- Essay on Health
Methamphetamine also known as crank, ice or shards is an odorless and a bitter tasting white crystalline powder. It dissolves in liquid and can be snorted, injected, smoked or ingested. Some of the substances used to cook meth are battery acid, acetone from nail remover, iodine flakes, hydrochloric acid, anhydrous ammonia from fertilizer, drain cleaner, and ground-up matches (Methamphetamine, 2014). The drug stimulates the central nervous system increasing dopamine release leading to a high level of the chemical in the brain. Dopamine’s responsible for the pleasure brain functions that are related to motivation, rewards, pleasure experience, and motor function. Dopamine production in excess results in pleasure rush followed by a euphoric high that can last up to twelve hours.
In US, more than 26 million people are using methamphetamine. Most of them are teenagers. In the world, methamphetamine is responsible for the death or injury of at least 1.5 million per annum. The drugs destroy the lives of both the user and those around him/her. Government agencies, as well as the law enforcers, are implementing tough rules to eliminate the vice and to save lives as well. There are dangerous consequences of using the drug to an addict. Some of the effects of using methamphetamine are anxiety, irritability and increased physical activity, irregular, and increased heart rate (Editor, n.d.).
Methamphetamine can be associated with the long-term structural and biochemical effects of the brain. It significantly alters how the brain works. Excessive dopamine production results in brain neuropathological changes and has a neurotoxic effect on the brain cells that store serotonin and dopamine (Methamphetamine, 2014). These changes include a decrease in the dopamine transports’ levels and a decrease in the serotonin transporters density in several parts of the brain. According to various studies, daily methamphetamine use results in increased cell deaths in the brain. Therefore, there’d be an undesirable effect on prefrontal cortex functioning (Reduct, 2006).
Changes in the dopamine system activity are associated with reduced impaired verbal learning as well as motor skills. Studies have also indicated that chronic methamphetamine use results in severe functional and structural changes in those brain areas associated with memory and emotion. These neurological changes have resulted in an increase of the deficits in execution memory (Editor, n.d.). They are manifested in the increased impulsivity, reduced ability of solving problems and risky decision-making. More dysfunctions include poor executive control, apathy, and poor self-control. With time, methamphetamine destroys the dopamine brain receptors thus reducing the ability to feel pleasure.
Methamphetamine is prevalence in the society due to a good number of reasons. One of the reasons for meth being prevalence is It is highly addictive. Meth is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Twenty-four hours after its use, it brings depression waves, sadness, and anger. Unsurprisingly, a common cure for this is more meth. According to DASIS (Drug and Alcohol Services Information System) the treatment percentage admissions for meth users has risen fro 4% in 1995 to 9% in 2005. With ingredients being readily available, producing meth isn’t expensive hence increasing its prevalence. Additionally, in a home-made laboratory, the drug can be fabricated (Buxton, 2008).
A good number of individuals can get injured severely, or in very extreme cases, lose their lives in a meth lab. Almost all the ingredients used for making meth are very toxic, and they are very flammable. One of the primary ingredients is very flammable and with just one little slip-up, can result in a horrible fire (Reduct, 2006). Anybody cooking the meth or people around the actual lab can get severely injured severely as a result. There are fires in various places due to these meth labs constantly exploding.
Another main meth attraction that might tempt an individual into using the drug, especially women, is the fact that meth drastically decreases appetite. This will cause the individual to lose weight with little to no problems in doing so. According to a survey, the number of women using meth has been growing (Editor, n.d.). The common woman user description is usually a low self-esteem and a very poor body image. Another reason for a woman to be more prone to using meth would be that they are in an abusive relationship and as a result they would need something to turn to while they try to escape the pain. In a study conducted in 2004, statistics showed that in Montana, 47% of the patients being treated using meth were, in fact, women (Methamphetamine, 2014).
Meth plays a major role in spreading of STIs and HIV. When a person uses meth, they get a huge energy burst. They would feel as though they can do anything they want for as long as they desire (Reduct, 2006). When a person does meth, it also increases the sexual activity of the person. While on Meth, nothing compares to sex. Eventually, there are a lot of people most likely to engage in unprotected sex. Their judgment has been altered a lot, and they won’t be thinking clearly. HIV spreads easily (Buxton, 2008). Once one person in a drug addicts’ group gets it, there is a very good possibility that the rest of them will also get it. The main ways the disease spreads might be from the meth users sharing a needle to inject the drug into their bodies Mostly, meth addicts use the same needle. In case, one person in the group is infected with HIV, he/she can spread it to every other person who would also use that needle.
Another thing that meth can do to an addict is amplifying the sexual activity feeling. In the first few days, using meth can somehow be a form of an aphrodisiac. A good number of meth users confessed that one of the major reasons they really use the drug is because it increases the good feelings a person experiences while engaging in sexual intercourse. Though for these people, unfortunately, this effect doesn’t last very long (Methamphetamine, 2014). Roughly around six months of using meth a person can’t even enjoy sex without being stone, which is another way someone can easily get addicted. Sexual appeal is on of the challenges that have made the fight against meth hard (Editor, n.d.).
The impact of altered brain chemistry is illustrated by various cognitive impairments. One study focused on picture recognition and word and recall at the baseline when study subjects stopped abusing meth and thereafter. After three months to six months after stopping meth usage, word recall and recognition worsened, whereas picture recall and recognition slightly improved (Reduct, 2006). This finding may have communication strategies implications when interacting with recent or current methamphetamine users: For effective communication, a more pictorial approach would be suitable. Chronically, the drug causes weakness, tremor, and dry mouth. Loss of weight is often as a result of anorexia and diarrhea. The addicts who inhale and snort the drug are at increased risk for respiratory infections. Chronic psychological effects include decreased concentration, confusion, panic reactions, and irritability (Buxton, 2008).
Meth is a very addictive drug. It makes the users crave for more immediately after the end of the last dose. It makes it a challenge for the addicts to quit on their own. Additionally, if they attempt to quit, they frequently experience a very intense and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, like anxiety, sleeping, intense cravings, depression, and excessive eating. It is, however, possible for pregnant women to treat their addiction successfully, with the best results for the infants occurring when treatment initiates in the first three months (Reduct, 2006). Meth addiction treatment centers could assist pregnant women to detoxify safely with the medications use that can get rid of withdrawal symptoms. It will be followed by a psychiatric and an obstetric evaluation and care. Additionally, a lot of treatment programs offer personal and group counseling sessions to teach young mothers how to cope with stress without relapsing (Editor, n.d.).
Eliciting awareness as to the real magnitude of the meth abuse challenges, in combination with the prevention methods, is the main way of addressing the behavioral and developmental needs of the children exposed to meth at the prenatal stage. It would require proactive education on the problem severity by health professional and fostering skills to recognize meth users. These changes can permit immediate intervention as well as possible unborn child protection (Methamphetamine, 2014). Additionally, there are more resources that have been put in place to raise the issue awareness, encourage prevention, and offer possible treatment options.
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