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Methamphetamine (pharmaceutical referred to as methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine) is a synthetic psychostimulant drug used primarily for recreational purposes.

Methamphetamine (pharmaceutical referred to as methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine) is a synthetic psychostimulant drug used primarily for recreational purposes, but is sometimes prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy under the brand name Desoxyn. (see Legal issues). Methamphetamine is highly psychologically addictive. Large doses of methamphetamine can result in a strong feeling of euphoria at the expense of physical fatigue and a strong "come-down" as the drug's effect wears off.

Methamphetamine is reported to attack the immune system, resulting in increased susceptibility to a variety of opportunistic infections (including MRSA, streptococcus, pseudomonads, and other bacterias and yeasts). This may simply be a result of long-term sleep deprivation and/or chronic malnutrition.

Methamphetamine inhibits pain and increases metabolism, which allows a person to push muscles to points of failure that would otherwise be harder or impossible to reach. (See the article entitled Exercise and Stimulants for a better description of the factors involved.)

Other side effects include twitching, "jitteriness", repetitive behavior (known as "tweaking"), and jaw clenching or teeth grinding.

Methamphetamine addicts often lose their teeth abnormally fast, a condition known as "methmouth"; several factors, including jaw clenching, neglect of personal hygiene by heavy meth users, and dry mouth may contribute to tooth loss. Methamphetamine causes decreased production of acid-fighting saliva and increased thirst, resulting in increased risk for tooth decay, especially when thirst is quenched by high-sugar drinks. Smoking methamphetamine may speed this process by leaving a crystalline residue on the teeth, although no studies have been done to support this claim.

Users may sexually compulsive behavior and may engage in extended sexual encounters with one or more individuals, often strangers. As it is symptomatic to continue taking the drug to combat fatigue, an encounter or series of encounters can last for several days. This compulsive behavior has created a link between meth use and sexually transmitted disease (STD) transmission, especially HIV and syphilis. This caused great concern among larger gay communities, particularly those in Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco, leading to outreach programs and rapid growth in 12-step organizations such as Crystal Meth Anonymous.

Common side effects of methamphetamine include

  • Cardiovascular - Hypertension
  • Endocrinal - Elevated body temperature
  • Eye - Dilated pupils
  • Gastrointestinal - Diarrhea, nausea
  • Neuro-psychological - Euphoria, paranoia
  • Skin - Rash
  • Miscellaneous - Anorexia, insomnia, restlessness, weight loss

Other unwanted side-effects

  • Compulsive fascination with useless repetitive tasks (see Punding)
  • Severe psychological addiction
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Formication (false sensation of flesh crawling with bugs, with possible associated compulsive picking and infected sores)
  • Amphetamine psychosis
  • Erectile dysfunction ("Crystal cock")
  • Long-term cognitive impairment due to neurotoxicity
  • Tooth decay (Due to neglection of hygiene and/or chemicals used in manufacture of crystal methamphetamine; "meth mouth")
  • Damage to immune system
  • Persistent anhedonia with chronic use
  • Staphylococcus infection
  • Death

Severe side effects (with chronic use) include

  • Amphetamine psychosis
  • Clinical depression
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage

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