Meth And Its Effects On The Brain
Methamphetamine is an odourless, white crystalline powder with a bitter taste. It is soluble in liquid and can be injected, snorted, ingested, or smoked. It is a central nervous system stimulant drug that increases the release of dopamine and leads to high levels of the chemical in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for the pleasure functions of the brain that relate to reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. The production of excessive dopamine causes an intense rush of pleasure followed by a euphoric high that can last up to twelve hours.
The abuse of methamphetamine is associated with a number of negative consequences, which include cognitive dysfunctions and neurological damage. Effects of chronic abuse are depression, psychosis and psycho-motor dysfunctions. Neuropsychological abnormalities include attention deficits, memory problems and poor decision-making.
The use of methamphetamine is associated with long-term biochemical and structural effects on the brain and significantly changes how the brain functions. The excessive production of dopamine causes neuropathological changes in the brain and has a neurotoxic effect on the brain cells that store dopamine and serotonin. These changes include decreases in the levels of dopamine transporters as well as decreases in the density of serotonin transporters in various parts of the brain. Studies have demonstrated that daily use of methamphetamine results in increased cell death in the brain, which would have a negative effect on prefrontal cortex functioning.
Changes in the activity of the dopamine system are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. Studies have also revealed that chronic use of methamphetamine causes severe structural and functional changes in those areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which could explain many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic abusers of the substance. These neurological changes have given rise to deficits in execution memory which are manifested in a reduced ability to problem solve, increased impulsivity and risky decision-making. Further dysfunctions include apathy, poor self-control and poor executive control. Over time, methamphetamine destroys the dopamine receptors in the brain, which has the effect of reducing the ability to feel pleasure.
The use of methamphetamine has been proven by a number of studies to be associated with irreversible damage to the brain and, even though the neurotransmitters in the brain may recover over time, damage to cognitive abilities cannot be reversed.
1. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2007.
2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2008.
3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2009.
4. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2010.
5. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2011.
6. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2012.
7. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Vienna. World Drug Report 2007. New York, NY: United Nations; 2013.
8. Newton TF, Cook IA, Kalechstein AD, Duran S, Monroy F, Ling W, et al. Quantitative EEG abnormalities in recently abstinent methamphetamine dependent individuals. Clin Neurophysiol. 2003;114(3):410–5.[PubMed]
9. Nordahl TE, Salo R, Leamon M. Neuropsychological effects of chronic methamphetamine use on neurotransmitters and cognition: a review. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003;15(3):317–25.[PubMed]
10. Thompson PM, Hayashi KM, Simon SL, Geaga JA, Hong MS, Sui Y, et al. Structural abnormalities in the brains of human subjects who use methamphetamine. J Neurosci. 2004;24(26):6028–36.[PubMed]
11. Rangwala Z. Hypotension in Chronic Methamphetamine User. Clinical Anesthesiology. 2014:187–91.
12. Richards CF, Clark RF, Holbrook T, Hoyt DB. The effect of cocaine and amphetamines on vital signs in trauma patients. J Emerg Med. 1995;13(1):59–63.[PubMed]
13. Cook CE, Jeffcoat AR. Pyrolytic degradation of heroin, phencyclidine, and cocaine: identification of products and some observations on their metabolism. NIDA Res Monogr. 1990;99:97–120.[PubMed]
14. Harris DS, Boxenbaum H, Everhart ET, Sequeira G, Mendelson JE, Jones RT. The bioavailability of intranasal and smoked methamphetamine. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2003;74(5):475–86.[PubMed]
15. Schepers RJ, Oyler JM, Joseph RE, Cone EJ, Moolchan ET, Huestis MA. Methamphetamine and amphetamine pharmacokinetics in oral fluid and plasma after controlled oral methamphetamine administration to human volunteers. Clin Chem. 2003;49(1):121–32.[PubMed]
16. Alam MZ, Noroozi A. An emerging trend of methamphetamine injection in iran: a critical target for research on blood-borne infection diseases. Hepat Mon. 2013;13(2):e8154.[PMC free article][PubMed]
17. Noroozi A, Radfar R, Motavalian A. Results of Bio Behavioral Survey among Injecting Drug Users and their Spouses in 3 large City of Iran. 2013
18. Radfar R, Noroozi A, Tayeri K, Motavalian A. Study on situation of HIV, Latent Tuberculosis (TB) and Active TB Infection among Injecting Drug Users Receiving Harm Reduction Services in Tehran and 5 large cities in Iran. 2014
