregoing food and sleep while continuing abuse for up to several days.

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Meth addiction symptoms differ depending on how it is taken. Immediately after smoking the drug or injecting it intravenously, the user experiences an intense rush or "flash" that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting or oral ingestion produces euphoria - a high but not an intense rush. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, and oral ingestion produces effects within 15 to 20 minutes

Methamphetamine causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. Even small amounts of methamphetamine can produce euphoria, increased alertness, paranoia, decreased appetite and increased physical activity. Other central nervous system effects include athetosis (writhing jerky, or flailing movements), irritability, extreme nervousness, insomnia, confusion, tremors, anxiety, aggression, incessant talking, hyperthermia, and convulsions. Other Meth addiction symptoms include may include a variety of cardiovascular problems, such as rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Hyperthermia (extreme rise in body temperature as high as 108 degrees) and convulsions sometimes can result in death.

For more information about Methamphetamine, check out our Meth Links page.