When Methamphetamine Enters The Body. . .
This timeline was designed to give you a better idea of just how dangerous meth can be – even in a short amount of time. Although the high that the drug provides is appealing, the damaging effects start the minute meth enters the body.
Meth has entered the body either via injection, ingestion, inhalation, or insertion into the anal cavity. After eventually entering the bloodstream, the drug is carried through the circulatory system and eventually to the brain, where the majority of meth’s damage is done. Dopamine is released, causing the user to experience sensations of euphoria. This sensation lasts around 12 hours. Along with dopamine, meth also blocks the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. The first 5 to 30 minutes of this hour, and the sensations associated, are colloquially called a meth “rush.” (PBS, 2012)
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The result of meth use is in full effect, and the user experiences a “high” sensation. Heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate, and respiration increases. Bizarre hallucinations start to appear such as the sensation of insects under the skin, causing the user to scratch, cut, and tear the skin. Along with this, individuals experience emotions of high paranoia and aggression. These mood fluctuations are accompanied by uncontrollable movement and obsessive behavior (Meth Project, 2012).
Users also begin to display fast, repetitive motions, increased respiration, decreased appetite, and a decrease in tiredness.
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Hour 3 through 12
The meth user’s high continues as the amount of dopamine within the neurons becomes depleted and the brains receptors have already become damaged (Limpy, 1999).
The high of methamphetamine continues through the hours eventually slowing down towards the end of 12th hour, the typical duration of a meth.
These 12 hours of meth are enough to cause the user to be addicted (PBS, 2012). The damage done in to the neurotransmitter receptors causes the next meth use to be less effective and cause the user to experience less dramatic sensations than before. Because the first meth causes the greatest high, meth users continually seek out meth that will provide that original high, leading to addiction (Meth Project, 2012).
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Day 3 through 10
The user is fully addicted and requires meth to function biologically, and without frequent use, the user experiences a crash (Meth Project, 2012). Extended use for this duration of time is often titled “binging.” Extreme weight loss, further violent behavior, depressions, advanced hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and other psychotic behavior (ibid). At this point, the user could even shares similar psychological characteristics with those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Quitting the use of methamphetamine is difficult. Many are unable to go back to living a normal life, even if they are able to stop meth use.
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To gain an understanding of how meth interacts with the brain, feel free to reference this link from themethproject.org: The Brain on Meth