Effects of Crystal Meth
When examining the effects of crystal meth on the body, one finds a variety of different symptoms and problems caused by this drug. You will also see a variety of negative consequences that aren't necessarily due to crystal meth, but are caused by other chemical contaminants that accompany the drug. Since crystal meth is not being produced by companies with strict pharmaceutical standards, but are literally made in bathtubs or even the car trunks, the illicit meth that one buys on the street may have traces of many other toxic chemicals besides methamphetamine molecules. This is one of the reasons why there are so many severe adverse reactions attached to crystal meth use, abuse and addiction.
One of the least understood and appreciated components of alcohol and other drug addiction is the ramifications that drugs have on the vitamin and mineral levels in our bodies. Taking crystal meth and other drugs introduces the body to foreign chemicals that stress the body to eliminate them from the blood stream and re-establish a normal chemical environment that supports normal metabolism. This process of cleansing the body of these poisons requires large amounts of vitamins and minerals. When these nutrients are not available in one's diet or through supplements, the body will take the needed vitamins and minerals from other parts of the body. "Meth-mouth" is an example of the body taking calcium from the teeth and bones to help with the elimination of the drugs from the body, leaving the teeth to decay, but keeping the heart beating.
The drug rehabilitation programs that understand the nutritional basis of addiction and support the addict's rehabilitation with the proper vitamins and minerals show much higher success than programs that ignore this part of the recovery process. Many psychiatrists will interview an addict and report that he has some form of psychopathology because of the chemical imbalance in his brain. After introducing so many poison chemicals into the body, including methamphetamines, logically a chemical imbalance is evident that can lead to psychological problems. Introducing psychiatric medications that further challenge the already disturbed chemical balance doesn't necessarily help the addict's condition. Adding more chemicals to an already unbalanced metabolism further exasperates the body's struggles to regain a metabolic equilibrium.
The human body is extremely resilient and has mechanisms that are designed to rid itself of alien chemicals and sustain normal metabolic functions, however, the stress from repeated daily poisonings can lead to irreparable damage to vital organs, such as the brain. Stabilizing one's nutrition with supplements and ample rest is routinely all that is needed for the body to restore its normal functions.
Most people who take crystal meth and other drugs have a belief that there are chemicals that will enhance their normal functioning and feelings. This idea came from philosophy that there would be "better living through chemistry", which is true in some instances, but the idea of changing feelings and thinking with drugs has led many to finding out the hard way that the body operates best without these chemicals. For every enhancement that seems to come from taking methamphetamines, the downside is hardly worth the temporary "high" that comes from drugs.
Continual use and abuse of methamphetamines makes significant changes from normal brain functions. Research has shown that these alterations in the activity of the dopamine system are associated with reduced motors skills and impaired verbal learning. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates thyroid function and metabolism. Dopamine plays a critical role in the function of the central nervous system and is linked to motivation and rewards.
Altering the normal reward system in the brain with methamphetamines is why this drug is abused. What isn't considered by those that are seeking the emotional effects of meth are the negative side-effects that come from continual use or when one removes this artificial stimulation. It is easy to see why this drug is so addicting with individuals that can't predict the inevitable misery that certainly outweighs its benefits.
Man is continually seeking the goals of being more capable, productive and happier, however, our drug prevention messages need to better communicate the reality that drugs will only give a person that illusion that they are winning in life. The reality of physical and mental cost for trying to achieve these goals though chemicals is well documented to be a loosing proposition.
Many drug abusers have a history of personal losses and a life that hasn't produced the happiness and success that they seek. Many of these crystal meth users recognize the downside of taking these drugs, but the thought of being able to escape their currently unrewarding condition leads them to fanciful thinking that this time will be different and they will be able to get the predictable high without the consequences. Once they have started taking the drug, they want to continue to avoid the "crash" that inevitably will come when they no longer "feed" their addiction. Add to this the physical exhaustion from "tireless" action and sleeplessness and you can easily see why crystal meth is one of the most addicting and dangerous drugs in our society.
If you know someone who is using methamphetamine or other drugs, contact a Narconon drug rehabilitation counselor to see how you can get him or her some help.
- Volkow ND, Chang L, Wang GJ, et al. Association of dopamine transporter reduction with psychomotor impairment in methamphetamine abusers. Am J Psychiatry 158(3):377-382, 2001
- Wisegeek: What is dopamine?