Methamphetamine Addiction and Abuse
Some people abuse methamphetamine by taking it orally (the way it was originally designed to be taken), but others may inject, smoke, or snort the drug.
Historically, stimulants were used to treat asthma and other breathing problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments. As their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent, the use of stimulants began to decrease. Now, stimulants are prescribed for treating only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression that has not responded to other treatments. Stimulants may also be used for short-term treatment of obesity and for people with asthma.
Stimulants such as methamphetamine have chemical structures that are similar to key brain neurotransmitters called monoamines, which include norepinephrine and dopamine. Stimulants increase the levels of these chemicals in the brain and body. This, in turn, increases blood pressure and heart rate, constricts blood vessels, increases blood sugar levels, and opens up the pathways of the respiratory system. In addition, the increase in dopamine is associated with a sense of euphoria that can accompany the use of stimulants.
Research indicates that people with ADHD do not usually become addicted to stimulant medications when taken in the form and dosage prescribed by their healthcare provider. However, when misused, stimulants can be addictive. In fact, Desoxyn (the prescription version of methamphetamine) is prescribed rarely, due to concerns about abuse or addiction.