|Your Brain and Methamphetamine|
The Brain’s Response to Methamphetamine
Hi, my name’s Sara Bellum. Welcome to my magazine series exploring the brain’s response to drugs. In this issue, we’ll investigate many fascinating facts about the stimulant drug methamphetamine. Some of this information was only recently discovered by leading scientists.
Speed, meth, chalk, crystal, ice, glass. These are all names for the drug methamphetamine. Methamphetamine comes in many different forms and is snorted, swallowed, injected, or smoked. The smokable form is known as “ice” or “crystal”, due to its appearance.
Methamphetamine is a powerful drug. If acts by changing how the brain works. It also speeds up many functions in the body. Methamphetamine has a chemical structure that is similar to another drug called amphetamine that I explore in my magazine on stimulants. Methamphetamine can cause lots of harmful things, including inability to sleep, paranoia, aggressiveness, and hallucinations. I’ll tell you more about these later.
How Does Methamphetamine Cause Its Effects?
No matter how methamphetamine is used, it eventually ends up in the bloodstream where it is circulated throughout the brain. Methamphetamine can affect lots ò brain structures, but the ones it affects the most are the ones that contain a chemical called dopamine. The reason for this is that the shape, size, and chemical structure ò methamphetamine and dopamine are similar. Before I tell you more about dopamine and methamphetamine, I’d better tell you how nerve cells work.
Your brain is made up of billions of nerve cells (or neurons). Neurons come in all shapes and sizes, but most have three important parts: a cell body that contains the nucleus and directs the activities of the neuron; dendrites, short fibers that receive messages from other neurons and relay them to the cell body; and an axon, a long single fiber that carries messages from the cell body to dendrites of other neurons. Axons of one neuron and the dendrites of a neighboring neuron are located very close to each other, but they don't actually touch. Therefore, to communicate with each other they use chemical- messengers known as .neurotransmitters. When one neuron wants to send a message to another neuron it releases a neurotransmitter from its axon into the small space that separates the two neurons. This space is called a synapse. The neurotransmitter crosses the synapse and attaches to specific places on the dendrites of the neighboring neuron called receptors. Once the neurotransmitter has relayed its message, it is either destroyed or taken back up into the first neuron where it is recycled for use again. .There are many different neurotransmitters, but the one that is most affected by methamphetamine is dopamine. Do¬pamine is sometimes called the pleasure neurotransmitter because it helps you feel good from things like playing soccer, eating a big piece of chocolate cake, or riding a roller coaster. When some¬thing pleasurable happens, certain axons release lots of dopamine, the dopamine attach¬es to receptors on dendrites of neighboring neurons. And passes on the pleasure mes¬sage. This process is stopped when dopa¬mine is released from the receptors and pumped back into the neuron that released it where it is stored for later use.
Glorious Manor, Inc. II and You
If you, a friend or a loved one is suffering from methamphetamine use, abuse or addiction, Glorious Manor, Inc. II can help. The staff of Glorious Manor, Inc. II are especially educated and trained and