Your Brain on Meth

Images are powerful – these ones especially. If you’ve ever used meth or have someone close to you that uses and wondered why meth can cause an inherent ability to just stop caring about things, maybe this will help explain. This is a photo of a SPECTscan done on a 28 year old “normal” woman’s brain (left) and a 28 year old meth user’s brain (right). A SPECTscan measures the amount of blood flow to tissues in the body.

Meth brain scan

The subject of this image used meth heavily for eight years – at 28 she’s got visible brain damage. At a glance you can see that areas are literally hollow or inactive. From my research on the subject I was able to glean the fact that meth literally eats away your brain. This plays a big part in the reason why meth users do things that can defy logic. They can effectively lose the part of the brain that would normally be the system of rationale checks and balances. Compounding the problem is the dire need to get high and in chasing that high there is no need for logic; because nothing else matters.

Meth brain scan

The photo above is another SPECTscan of a meth user (details of the subject are unknown) that shows the red areas as parts of the brain that 5% or more or the tissues are actually dead.

There is hope.

These images look scary and are shocking if you don’t know what effect meth has on the brain. There are studies proving that meth can certainly cause irreversible brain damage; however many studies using the same SPECTscan technology show that after prolonged abstinence from meth, areas of the brain can actually reconnect. The dead areas seen in the images can actually be revitalized as the brain forms new pathways and connections.

The human body absolutely amazes me.

Images provided courtesy of Dr. Daniel Amen. For more SPECTscan images from Dr. Daniel Amen – click here.