Faces of Meth - Before and After Drugs
Methamphetamine may be sold either as pure dextromethamphetamine or in a racemic mixture. Both are Schedule II controlled substances in the US, and similarly the production, distribution, sale, and possession of methamphetamine is restricted or illegal in many jurisdictions.
In low dosages, methamphetamine can increase alertness, concentration, and energy in fatigued individuals. In higher doses, it can induce mania with accompanying euphoria, feelings of self-esteem and increased libido.Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse and addiction, activating the psychological reward system by triggering a cascading release of dopamine in the brain.
Chronic abuse leads to withdrawal, a result of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity to dopaminergic neurons. Post-withdrawal syndrome can persist beyond the withdrawal period for months, and sometimes up to a year.In addition to psychological harm, physical harm – primarily consisting of cardiovascular damage – may occur with chronic use or acute overdose.
Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, is highly addictive. Abrupt interruption of chronic methamphetamine use results in the withdrawal syndrome in almost 90% of the cases. Methamphetamine-induced hyperstimulation of pleasure pathways can lead to anhedonia months after use has been discontinued. To combat addiction, doctors are beginning to use other forms of stimulants such as dextroamphetamine, the dextrorotatory (right-handed) isomer of the amphetamine molecule, to break the addiction cycle in a method similar to the use of methadone in the treatment of heroin addicts. There are no publicly available drugs comparable to naloxone, which blocks opiate receptors and is therefore used in treating opiate dependence, for use with methamphetamine problems. There are studies indicating that fluoxetine, bupropion and imipramine may reduce craving and improve adherence to treatment. Research has also suggested that modafinil can help addicts quit methamphetamine use, as can Topiramate..
Meth addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, a condition informally known as meth mouth. According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth "is probably caused by a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high-calorie, carbonated beverages and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)". Methamphetamine also has the potential to cause excessive cigarette smoking for users already smoking.
Meth present in a mother's blood passes through the placenta to a fetus, and is also found in her breast milk. Infants born to meth addicted mothers were found to have a significantly smaller gestational age-adjusted head circumference and birth weight measurements. Methamphetamine exposure was also associated with neonatal withdrawal symptoms of agitation, vomiting and tachypnea.
According to studies, men who use meth, cocaine, MDMA, or ketamine, are twice as likely to have unprotected sex than those who do not use such drugs. Methamphetamine use was found to be related to higher frequencies of unprotected sexual intercourse in both HIV-positive and unknown casual partners in the study population. The association between methamphetamine use and unprotected acts were also more pronounced in HIV-positive participants. Methamphetamine allows users of both sexes to engage in prolonged sexual activity, which may cause genital sores and abrasions. Methamphetamine can also cause sores and abrasions in the mouth via bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding), which can turn typically low-risk sex acts, such as oral sex, into high-risk sexual activity. As with the injection of any drug, if a group of users share a common needle, blood-borne diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis, can be transmitted. The level of needle sharing among methamphetamine users is similar to that among other IV drug addicts.
For more before and after pictures of drug addicts, click here.
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