posted on Aug, 21 2003 @ 07:39 PM
What happens if a person uses methamphetamine
for a long time?
Scientists are using brain imaging techniques, like positron emission tomography (called PET for short), to study the brains of human methamphetamine
users. They have discovered that even three years after long-time methamphetamine users had quit using the drug, their dopamine neurons were still
damaged. Scientists don't know yet whether this damage is permanent, but this research shows that changes in the brain from methamphetamine use can
last a long time. Research with animals has shown that the drug methamphetamine can also damage neurons that contain serotonin. This damage also
continues long after the drug use is stopped.
These changes in dopamine and serotonin neurons may explain some of the effects of methamphetamine. If a person uses methamphetamine for a long time,
they may become paranoid. They may also hear and see things that aren't there. These are called hallucinations. Because methamphetamine causes big
increases in blood pressure, someone using it for a long time may also have permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain. This can lead to strokes
caused by bleeding in the brain.
(Not to mention its links with serious crime and lifelong incarceration for young, even short-term users)