19. American Psychiatric Association. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. pp. 85–93.
20. McGregor C, Srisurapanont M, Jittiwutikarn J, Laobhripatr S, Wongtan T, White JM. The nature, time course and severity of methamphetamine withdrawal. Addiction. 2005;100(9):1320–9.[PubMed]
21. Cantwell B, McBride AJ. Self detoxication by amphetamine dependent patients: a pilot study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998;49(2):157–63.[PubMed]
22. Churchill AC, Burgess PM, Pead J, Gill T. Measurement of the severity of amphetamine dependence. Addiction. 1993;88(10):1335–40.[PubMed]
23. Newton TF, Kalechstein AD, Duran S, Vansluis N, Ling W. Methamphetamine abstinence syndrome: preliminary findings. Am J Addict. 2004;13(3):248–55.[PubMed]
24. Scott JC, Woods SP, Matt GE, Meyer RA, Heaton RK, Atkinson JH, et al. Neurocognitive effects of methamphetamine: a critical review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychol Rev. 2007;17(3):275–97.[PubMed]
25. Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Chang L, Miller E, Sedler M, Hitzemann R, et al. Partial recovery of brain metabolism in methamphetamine abusers after protracted abstinence. Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161(2):242–8.[PubMed]
26. Volkow ND, Wang G, Fowler JS, Logan J, Gerasimov M, Maynard L, et al. Therapeutic doses of oral methylphenidate significantly increases extracellular dopamine in the human brain. J Neurosci. 2001;21(2):RC121.[PubMed]
27. Zweben JE, Cohen JB, Christian D, Galloway GP, Salinardi M, Parent D, et al. Psychiatric symptoms in methamphetamine users. Am J Addict. 2004;13(2):181–90.[PubMed]
28. Richards JR, Bretz SW, Johnson EB, Turnipseed SD, Brofeldt BT, Derlet RW. Methamphetamine abuse and emergency department utilization. West J Med. 1999;170(4):198–202.[PMC free article][PubMed]
29. Albertson TE, Derlet RW, Van Hoozen BE. Methamphetamine and the expanding complications of amphetamines. West J Med. 1999;170(4):214–9.[PMC free article][PubMed]
30. Harris D, Batki SL. Stimulant psychosis: symptom profile and acute clinical course. Am J Addict. 2000;9(1):28–37.[PubMed]
31. McKetin R, McLaren J, Lubman DI, Hides L. The prevalence of psychotic symptoms among methamphetamine users. Addiction. 2006;101(10):1473–8.[PubMed]
32. Chen CK, Lin SK, Sham PC, Ball D, Loh E, Murray RM. Morbid risk for psychiatric disorder among the relatives of methamphetamine users with and without psychosis. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2005;136B(1):87–91.[PubMed]
33. Chen CK, Lin SK, Sham PC, Ball D, Loh EW, Hsiao CC, et al. Pre-morbid characteristics and co-morbidity of methamphetamine users with and without psychosis. Psychol Med. 2003;33(8):1407–14.[PubMed]
34. Iwanami A, Sugiyama A, Kuroki N, Toda S, Kato N, Nakatani Y, et al. Patients with methamphetamine psychosis admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Japan. A preliminary report. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1994;89(6):428–32.[PubMed]
35. Matsumoto T, Tachimori H, Tanibuchi Y, Takano A, Wada K. Clinical features of patients with designer-drug-related disorder in Japan: A comparison with patients with methamphetamine- and hypnotic/anxiolytic-related disorders. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014;68(5):374–82.[PubMed]
36. Shoptaw S, Reback CJ. Methamphetamine use and infectious disease-related behaviors in men who have sex with men: implications for interventions. Addiction. 2007;102(Suppl 1):130–5.[PubMed]
37. Halkitis PN, Solomon TM, Moeller RW, Doig SA, Espinosa LS, Siconolfi D, et al. Methamphetamine use among gay, bisexual and non-identified men-who-have-sex-with-men: an analysis of daily patterns. J Health Psychol. 2009;14(2):222–31.[PubMed]
38. Halkitis PN, Moeller RW, Pollock JA. Sexual practices of gay, bisexual and other nonidentified MSM attending New York City gyms: patterns of serosorting, strategic positioning, and context selection. J Sex Res. 2008;45(3):253–61.[PubMed]
39. Reback CJ, Shoptaw S, Grella CE. Methamphetamine use trends among street-recruited gay and bisexual males, from 1999 to 2007. J Urban Health. 2008;85(6):874–9.[PMC free article][PubMed]
40. Halkitis PN. Methamphetamine addiction: biological foundations, psychological factors, and social consequences. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2009.
