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Methamphetamine

Glossary

Addiction: A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite serious adverse consequences, and by long-lasting changes in the brain.

Anesthetic: An agent that causes insensitivity to pain and is used for surgeries and other medical procedures.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A disorder that typically presents in early childhood, characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Central nervous system (CNS): The brain and spinal cord.

Craving: A powerful, often uncontrollable desire for drugs.

Dopamine: A brain chemical, classified as a neurotransmitter, found in regions that regulate movement, emotion, motivation, and pleasure.

Neurotransmitter: A chemical produced by neurons that carry messages from one nerve cell to another.

Psychosis: A mental disorder characterized by delusional or disordered thinking detached from reality; symptoms often include hallucinations.

Rush: A surge of pleasure (euphoria) that rapidly follows the administration of some drugs.

Stimulants: A class of drugs that enhance the activity of monoamines (such as dopamine and norepinephrine) in the brain, increasing arousal, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, and decreasing appetite; includes some medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (e.g., methylphenidate and amphetamines), as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Tolerance: A condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect achieved during initial use; often associated with physical dependence.

Toxic: Causing temporary or permanent effects detrimental to the functioning of a body organ or group of organs.

Withdrawal: Symptoms that occur after chronic use of a drug is reduced abruptly or stopped.

This page was last updated September 2013

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This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.