Medical Issues

July 7, 2009

Methamphetamine: Symptoms

Methamphetamine users can display a variety of symptoms.  Large doses of meth frequently results in users that appear irritable, aggressive, excited, or anxious with regards to behavior.  Abusers of methamphetamine tend to be violent and mood changes are quite common; abusers of meth can rapidly change from friendly to hostile in a matter of seconds.  Methamphetamine is appealing to drug abusers because the drug produces euphoria, increases the body’s metabolism, and gives the user a sense of increased energy.  Whether meth is smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally, it stimulates the central nervous system and its effects can last between 4 and 24 hours.  Methamphetamine alters behavior in an acute state, but long term use changes the the brain in a long lasting and fundamental manner.  Methamphetamine has the following symptoms on the body:

Short Term Symptoms:

  • sense of well-being (euphoria)
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • insomnia
  • aggressiveness
  • irritability
  • nervousness
  • increased alertness
  • increased heart rate
  • hypothermia (increase in body temperature up to 108 degrees)
  • impaired speech
  • incessant talking
  • loss of appetite
  • uncontrollable movements
  • tremors
  • numbness
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • convulsions

Long Term Symptoms:

  • itchy, dry skin
  • acne
  • sores
  • rotting teeth
  • malnutrition
  • weight loss
  • depression
  • lung and kidney disorders
  • liver damage
  • brain damage
  • schizophrenia like behavior
  • insomnia
  • stroke
  • death

Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • restlessness
  • depression
  • confusion
  • insomnia
  • extreme craving

June 19, 2009

Methamphetamine: The Basics

Methamphetamine, also known as Meth, is an addictive stimulant that is a rising drug of abuse.  Originally, it was marketed as a nasal decongestant, but it is still currently used medically as a treatment of obesity.  Meth is yellowish or white crystal power, but it can appear as a large hard rock.  It has a bitter taste and is odorless.  Methamphetamine can be taken orally, snorted, injected intravenously, or most commonly smoked.  Meth’s most common users used to be adult males with less than average incomes; however, in recent times meth users come from all sorts of economical statuses, ages, and genders.  Methamphetamine abuse is a serious growing issue in today’s American society.  Its use was initially limited to a few urban areas in the Southwest, but it has started to spread across the country from West to East.  More and more people are starting to abuse meth, and our society needs to do something on order to address this drug of abuse.

May 20, 2009

Alcoholism: Complications

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system; for some people this means that the initial reaction may be stimulation.  As you continue to drink, the effect becomes sedated.  Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions and affects emotions, thoughts, and judgment.  Additionally, a heavy drinking binge can even cause a life threatening coma.  Over time, continuous alcohol use can cause fatigue and short term memory loss, as well as, weakness and paralysis of the eye muscle.  Other server effects of alcohol include:

  • Liver disorders: Heavy drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis and inflamation of the liver.  Signs and symptoms can cinlude a loss of appatite, nausea, vomitting, fever, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), abdominal pain, and confusion.  If a person continues to drink for years, hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis, an irreversible and progressive disease that destroys and scars the liver tissue.
  • Cardiovascular issues:  Drinking excessively may lead to high blood pressure and damage to the hear (cardiomypathy).  These conditions increase the risk of heart stroke of failure.
  • Birth defects: Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome.  This condition causes birth defects, such as small head, heart defects, shortening of the eyelids, and an array of other abnormalities.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Alcohol can result in the inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) and an interference with the absorption of the B vitamins, especially with folic acid and thiamin.  Furthermore, drinking heavily can damage the pancreas, which is responsible for producing the hormones that regulate metabolism and the enzymes that digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
  • Diabetes complications: Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver; this can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).  If a person already has diabetes, this can be quite dangerous as that person is already taking insulin to lower their blood suagr level.
  • Bone loss: Alcohol can interfere with the production of new bone; this can result in the thinning of bones and an increased risk of bone fracture.
  • Increased risk of cancer: Continued alcohol abuse has been connected to a higher risk of various cancers, such as cancer of the pharynx, esophagus, larynx, mouth, rectum, colon, breast, and liver.
  • Sexual function and menstruation: Alcohol abuse can result in erectile disfunction in men, and it can interrupt menstruation in women.
  • Neurological issues: Heavy drinking affects the central nervous system; this can cause the numbing of the hands and / or feet, disorders thinking, and dementia.
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