Two of the most dangerous and addictive substances on the planet are meth and cocaine. Despite this, thousands of people around the world are living with a cocaine or meth addiction. While neither substance is ideal for human consumption, there is one that is more dangerous than the other.
The Dangers of Using Methamphetamine
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine, commonly shortened to “meth”, is a highly addictive stimulant that primarily affects a person’s central nervous system. Chemically, meth is similar to amphetamine, which can typically be found in drugs used to treat ADHD and sleep disorders. Oftentimes, meth can be found in a glassy crystal-like form referred to as crystal meth.
How Does Meth Affect the Body?
As a stimulant, meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical that is responsible for feelings of pleasure. It works within the brain to reinforce a healthy reward system. However, meth compromises this system. It overloads the brain with dopamine, giving whomever ingests it a “high”. This is part of the reason meth is so addictive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, meth can have a number of effects on the human body. In the short term, meth causes increased wakefulness and physical activity, a decreased appetite, quicker breathing, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. While these issues can be alarming, they are mild compared to the long term effects of meth use.
Long term effects of meth use include:
- Weight loss
- Dental problems
- Itching (often leading to skin sores)
- Memory loss
- Violent behavior
- Changes to brain structure and function
One of the major changes meth can make to the brain is through damaging its ability to release dopamine. The large releases of dopamine from consistent meth use cause the brain to essentially lose the ability to release it naturally. Fortunately, this change can often be reversed overtime — if a person becomes sober and commits to their sobriety.
The Dangers of Using Cocaine
What is Cocaine?
Like meth, cocaine is also a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that affects a person’s central nervous system. It typically takes the form of a white powder. Unfortunately, many dealers and traffickers use this to their advantage and mix other, similar looking white powders with it. Other powders mixed in cocaine can range from harmless additions like flour or talcum powder to more dangerous additions like synthetic opioids.
How Does Cocaine Affect the Body?
As a stimulant, cocaine has a similar effect as meth on the brain. Cocaine forces large releases of dopamine. However, with cocaine, these releases and the high itself are short-lived. To maintain a high for longer periods of time, it requires constant ingestion. This increases the addictive potential of cocaine while also increasing the likelihood of an overdose.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine causes several serious short term and long term effects on the human body. In the short term, cocaine often causes increased energy, increased alertness, hypersensitivity, irritability, and paranoia. The long term effects, however, vary based on how cocaine is consumed, but no matter the method, cocaine can have severe effects on the body, including a potential to develop movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Meth vs. Cocaine: Which is More Dangerous?
Neither drug is safe to use, especially when consumed repeatedly over prolonged periods of time. Meth and cocaine both possess a number of potential dangers to the human body. They can both disrupt the brain’s ability to release dopamine, and both take a toll on a person’s physical well-being. However, because the state of intoxication lasts longer for those ingesting meth and includes a greater likelihood of dangerous effects like confusion, violent behavior, paranoia, and hallucinations, meth is the more dangerous substance.
Have a Stimulant Addiction? Help is Available!
Meth and cocaine are both extremely dangerous drugs. Neither should be used for recreational purposes whether it’s once, twice, or more. These drugs can cause severe damage to a person’s mind and body. However, if a person is living with a stimulant addiction to either substance, sobriety is possible. Through the help of a treatment or rehabilitation facility, those with a stimulant addiction can begin their journey on the road to recovery.
For more information on meth and cocaine addictions and how they can be treated, contact us at Oasis Recovery Center today! Our team of addiction specialists can answer your questions and help find a treatment program that is right for you!