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The devastating effects of methamphetamine have triggered the concerns of medical practitioners who are totally unprepared in providing treatment to long term meth users. Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that produces physiological changes and long-term neurological damage. An increase in the heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and body temperature occurs when this stimulant is smoked, injected, snorted or taken orally. A strong preference for this drug may be due to its ability to boost energy and suppress appetite which will lead to an increase in work stamina and decrease of unwanted weight.

A feeling of “rush” or “high” lasting for more than 12 hours makes this drug popular among young adolescents. The article made a comparison between cocaine and methamphetamine in terms of its effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine. The presence of dopamine in the brain triggers the feeling of pleasure, aggressiveness, irritability and schizophrenic-like behavior but each drug releases dopamine in different ways. While cocaine does not directly stimulate the release of dopamine as it prevents the normal recycling of the chemical messenger, meth elicits the excessive release of dopamine when it gets into the nerve cell.

The abuse of meth does not only lead to heart damage, stroke and psychosis; its long term neurological effect causes the decrease or loss in the number of dopamine transporters which accounts for the slowness in motor skills as well as poor verbal and memory performance similar to the impact of Parkinson’s disease. While scientist are still in the process of unraveling the treatment and cure for the brain damage caused by meth abuse, behavior therapy is the sole treatment available for meth addicts due to the absence of pharmacological treatment.

The Matrix model, a method of outpatient cognitive-behavioral therapy uses a four to six month approach with a minimum of three groups of individual therapy sessions per week. This method uses family therapy, urine testing and 12-step activities wherein patients are taught about their addition and trained to manage cravings and avoid risky activities that could trigger relapse. Currently, some treatment approaches are still being evaluated and medications that may reverse some of the neurological damage and cognitive impairment caused by methamphetamine use are under clinical trial. Thesis

The article, “Beating an Addiction to Meth” focuses on the health effects of methamphetamine abuse, the medications under clinical trial as well as the approaches that are currently undertaken for treating the addiction. The article provided enough information on the effects of methamphetamine to our health. It also mentioned about the challenges in finding a treatment to reverse the neurological damage and cognitive impairment resulting from the long term substance abuse. The purpose of the article was clearly indicated as the author provided sufficient information about the serious medical complications, e. g.

heart damage, stroke and psychosis and neurological damage that results in slowness in motor skills and poor performance on verbal and memory tasks. In addition, the article also mentioned about the lack of pharmacological treatment and the practice of using the Matrix model as one of the approaches in drug rehabilitation. Evaluation The author does not take a stand nor expresses her own opinion about her subject. The topic sentence has provided the reader with a generalized view of the article’s content. The information that one can derive from the initial sentence allows the reader to have a glimpse of the purpose of the paper.

Although the topic sentence has touched on the health effects of meth abuse and the manner of treating the addiction, it did not specifically mention about the stimulant’s effect on the brain that has led to serious health concerns as well as the treatments that are available to the users. Instead, such information was found in the subtitle, “Researchers zero in on brain effects, treatment approaches”. Since the informative article is not a research paper, the writer Julia Summerfeld, has maintained a writing style that captures the attention of the reader through its subtitle heading instead of the topic statement.

Without the subtitle, the title, “Beating an addiction to Meth” may not be appropriate for this article as it gives an impression that the article is all about prevention rather the cure. There was a good flow of discussion in the article as it begins with stating the reasons for the popularity of the drug. There was also a comparison between meth and other stimulants in terms of its effects on the brain. Then, a huge portion was spent on the challenges in finding an effective drug dependency treatment as well as pharmacological cure to the neurological damages resulting from the abuse of methamphetamine.

While the initial portion of the article offered alarming information with regards to the damaging effect of meth, the article ended with a hope that the future may be bright for meth users as various rehabilitation approaches are under study and medications are undergoing clinical trial. Lesson Learned/Message The article is a wake-up call to the entire nation to pool all its resources together in strengthening the anti-drug campaign program. Although a cure may be realized in the future, the length of treatment as well as its effectiveness in reversing the damages that the drug has produced will remain uncertain.

Prevention is always better than cure. If meth addiction will not be controlled, the nation will require a bigger budget for the rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents. In addition, a number of citizens will have a neurological related disability marked by poor motor skills and poor verbal and memory performance which is similar to the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Methamphetamine is a popular drug for those who may desire to lose their excess weight while remaining energetic.

While many users are enjoying the ecstasy that this stimulant provides, others may be unaware about its damaging effect to the brain. The article has sent two important messages to the readers – a message of fear that methamphetamine can cause permanent disability and a message of hope that modern medicine will unveil a better treatment for meth addiction in the near future. Reference Summerfeld, J. (n. d. ). Beating an addiction to meth. Retrieved March 29, 2009 from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/3076519/

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