Oral Manifestations Caused by Drug Abuse

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Nicole Macchia
March 14, 2013
Writing II sections 043
Professor Johnson
Research paper draft #1

Oral manifestations caused by drug abuse

“The mouth is the mirror of one’s body.” Depending how an individual may take care of their overall health will eventually reflect on how he/she takes care of their oral region; it does consist of the body as well. If an individual, works out, eats proper nutrition, gets enough sleep and has daily responsibilities, would you look at that person to be put into a healthy bracket, correct? Well what if this person happened to recreationally take drugs on the weekends, would their lifestyle still be considered him/her as a healthy person? What people do not realize is that they may not see themselves as a drug addict but they are a drug abuser. One may not be completely addicted but they are forming a pattern of becoming dependent on a drug to fulfill that “wanting” feeling they have in their head. Drug abuse is a very serious issue in today’s society and what people do not know is that even doing a little here and there can lead to a serious issue. For example if someone with a regular lifestyle happened to come across the drug called Methamphetamine, an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, it could take one time of use to get addicted (NIH 2006). Extended and extensive abuse of methamphetamine has damaging and devastating effects on the orofacial region. This oral manifestation presents itself through a myriad of visible interruptions to oral health such as: Xerostomia, gingival enlargement, dental caries, and periodontal disease.

Methamphetamine also known as “crystal meth” is credited to be one of the most highly addictive drugs. It is a drug that affects your appearance, wellbeing, brain chemistry, and overall health. Meth releases a surge of dopamine, causing an intense rush of pleasure or prolonged sense of euphoria. Over time, meth destroys dopamine receptors, making it impossible to feel pleasure. Although these pleasure centers can heal over time, research suggests that damage to users' cognitive abilities may be permanent (Heringlake2006). Prolonged abuse can lead to psychotic behavior, including paranoia, insomnia, anxiety, extreme aggression, delusions and hallucinations, and even death. Methamphetamine has been around for a very long time and although it appears to be more prevalent now as opposed to back then. “Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany and methamphetamine, more potent and easy to make, was developed in Japan in 1919.”(Drug-FreeWorld2006) The crystalline powder was soluble in water, making it a perfect candidate for injection”(Drug-FreeWorld2006) Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake”( Drug-FreeWorld2006) “High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public” (Drug-FreeWorld2006).

The Chemical structures of Methamphetamine can affect a person’s memory, motor skills, and behavior. With all of these drastic changes to an individual, it can cause harm for themselves and others around them. Methamphetamine's chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine, but it has more pronounced effects on the central nervous system. Like amphetamine, it causes “increased activity, decreased appetite, and a general sense of well-being” (Narconon2010) the effects of methamphetamine can last 6 to 8 hours. After the initial "rush," there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behavior” (Narconon 2010). When a person is using meth multiple times, the drug destroys the wiring of the pleasure centers of the brain making it harder to experience pleasure at all. Studies have shown that these tissues can regrow over time, the process can take...
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