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Methamphetamine's Effects on the Body and Mind: Long Term and Short Term

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, 2008), methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant known on the street as 'meth,' 'speed,' 'chalk,' or 'ice.' It was developed from a parent drug (amphetamine) that is used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers.

The NIDA (2008) reports that the immediate effects of the drug include increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being. As to the use of this drug, the NIDA states that its use is fairly widespread and most especially in the West (e.g., Honolulu, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) with about 10.4 million people age 12 or older (4.3 percent of the population) having tried meth at some point in their lives.

The NIDA (2008) also reports that approximately 1.3 million people reported past-year usage of the drug in a comprehensive national survey they conducted and that the most likely user is a teenager or very young adult. The drug is potent and the number of people admitted to emergency rooms and hospitals for meth overdose is said to be growing around the country, as is its general usage.

This paper examines the literature on both the long-term and the short-term effects of methamphetamine. Both the physical and the psychological effects of the drug are discussed. The review begins with a brief description of the immediate short-term effects of the drug, emphasizing the way the drug makes people feel when they first take it.

According to Gracer (2007), people initially use meth for its short-term effects. These are said to include a sudden rush of pleasure, a prolonged sense of euphoria, increased energy, improved focus, greater self-confidence, increased sexual prowess, and strong feelings of desirability. Meth can also decrease appetite.

The physical feelings include rapid heartbeat and sometimes even an irregular heartbeat. There can also be increased blood pressure a...

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