Meth Addiction and Abuse Problems Research Paper

Pages: 20 (6363 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] This disorder resembles schizophrenia after they stop using methamphetamine. These symptoms last for more than 6 months and do not even respond to treatment (Barr, Panenka, MacEwan, Thornton, Lang, Honer, Lecomte, 2006).

People also develop tolerance to methamphetamine. The development of tolerance is not fully understood. However, it is know that the development is based on a cascade of mechanisms that cannot yet be fully explained. The development of tolerance, its rate and extent, vary from one individual to another. Nonetheless, it has been established that tolerance to this drug depends on its dosage, the duration of its consumption and the frequency of its use.

Methamphetamine is also known to cause short time tolerance in some individuals. This is caused because of decreased levels of neurotransmitters when they have not been released from the synaptic vesicles. Typically, the duration of the short-term tolerance is until the depletion of the neurotransmitter levels. This is because of the toxic impact on the dopaminergic neurons and can last for more than 2-3 days.

The up-regulation of the dopamine receptors that is caused by meth, eventually leads to the down-regulation of these receptors so as to compensate for the increased levels of dopamine that are left in the synaptic cleft. Increased amount of the same drug is required to achieve the optimum level of effects of the drug. On the other hand, it is also possible that this drug might cause reverse tolerance or sensitization. Even though this effect has been well established, the mechanism that causes this effect is not yet fully understood.

Addiction

Needless to say, methamphetamine exhibits highly addictive properties. Even though, there is not much chance for the withdrawal symptoms to be dangerous, but these withdrawal symptoms result in the relapse and heavy use of this drug. This drug induces hyper-stimulation of the pleasure pathways in the brain that lead to anhedonia months after the use of drug is given up. Many investigations are being carried out pertaining to the treatment of meth addiction. As mentioned above it includes the administration of bupropion, which targets the dopamine pathway. Moreover, other psychological treatments are also being used to target the behavior of the people who get addicted to this drug (Leventhel, 2008).

Other methods that have been devised include the administration of the amino acids known as L-tyrosine and tryptophan. These amino acids are known to help in the recovery process. They do this by facilitating the body to reverse the depletion of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin). This method has still not been shown to be completely effective, even though many studies that involved the use of these amino acids in the treatment of this addiction have shown some degree of success.

Some other studies have also suggested that if a person takes ascorbic acid before the use of methamphetamine, this may help in reducing the acute toxicity that this drug may cause to the brain. When rats were given the human equivalent of about 5-10 grams of ascorbic acid 30 minutes before the administration of methamphetamine dosage, the toxicity was seen to be mediated. However, this will not be of great benefit when this method is used to solve the other powerful behavioral issues that are associated with methamphetamine addiction.

Studies have shown that as a result of increased doses of ascorbic acid, the urinary pH of subjects have lowered, inducing reduction in methamphetamine's elimination half-life and consequently reducing the extent of its activity (JM, EJ, RE, ET and MA, 2002).

In an effort to battle addiction, doctors have begun to employ alternative stimulants such as dextroamphetamine, the dextrorotatory (right-handed) isomer of the amphetamine molecule, in order to disrupt the addiction cycle; the basic inspiration of this method is the roleof methadone when treating heroin addicts. For methamphetamine issues, the most favored publicly allowed drug is naloxone, acting as an inhibitor of opiate receptors which makes it perfect for use in treating dependence on opiates. Alternatively, ongoing experiments using monoamine reuptake inhibitors like indatraline have showed positive results in stopping methamphetamine's effects from working (RB, JS, MH, CM, FI, KC, 2000). Other studies show that fluoxetine, bupropion and imipramine are likely to aid in reduction of craving and ensuring observance of the required treatment (BT, KI, KA, 2007). Drugs such as modafinil and Topiramate have both shown positive results when used in treatment for methamphetamine use, according to research (Medication can help recovering meth addicts stay sober, study finds, 2012).

Addiction to methamphetamine is proving to be one of the hardest to successfully overcome as bupropion, aripiprazole, and baclofen have been put to use in the treatment of post-withdrawal cravings, with the success rate turning out to be rather discouraging. Modafinil shows better results, but due to being a Class IV scheduled drug, its use is restricted. Europe has been making use of ibogaine, where it is a Class I drug and specifically accessible for scientific research, with encouraging success rates. Reports on a few small-population studies have shown mirtazapine to be useful.

As the phenethylamine phentermine is a constitutional isomer of methamphetamine, it has been suggested that it may be effective in treating methamphetamine addiction. Phentermine is a central nervous system stimulant that acts on dopamine and norepinephrine. When comparing (+)-amphetamine, (+/-)-ephedrine, and phentermine, one key difference among the three drugs is their selectivity for norepinephrine (NE) release vs. dopamine (DA) release. The NE/DA selectivity ratios for these drugs as determined in vitro [(EC (50) NE (-1))/(EC (50) DA (-1))] are (+/-)-ephedrine (18.6) > phentermine (6.7) > (+)-amphetamine (3.5) (Noradrenergic and dopaminergic effects of (+)-amphetamine-like stimulants in the baboon Papio Anubis, 2011).

When the use of this drug is stopped abruptly after a long duration of use, it results in the withdrawal symptoms in approximately 90% of the people. Some reports suggests that the mental depression that is a part of the withdrawal symptoms is even severe and lasts longer than the depression suffered by people with cocaine addiction.

One of the other most important adverse effects that are seen people with meth addiction and abuse problems is the Meth mouth. People who are addicted to meth crystals tend to lose their teeth indeed abnormally fast. This is a condition that is referred to as meth mouth. According to the definition presented by American Dental Association, meth mouth is perhaps a combined disorder of psychological as well physiological changes caused by the drug. These changes cause the mouth to become dry, a condition known as xerostomia. This condition is also caused because of poor oral hygiene over a long period of time, consumption of high-calorie food frequently, drinking carbonated drinks and grinding and clenching of teeth. Moreover, some reports are suggestive of the fact that this damage to the mouth is done because of the toxic nature of the drug itself. There are many studies that have concluded that in people who already smoke, methamphetamine has the potential to cause increased smoking in these people (AA and S, 2004). Smoking along with toxic nature of meth crystals causes the manifestations of the meth mouth.

Women who are addicted to meth crystals will cause a huge deal of damage to the health of their babies. Studies have shown that the drug (methamphetamine) present in meth crystals enters the blood stream when taken through any route. Once in the bloodstream, this drug is able to pass through the placenta to enter the blood circulation of the fetus. Moreover, this drug can also get secreted in the breast milk of the female. Babies who are born to mother who addicted to meth crystals are born significantly before their due date of birth. The age-adjusted head circumference as well as the weight measurements of these babies is also deranged. When neonates are exposed to this drug, they also show withdrawal symptoms as present in the adults. These babies present with vomiting, agitation and tachypnea (Chomchai et al., 2010). However, the manifestations of the withdrawal symptoms in these babies are somewhat mild and they can be treated with medical intervention.

It has been concluded that the men who have become addicted to meth crystals or cocaine for that matter, are twice as likely to go for unprotected sexual activities than the people who do not have any kind of addiction or abuse problems.

Perry N. Halkitis, an American phsychologist performed a study in which she made an analysis of the data that was gathered from random community-based people. These participants were chosen from bisexual and gay men and were examined to find a relationship between their level of meth crystal addiction and sexual risk taking actions. It was then established that people who are addicted to the meth crystals, they show higher frequencies of indulging into unsafe sexual activities. The relationship between people who are addicted to meth crystals and the risky sexual behavior is more pronounced in addicts who are also HIV-positive. Furthermore, it… [END OF PREVIEW]

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