Methamphetamine is a variety of the stimulant amphetamine, producing powerful effects on the central nervous system. It initially produces a “flash”, followed by increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. The effects of methamphetamine can last from four to 24 hours, depending on how it is ingested. After the initial “rush, there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to feelings of confusion and aggression.
It is generally acknowledged that long-term methamphetamine abuse produces very strong dependence. When higher doses are administered, tolerance develops, forcing the drug abusers to take ever-increasing doses to reach the same effect. This pattern of abuse can lead to impaired concentration and memory, chronic mental health effects, uncontrollable violent behavior, severe emaciation, skin problems, and loose and/or broken teeth.
Abusers of methamphetamine often follow the “binge and crash” abuse pattern. Because the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine dissipate before the levels of the drug have fallen in the body, binging is required to sustain the pleasurable effects, with the abuser repeatedly consuming the drug over the course of several days. The drug does not produce energy, but permits access to energy reserves in the body. Once those reserves are used up, the body must replenish them, which leads to the “crash”, and the exhausted abuser drops off to sleep for several days. After that, the abuser experiences withdrawal symptoms, and resumes a new period of abuse.
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