Meth addiction is the common or slang term for methamphetamine addiction. Meth is a member of the amphetamine class of drugs which are central nervous system stimulants. Meth has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Meth has limited clinical use though, prescribed as Desoxyn at recommended doses, it has some benefits in weight loss as well as treating children over 6 years old diagnosed with ADHD. As an obesity medication, meth can only be given over short term at low doses to guard against meth addiction. Currently the main use is recreational which is illegal throughout the world.
Those using meth to feed a meth addiction will experience the central nervous system stimulation. Meth acts to prolong the effects of dopamine and adrenaline in the central nervous system. Furthermore, it rapidly stimulates the body’s natural reward pathway, the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway releasing more excitatory neurotransmitters. This action produces a euphoric effect lasting three to five hours. Other physical symptoms of a meth addiction are hypertension along with mild respiratory stimulation. Long term meth addiction will lead to weight loss because meth is known as an “anorectic” or “anorexigenic” drug. Scientists are unsure whether the weight loss is due primarily to appetite suppression.
Side effects of meth use and meth addiction is that when high, users may experience transient obsessive compulsive behaviour with normally trivial tasks. Mild withdrawal symptoms occur after short periods of use. Withdrawal symptoms caused by meth addiction are more severe and characterized by extensive periods of sleep, depression-like symptoms, drug cravings, and anxiety.
Meth addiction arises from the drugs effect on the reward system in the brain rather than the physical reactions. Since meth excites the body’s natural fight or flight response users must take precautions not to become over stimulated. If this happens either via drinking, riding roller coasters, getting doused with water, weight lifting or heavy exercise, a meth addiction will trigger hypertension, rapid heart rate, anxiety and if severe enough, death.