Kim felt dizzy; she was confused and her speech was severely slurred. Her sister thought she’d had a stroke. Kim couldn’t focus, had no energy and seemed very sleepy. It’s no surprise her sister was worried, but Kim certainly wasn’t suffering from a stroke. Her brain had suffered some damage alright, but it was due to the gram of meth she’d used that day.
Julie noticed Matt wasn’t sleeping much anymore. When she asked him about it, he said he was suffering from insomnia. She also noticed he hadn’t been eating much. When she asked him about that, Matt said food just didn’t seem very appealing lately. When Matt had two panic attacks within one week, Julie knew something was seriously wrong. As she put the symptoms together, she realized Matt was using meth. It was affecting him psychologically and would continue causing damage if he didn’t stop using.
Bethany thought her daughter seemed a bit more irritable than usual. She chalked it up to adolescent hormones until one night, Kristin threw a book through their dining room window and started screaming about insects crawling all over her. She started scratching at her arms until she was covered in bloody claw marks. Bethany was forced to restrain her daughter and called 911. At the hospital, Bethany learned Kristin had been using meth for months. It was the cause of her daughter’s aggressive behavior, irritability and hallucinations.
These three examples are just a tiny fraction of the estimated 1.2 million people likely to suffer similar damaging effects from meth this year. The drug’s use is pretty prevalent – and so are its side effects.
Meth creates the euphoric high that its users seek by forcing the release of two brain chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. These important chemicals regulate your mood, sleep patterns, body weight, focus, emotions and more.
When meth interferes with this regulation, your brain doesn’t always bounce back. The drug destroys brain cells that contain these chemicals, and over time, serious damage is done. In fact, meth causes more damage to your brain than heroin or cocaine.
The permanent damage caused by meth weakens your ability to get excited and happy, reduces your ability to learn and memorize and basically trashes your reasoning skills.
With a combination of physical and psychological affects, the drug unleashes a host of dangerous effects on the brain, including the following:
- Aggressive behavior
- Decreased appetite
- Increased alertness
- Slurred speech
- Panic attacks
- Damaged motor skills
- Difficulty learning
- Lack of rational thinking
What’s on Your Mind?
Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs out there. Its psychotic effects can last for years, even after you’ve stopped using. It makes you wonder – if Kim, Matt and Kristin had known the way things would turn out, would they have even bothered taking the risk to get high?
Additional Reading: You’ve Gotta Dig In: Brain Health and Drug Abuse
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