Methamphetamine is a very strong stimulant that affects the central nervous system and is similar to an amphetamine in make-up and effect. Methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor but has very limited medical use. Most Methamphetamine abuse comes from what is bought from the street which comes from foreign or domestic labs or illegal laboratories which are dangerous to not only those making it but their neighbors and the environment.
Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that is easily dissolvable in water or alcohol. Methamphetamine can be taken orally, intranasally, intravenously, or can be inhaled through smoking. Other names for Methamphetamine are meth, ice, clouds, crystal, crystal meth, glass, N-methylamphetamine, methylamphetamine, and desoxyephedrine.
Users of Methamphetamine report feeling bursts of energy, loss of appetite, insomnia, extreme weight loss, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and hyperthermia. Chronic users are said to appear pale and thin; act skittish and anxious. Long term abuse of methamphetamines has many negative effects on health, such as dental problems, mood disturbances, violent behavior, confusion, and insomnia. These chronic users can also acquire many different psychotic features which include paranoia, visual hallucinations as well as auditory hallucinations, and delusions where they feel like insects are crawling under their skin. Users end up picking their skin off trying to get rid of the bugs.
Withdrawal for a methamphetamine addict is different than that of an opiate addict; there is no shaking, sweating or throwing up. This type of withdrawal is very mental. Since Methamphetamine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, the levels of dopamine in the brain drastically go down. The long term use of methamphetamine has also caused depletion in the number of dopamine receptors available to activate dopamine. This depletion causes users to lack feelings of pleasure when they first get sober.