and Cocaine are termed 'psycho-stimulants' as they
artificially excite the production of certain 'feel good' neurotransmitters in
the brain and the 'reward system'. Binges and excessive use or abuse can often
lead to a 'crash' when the drug is withdrawn. Emotional & physical
exhaustion, depression & the capacity to react to
stress are symptoms that can be experienced. Extended use of amphetamines can result in
a type of 'Parkinson's Disease'
symptomatology (pseudo-parkinsonism) due to the decrease in Dopamine and the permanent
cerebral cell damage caused. Psychotic symptoms seen in 'Schizophrenia' can also be manifested; paranoia, delusions, hallucinations; sometimes
Amphetamines were first
synthesized in 1887, and its derivative 'methamphetamine' in 1919. They were both initially used
for the treatment of obesity, as a nasal decongestant, in bronchial inhalers (as used for asthma), narcolepsy,
depression, childhood hyperactivity, 'hangovers' & as an anti-emetic during pregnancy.
Amphetamines affect neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine - involved with energy,
arousal, and heightened senses; and are similar in effect to that which is produced by
cocaine. Many researchers believe 'Meth'
may be toxic to the brain, causing cell damage, even after abuse has ceased. It alters
the brain chemistry in the long term and is proven to reduce the amount of a chemical
called 'N-acetyl'aspartate'. This
chemical's loss has been identified in diseases such as 'Alzheimer's','Epilepsy', and 'Brain Tumours'. Methamphetamines also cause a
'massive' & 'rapid' release of the 'feel good' neurotransmitters Dopamine; involved in the
'reward centre', 'motivation', 'pleasure' & 'motor function'; and 'Serotonin'; involved in 'mood' & 'emotions'. Chronic 'meth' users very often experience emotional retardation
or 'blunting', depression and cognitive
problems; having 'burned-out' their
synapses. Sadly there has been a dramatic increase in admissions to emergency
departments for the adverse effects of methamphetamines & amphetamines; these being
related to psychotic
symptoms & violence. This can be as a result of the immediate efffefcts
or that of 'tweaking'; the behaviour
associated with sleep deprivation of between 3 to 15 days and where the user is unable
to obtain the high initially acheived. The frustration, anxiety & paranoia can often quickly
excalate into violence, crime and serious accidents....even suicide.
Methamphetamine & 'Aggression'
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