What you need to know about Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, more popularly referred to as "meth"and "crystal meth", is an extremely potent drug.  Many who try the substance even one time can become addicted.  Most don't know it, but methamphetamine has been around for over 100 years. 


In 1919, Japanese chemist Akira Ogata developed the first crystalline form of the drug.  It is reported that at the conclusion of World War II, upwards of 20% of Japan's entire population suffered from crystal meth addiction, as it was provided to pilots, members of the military, as well as those working in factories and shipyards, keeping one awake and "producing" for days on end.  Users often will go on multi-day "rides", often staying awake for over 72 hours without sleep. 


Crystal methamphetamine is a purely synthetic compound and is classified as a Schedule II stimulant in the United States.  Crystal methamphetamine looks like shards of glass, or bluish/white, shiny rocks.  Most meth addicts either snort, smoke, or liquify and inject the drug.  Meth's power comes from its ability to increase the amount of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain known as dopamine - a key chemical component that plays major roles in not only the reward process/center of the brain, but also has a major impact on a person's overall state of being, as well as reward-motivated behavior. 


Methamphetamine addiction is a particularly painful addiction for loved ones and family members to watch another go through, with the physical and emotional effects of the drug becoming apparent in a condensed period of time - extreme weight loss, facial sores, rotting teeth, memory loss, anxiety, confusion, and potentially violent behavior are all potential results from prolonged meth addiction.  Rehab is critical for those looking to take that first step towards breaking their addiction with meth, as most who attempt to break the cycle without professional help often relapse within a fairly short amount of time.