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Methamphetamine Addiction   PDF  Print  Email 
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Abuse Patterns

Methamphetamine abuse has three patterns: low intensity, binge, and high intensity. Low-intensity abuse describes a user who is not psychologically addicted to the drug but uses methamphetamine on a casual basis by swallowing or snorting it. Binge and high-intensity abusers are psychologically addicted and prefer to smoke or inject methamphetamine to achieve a faster and stronger high. Binge abusers use methamphetamine more than low-intensity abusers but less than high-intensity abusers.

Low-Intensity Methamphetamine Abuse

Low-intensity abusers swallow or snort methamphetamine, using it the same way many people use caffeine or nicotine. Low-intensity abusers want the extra stimulation the methamphetamine provides so that they can stay awake long enough to finish a task or a job, or they want the appetite suppressant effect to lose weight. These people frequently hold jobs, raise families, and otherwise function normally. They may include people such as truck drivers trying to reach their destination, workers trying to stay awake until the end of their normal shift or an overtime shift, and housewives trying to keep a clean house a well as be a perfect mother and wife.

Even though a law enforcement officer is not likely to encounter low-intensity abusers, these individuals are one step away from becoming binge abusers. They already know the stimulating effect that methamphetamine provides them by swallowing or snorting the drug, but they have not experienced the euphoric rush associated with smoking or injecting it and have not encountered clearly defined stages of abuse. However, simple switching to smoking or injecting methamphetamine offers the abusers a quick transition to a binge pattern of abuse.

Binge Methamphetamine Abuse

Binge abusers smoke or inject methamphetamine and experience euphoric rushes that are psychologically addictive.

Rush - The rush is the initial response the abuser feels when smoking or injecting methamphetamine and is the aspect of the drug that low-intensity abusers do not experience when snorting or swallowing the drug. During the rush, the abuser's heartbeat aces and metabolism, blood pressure, and pulse sore. Meanwhile, the abuser can experience feelings equivalent to ten orgasms. Unlike the rush associated with crack cocaine, which lasts for approximately 2 - 5 minutes, the methamphetamine rush can continue for 5-30 minutes.

The reason for the methamphetamine rush is that the drug, when smoked or injected, triggers the adrenal gland to release a hormone called epinephrine (adrenaline), which puts the body in a battle mode, fight or flight. In addition, the physical sensation that the rush gives the abuser most likely results from the explosive release of dopamine in the pleasure center of the brain.



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