Speed Bumps and Meth: What are they and are they real?
Meth is a white, odorless and bitter-tasting powder, which may be in the form of a pill or as a shiny crystal (rock), thus referred to as "crystal meth" as well. Other names for meth include ice, crank, and chalk. It is an extremely addictive drug and is chemically similar to amphetamine.
How does Methamphetamine Work?
Being a stimulant of the central nervous system, meth elevates the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain and nerves. This chemical is involved in hyperactivity and impulse control, high levels of which provide an euphoric "rush".
Why is Methamphetamine Medically Prescribed?
Methamphetamine may be prescribed to treat the following conditions, though this is very uncommon:
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Obesity (if other weight loss treatments have failed)
What are the Side-effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?
Methamphetamine is a drug of abuse, thus prolonged use may lead to drug-dependence especially if it is being used for weight loss. The most common form of meth abuse is snorting it in powder form. Injecting dilutions into the body and smoking it via a glass pipe are the other ways in which drug addicts abuse meth.
Meth initially causes instant euphoria, but that soon wears off and symptoms such as edginess, unexplained anger, anxiousness and fright take over.
Among the many serious psychological side-effects of meth and related amphetamines is developing "speed bumps" (formication, meth sores, crank bugs). These may be defined as "an abnormal sensation as of insects running over or into the skin" or "hallucinated sensation that insects or snakes are crawling over the skin".
It should be kept in mind that meth can be transferred from one person to another through sweat, pores, or sexual intercourse. However, the chances of transfer are not 100%.
What causes this delusional parasitosis is the rise in body temperature and consequent increased blood flow to the skin to counteract it. The sweat that is produced in this process contains an enzyme that further increases blood flow near the skin. However, when the sweat evaporates, the protective coating of oil is removed with it. This phenomenon of dehydration, sweating and lack of sebaceous skin oil causes the sensation of something "crawling" on or under the skin.
The delusion of something crawling or running on/in the skin causes the user to constantly pick and scrape the skin. This may be done via fingernails or some sharp objects. This ultimately results in removal of the upper layer of the skin and gives rise to open, red and often bleeding sores (commonly seen on face and arms).
If these open sores are not treated right away, they become an excellent breeding ground for a staph infection. When this happens, the sores become inflamed and pus-filled. If there is further negligence, the invading microbes may enter the bloodstream, causing deeper sepsis and lesions.
Topical staph infection may be treated with systemic antibiotics. A more severe infection will require more potent antibiotics often administered intravenously, and surgical drainage may also be required in some cases. However, the scars that result from picking the sores are permanent. If meth use is started again after treatment, formation of new sores depends on the amount of time that was spent on formication following most recent use.
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