Similar to amphetamine, methamphetamine is a synthetic drug with more rapid and lasting effects than amphetamine, used illegally as a stimulant and as a prescription drug to treat narcolepsy and maintain blood pressure. Both drugs are stimulants of the central nervous system, however, amphetamine is chemically phenylethylamine, while methamphetamine is referred to as N-methylamphetamine. Because meth is generally inexpensive, it is commonly used by many addicts.

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.

People who inject methamphetamine are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids that can remain on drug equipment. Methamphetamine use can also alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases risk for infection.

Commonly Known As: Crystal meth, meth.

Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Meth acts as an intense stimulant to the central nervous system causing the brain to release excessive amounts of dopamine which cause pleasure. However, with chronic use and over the long-term, meth wreaks havoc on the body’s internal organs causing:
  • Increased body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Potential brain hemorrhage
  • Convulsions during overdose
  • Gum disease and tooth decay

Long-term effects of Meth

Addiction over the long-term can also cause:
  • Lung collapse
  • Extreme, rapid weight loss
  • Sleep deprivation and insomnia
  • Damage to internal organs such as the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys
  • Harm to nasal passages (when the drug is snorted)
  • Skin conditions such as infections, abscesses, and sores
  • Malnourishment

SV Recovery has a successful track record in helping addicts, alcoholics and those with co-occurring disorders achieve a clean and sober life. We look forward to helping you and your family members.