41. Kurtz SP. Post-circuit blues: motivations and consequences of crystal meth use among gay men in Miami. AIDS Behav. 2005;9(1):63–72.[PubMed]
42. Shoptaw S, Weiss RE, Munjas B, Hucks-Ortiz C, Young SD, Larkins S, et al. Homonegativity, substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and HIV status in poor and ethnic men who have sex with men in Los Angeles. J Urban Health. 2009;86(Suppl 1):77–92.[PMC free article][PubMed]
43. Liao M, Jiang Z, Zhang X, Kang D, Bi Z, Liu X, et al. Syphilis and methamphetamine use among female sex workers in Shandong Province, China. Sex Transm Dis. 2011;38(1):57–62.[PubMed]
44. Loza O, Strathdee SA, Martinez GA, Lozada R, Ojeda VD, Staines-Orozco H, et al. Risk factors associated with chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection among female sex workers in two Mexico-USA border cities. Int J STD AIDS. 2010;21(7):460–5.[PMC free article][PubMed]
45. Miller CL, Kerr T, Fischer B, Zhang R, Wood E. Methamphetamine injection independently predicts hepatitis C infection among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting. J Adolesc Health. 2009;44(3):302–4.[PMC free article][PubMed]
46. Shoptaw SJ, Kao U, Heinzerling K, Ling W. Treatment for amphetamine withdrawal. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(2):CD003021.[PubMed]
47. Shoptaw SJ, Kao U, Ling W. Treatment for amphetamine psychosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(1):CD003026.[PubMed]
48. Leelahanaj T, Kongsakon R, Netrakom P. A 4-week, double-blind comparison of olanzapine with haloperidol in the treatment of amphetamine psychosis. J Med Assoc Thai. 2005;88(Suppl 3):S43–S52.[PubMed]
49. Ling W, Rawson R, Shoptaw S, Ling W. Management of methamphetamine abuse and dependence. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006;8(5):345–54.[PubMed]
50. Coffin PO, Santos GM, Das M, Santos DM, Huffaker S, Matheson T, et al. Aripiprazole for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Addiction. 2013;108(4):751–61.[PMC free article][PubMed]
51. Grabowski J, Shearer J, Merrill J, Negus SS. Agonist-like replacement pharmacotherapy for stimulant abuse and dependence. Addict Behav. 2004;29(7):1439–64.[PubMed]
52. Shearer J, Sherman J, Wodak A, van Beek I. Substitution therapy for amphetamine users. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2002;21(2):179–85.[PubMed]
53. Farnia V, Shakeri J, Tatari F, Juibari TA, Yazdchi K, Bajoghli H, et al. Randomized controlled trial of aripiprazole versus risperidone for the treatment of amphetamine-induced psychosis. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2014;40(1):10–5.[PubMed]
54. Rawson RA, Marinelli-Casey P, Anglin MD, Dickow A, Frazier Y, Gallagher C, et al. A multi-site comparison of psychosocial approaches for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence. Addiction. 2004;99(6):708–17.[PubMed]
55. Rawson RA, McCann MJ, Flammino F, Shoptaw S, Miotto K, Reiber C, et al. A comparison of contingency management and cognitive-behavioral approaches for stimulant-dependent individuals. Addiction. 2006;101(2):267–74.[PubMed]
56. Ghasemi A, Eftekhari Ardebili M, Foroshani Rahimi A, Tol A, Taghdisi MH. Effect of Empowerment Based Intervention Program on Promoting Lifestyle among Methamphetamine Addict and Their Families Compare with Non-Addicts. World Applied Sciences Journal. 2013;22(2):270–5.
