What It Is
Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that directly affects the central nervous system. The common illegal form of this stimulant is crystal methamphetamine, which appears like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
It is taken in forms such as:
- Swallowing in pill form
- Injecting a powder that has been dissolved in water or alcohol
It is common for individuals to often take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern due to the euphoric high from the drug which both starts and fades quickly. In some cases, people take the drug in a form of binging known as a “run”, which means they give up food and sleep while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.
Methamphetamine increases the brain’s natural amount of chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a key component in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to increase levels of dopamine at a rapid pace in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.