By: Samantha Hansen Current Issues in the Brain ECE/PSYC 275 Winter 2012 (Photo on left is a meth user over several years of use.)
Meth is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. The drug works directly on the brain and spinal cord by interfering with normal neurotransmission. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances naturally produced within nerve cells used to communicate with each other and send messages to influence and regulate our thinking and all other systems throughout the body. (Recovery Connection)
Meth is an illegal, yet easily accessible drug that is highly addictive. It is made from household chemicals, and comes in different forms, which can be smoked, eaten, snorted, or used intravenously, all causing severe short and long terms effects to your brain and body.
Dopamine is the pleasure center. When something pleasurable happens, certain axons release dopamine which pass on a pleasure message .
Dopamine helps mood control movement, mood, and memory.
When you use meth, it tricks the neurons into thinking it is dopamine. Once inside the neuron, it causes the neuron to release lots of dopamine, giving someone that euphoric feeling. But eventually this feeling will lead to a “crash,” which causes the user to want more drugs, which in turn leads to addiction . (Junior Scholastic.)
http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIueQPhBawg This you tube what is happening in your brain when you “crash.”
This is an audio slideshow where Ph. D Richard A. Rawson, explains how meth affects the brain's dopamine receptors, causing the intense pleasure associated with a meth rush and yet eventually making it impossible for the user to experience pleasure at all. (He has some short pauses throughout video, but does come back after a few seconds.)
Meth use significantly changes how the brain functions. Studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. (Volkow 377-382)
Areas of the brain most effected are the self control tract, the pleasure center, motivational and motor centers, centers for emotional control, appetite and sleep cycle, judgment and cognitive processes, and memory. (Holley)
Acute neurotransmitter changes caused by repeated intoxication. Cellular transporters are damaged, and receptors are destroyed. Biochemical changes are reversible after detoxification which can take months.
Involves changes in the wiring of the reward center of the brain, ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, and frontal lobe. These structures mediate the sensation of pleasure, and these are permanent changes in the brain even after years of sobriety.
Cell death occurs sometimes involving areas of the brain that are not “redundant,” which means other brain centers cannot take over the functions of these areas. The addiction is related to cell death in the self control tract and reward centers of the brain. Damage to these cells can occur from one use of meth, and the addict becomes unable to resist temptation to meth.
Damaged nerve terminals in the brain
Brain damage similar to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's Diseases
High blood pressure
Prolonged anxiety, paranoia, insomnia
Psychotic behavior, violence, auditory hallucinations and delusions
Increased risk behavior, especially if drug is injected
HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
When used by a pregnant woman, premature birth; babies suffer cardiac defects, cleft palate, and other birth defects
*Center for Substance Abuse Research
Brief rush, euphoria, surge of energy
Increased physical activity
Increased blood pressure and breathing rate
Dangerously elevated body temperature
Loss of appetite
Performing repetitive, meaningless tasks
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Dry mouth, bad breath
Uncontrollable jaw clenching
Seizures, sudden death
Above is a you tube video on meth and depression explaining how meth can have side affects, even long after you stop taking the drug.
An unhealthy body is connected with the brain. How you treat your body, directly affects the brain .
Meth is known as the hardest drug to treat. It is near impossible to quit without treatment, and withdraws and relapse are common.
Some people never recover and remain unsatisfied with life dueto permanent brain damage. This is a period of prolonged abstinence during which the brain recovers from the changes resulting in meth use. During this time, addicts feel depressed, have an unclear mind, and feel they cannot live with out the drug. (Kci.org)
The most effective treatments for meth addiction are comprehensive cognitive-behavioral interventions.
Such as the Matrix Model-a behavioral approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug test, and positive encouragement (NIDA)
The demand for meth rehab far exceeds treatment capacity in most communities.
It is known that over 600,000 use meth in the United States on a weekly basis.
Studies show that an untreated addict can cost taxpayers as much as $90,000 a year in welfare., medical care, law enforcement and losses resulting in crime, eclipsing the $21,000 annual cost for long-term residential treatment.
Meth costs US society more than $20 billion per year.
IN THE WOMB & BEYOND
During pregnancy complications can arise such as vascular complications, which leads to reduced blood flow to the fetus. The second is a direct toxic effect on the developing fetal brain. The impact of reduced blood flow in a developing fetus can be manifested by significant limb reduction deformities.
Meth alter children’s development because it is toxic to the brain cells. It sharply reduces levels of the neuro-transmitters dopamine and serotonin, which regulate motor skills and moods such as behavior control, anger, and attention deficit.
By age 7 children begin to exhibit aggressive behavior, more problems with adjusting to environments, and higher rates of school failure.
61,782 meth labs were seized nationwide between 2000 and 2004. These meth raids affected more than 15,000 children.
13% of U.S. children under 18 live in households where a parent or other adult uses illicit drugs, including meth. (Child Welfare League of America.)
Barr, Panenka, MacEwan, Thornton, Lang, Honer, Lecomt. Centre for Complex Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia; Thornton — Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC. "The need for speed: an update on methamphetamine addiction." Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. Sept. 2006; 31(5): 301-313 This journal had information about the neurobiology of meth. It went into detail about the neurotoxic effects of meth as well as the cognitive effects, and also talked about the increasing widespread problem of meth use and how genetics may play a role on this problem.
"Cesar: Center for Substance Abuse Research." Methamphetamine . Online. 18 Oct. 2005
I got videos and pictures from this site, as well as the information on meth and the brain.
Holley, Dr. Mary. "How Reversible is Methamphetamine-Related Bain Damage." North Dakota Law Review. 2006. Vol. 82:1135-1149.
Out of this article I got the centers of the brain which become most vulnerable with meth use. I also learned the three mechanisms fro brain injury related to meth addiction, as well as the behaviors some meth users exhibit while using the drug.
"KCI.org The Anti-Meth Site." Methamphetamine FAQ. Online. 2012.
This article gave me facts about meth, and answered a lot of my general questions. Such as, how it is made, what happens when you take it, and how do you take the drug. Also as well the article provided charts and data to look at to use for my power point so I could describe to others the affects of the addiction.
Larkin, Marilynn. "Methamphetamine use could lead to long-term brain damage." The Lancet
This magazine article gave me an image of the brain affected by meth, and how the greatest areas of change are the limbic system and hippocampus. It went on to talk about how meth is harmful and how it tricks our brain cells by having a similar affect to dopamine.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Mind Over Matter . 2000.
I got information about dopamine and how it changes the brain from this article.
This article helped me to understand symptoms of the addiction, as well as what the addiction does to your body. Also there were studies that were done to show affects of meth use.
Volkow ND, Chang L, Wang GJ, et al. "Association of dopamine transporter reduction with psychomotor impairment in methamphetamine abusers." American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006. 158(3): 377-381