Methamphetamine, also called meth or crystal meth, is an illicit drug that profoundly affects the minds of its users. Meth is a powerful stimulant that creates a sense of euphoria in people who use it. Methamphetamines trigger a massive dump of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. This brain chemical is the reason meth users experience a feel-good “high” after taking the drug. After this initial high, the brain releases another brain chemical known as Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, or GABA, that works to dissipate the high levels of dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for the “comedown” a user will experience when the meth begins to wear off.
When a person becomes addicted to meth, they develop a tolerance to the drug that lessens its effects over time. They will eventually need higher and higher quantities of the drug in order to feel high. Chronic use of meth causes their brain to exhaust its reserves of both dopamine and GABA. Without dopamine, a person may experience anhedonia, and no longer be able to experience joy or pleasure. Without GABA, a person’s brain will not be able to regulate or inhibit certain activities in their nervous system. GABA has a calming effect on people. Without it, a person will be more susceptible to stress and panic. They will also become more prone to depression, seizures, and insomnia.
Meth Psychosis is a condition that can develop when a person has exhausted their supply of GABA. Without this crucial chemical, a person’s brain may not be able to react accurately to information that is sent from their senses. This creates a break between reality and what the person is experiencing. The symptoms of Meth Psychosis often resemble Schizophrenia. Some of the symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations, delusions, and nonsensical speech. Research has shown that as many as 40% of meth users experience either temporary or long-lasting symptoms of Meth Psychosis.