57. Elkashef AM, Rawson RA, Anderson AL, Li SH, Holmes T, Smith EV, et al. Bupropion for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(5):1162–70.[PubMed]
58. Get Immediate Treatment Help. Harm Reduction History and Definitions [Online]. 2007. Available from: URL: http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/256/1/Harm-Reduction-History-and-Definitions/Page1.html.
59. Halkitis PN, Parsons JT, Stirratt MJ. A double epidemic: crystal methamphetamine drug use in relation to HIV transmission among gay men. J Homosex. 2001;41(2):17–35.[PubMed]
60. Plankey MW, Ostrow DG, Stall R, Cox C, Li X, Peck JA, et al. The relationship between methamphetamine and popper use and risk of HIV seroconversion in the multicenter AIDS cohort study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007;45(1):85–92.[PMC free article][PubMed]
61. Molitor F, Truax SR, Ruiz JD, Sun RK. Association of methamphetamine use during sex with risky sexual behaviors and HIV infection among non-injection drug users. West J Med. 1998;168(2):93–7.[PMC free article][PubMed]
62. Shoptaw S, Reback CJ. Associations between methamphetamine use and HIV among men who have sex with men: a model for guiding public policy. J Urban Health. 2006;83(6):1151–7.[PMC free article][PubMed]
63. Hunter C, Barnaby L, Busch A, Marshall C, Shepherd S, Strike C. Determining the harm reduction services required for safer crystal methamphetamine smoking in Toronto. Toronto, ON: Crystal methamphetamine smokers in Toronto, Ontario; 2011. [PMC free article][PubMed]
64. Darke S, Torok M, Kaye S, Ross J, McKetin R. Comparative rates of violent crime among regular methamphetamine and opioid users: offending and victimization. Addiction. 2010;105(5):916–9.[PubMed]
65. Gizzi MC, Gerkin P. Methamphetamine use and criminal behavior. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2010;54(6):915–36.[PubMed]
66. Sommers I, Baskin D. Methamphetamine use and Violence. Journal of Drug Issues. 2006;36(1):77–96.
67. Cartier J, Farabee D, Prendergast ML. Methamphetamine use, self-reported violent crime, and recidivism among offenders in California who abuse substances. J Interpers Violence. 2006;21(4):435–45.[PubMed]
68. Ksobiech K. A meta-analysis of needle sharing, lending, and borrowing behaviors of needle exchange program attenders. AIDS Educ Prev. 2003;15(3):257–68.[PubMed]
69. Degenhardt L, Mathers B, Guarinieri M, Panda S, Phillips B, Strathdee S, et al. The Global Epidemiology of Methamphetamine Injection: A Review of the Evidence on Use and Associations with HIV and Other Harm. Sydney, Australia: National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre; 2007.
70. Cohn AM, Hunter-Reel D, Hagman BT, Mitchell J. Promoting behavior change from alcohol use through mobile technology: the future of ecological momentary assessment. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2011;35(12):2209–15.[PMC free article][PubMed]
71. Kelly JD, Giordano TP. Mobile phone technologies improve adherence to antiretroviral treatment in a resource-limited setting: a randomized controlled trial of text message reminders. AIDS. 2011;25(8):1137–9.[PubMed]
72. Mukund Bahadur KC, Murray PJ. Cell phone short messaging service (SMS) for HIV/AIDS in South Africa: a literature review. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2010;160(Pt 1):530–4.[PubMed]