Methamphetamine is an illicit drug that has serious adverse effects on people’s mental health and psychological state, as well as their social lives. This is an “extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug” with the only commercial medication Desoxyn® that requires a prescription (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [HHS], 2016, p. 69). It was introduced in 1893 and can now be used in many forms (injected, eaten, snorted, or smoked) (Kumar, 2021, p. 1). For medical purposes, it can be utilized to treat attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and exogenous obesity (HHS, 2016). This paper includes a brief description of the biopsychosocial effects of methamphetamine use.
As far as biological and psychological aspects are concerned, methamphetamine affects certain neurotransmitter clusters in the mid-brain. The following neurotransmitters influenced by the drug are associated with the development of addiction: dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and serotonin, among others (Kumar, 2021). Methamphetamine causes an excessive increase in dopamine signals in the nucleus accumbens, which is the reason for a person’s desire to repeat the experience. This drug is used to suppress appetite, increase energy, and remain awake. However, the use of methamphetamine is associated with the development of depression and paranoia and significantly increases the odds of schizophrenia (Kumar, 2021). Methamphetamine users also have diverse cognitive issues, including poor memory, verbal learning, and motor skills deficiencies (Kumar, 2021). Insomnia and violent behavior are common long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse (HHS, 2016). Other short-term effects include high blood pressure and heart rate, increased breathing, hyperthermia, stroke, or heart arrest (HHS, 2016). There is no FDA-approved pharmacological treatment for methamphetamine addiction so far.
The social consequences of methamphetamine abuse are considerable and can lead to complete alienation or isolation. As mentioned above, this drug causes the development of behavioral disorders (mood disorders, violent behavior, and others). Such transformations in people’s conduct impair their family and professional life. Verbal and physical abuse can become a new norm for a methamphetamine abuser. Cognitive problems can lead to serious issues in professional life as the methamphetamine user becomes unable to complete various tasks, so that they may be suspended or dismissed. In some professions, where sobriety is critical, employees take regular tests to identify the traces of drugs. Thus, methamphetamine users may lose their jobs as a result of such tests. The use of this drug is often linked to the consumption of alcohol, which is, in its turn, related to numerous physical, psychological, and social issues. Kumar (2021) also notes that people using methamphetamine tend to avoid seeking treatment due to the fear of stigma. Due to the serious psychosocial effects of methamphetamine consumption, those who use or abuse this drug may commit crimes (usually violent crimes) and be incarcerated.
In conclusion, methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that has been used in many forms for over a century. Although it may be prescribed in a limited number of cases, patients must consume it responsibly. The abuse of this drug leads to cognitive issues, mood and behavioral disorders, as well as adverse physical consequences related to the cardiovascular system. There is still no pharmacological treatment for methamphetamine addiction, and cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most common strategy employed to address the problem. At that, addicts often try to avoid seeking treatment, which worsens their condition and can potentially lead to multiple social problems. Divorces, dismissal, and even incarceration as a result of committed crimes are frequent outcomes of methamphetamine use.
Kumar, A. (2021). Biopsychosocial implications of crystal methamphetamine abuse: A review of the literature. Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience, 12(1:2), 1–3.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2016). Facing addiction in America: The surgeon general’s report on alcohol, drugs, and health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web.