Drug Use

What is Crystal Meth?

Methamphetamines or meth come in three main forms; crystal meth, base, and speed. All forms of this synthetic central nervous system stimulant are highly dangerous. The legal, prescription form of the drugs, are stimulant drugs that are used to treat ADHD. They can also help obese patients with weight loss.

The illicit drug forms of meth are usually mixed or ‘cut’ with other substances such as lithium metal, hydrochloric acid, iodine, sulfuric acid, and red phosphorus. These additives are not for human consumption in any form and increase the dangers of drug use of meth in any form.

How Do Crystal Meth and Meth Affect the Body?

Crystal meth or ice as it’s also known is the most commonly used type of methamphetamine today. Crystal meth is the illicit drug form of methamphetamines, which are of the amphetamine drug class. Street names for crystal meth are Black Beauties, Crank, Crystal, Crystal Meth Glass, Hot Ice, Methlies, Super Ice, Tina, Uppers, and Yaba (there are many other street names). Crystal meth is the most potent form of methamphetamine, and it is most commonly smoked, snorted, or injected.

When consumed, crystal meth, a stimulant drug, quickly produces feelings of intense euphoria and elation. These effects generally last between six to 12 hours. The method by which meth is consumed contributes to how quickly, how long, and how intensely side effects are felt. Individuals who take methamphetamine often go on days-long drug binges spurred by chasing the extreme and intense high. Often referred to as “tweaking” they can have insomnia sometimes for three to 15 days.

However, even short-term use of methamphetamines can cause serious physical problems. Meth has detrimental effects on numerous essential organs including the brain, heart, kidneys, and skin. In addition, meth is well known for causing serious problems with the mouth, gums, and teeth.

Methamphetamines interfere with dopamine production in the brain. With long-time use, this can kill and significantly damage the central nervous system and brain cells responsible for dopamine production. Methamphetamines can increase a person’s risk of stroke which too can lead to other brain damage.

Methamphetamines also impact the brain in the substantia nigra area placing individuals at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease. The risk is even greater for women. Long-term meth use increases the risk of ongoing psychosis and hallucinations.

The heart can also be seriously impacted by continued meth use. From irregular heartbeat to palpitations, ongoing use of meth causes damage to the heart which is sometimes irreversible.

Side Effects of Crystal Meth and Meth

While the initial high one gets with meth use and crystal meth keeps users coming back for more, the side effects experienced by methamphetamine users can be uncomfortable and problematic.

Short-term side effects of crystal meth can include:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disruption or insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Erratic or violent behavior
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Convulsions
  • Rapidly moving eyes
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Thoughts of homicide or suicide

The effects of the three types of methamphetamine use vary in part because of the different additives used. In addition, meth is an illicit drug and the additives found are often toxic and harmful.

Long-term side effects meth users may experience include:

  • Weight loss
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Sagging skin
  • Sores on the body from picking at the skin
  • Inflammation of the heart lining
  • Formication (a sensation of bugs crawling on the skin)
  • “Meth Mouth” (tooth decay and cracked teeth caused by tooth grinding and poor oral hygiene)
  • Heightened risk of brain damage, coma, stroke or death

Methamphetamine is a dangerous illegal drug. Using any form of meth can lead to substance use disorder as well as have detrimental health consequences and negatively impact your work, school, and loved ones.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine (Meth and Crystal Meth) Dependence

As the use of methamphetamine grows so too does the rate of addiction. In 2018, 1.8 million people in America over the age of 12 reported using some type of meth in the past year. Methamphetamine use is common among both mature and young adults; methamphetamine users come from all ages, genders, and ethnicities.

If you or a loved one have been using crystal methamphetamine, it’s vital to seek professional help right away. Here are some signs of a methamphetamine-based substance abuse disorder (also referred to as methamphetamine dependence):

Physical Side Effects and Health Problems from Methamphetamine Use

  • Weakened, frail body
  • Sores or acne on the face
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Brain damage
  • Rotted teeth or meth mouth
  • Frequent and intense scratching
  • Skin that droops
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Raised body temperature
  • Increased sex drive
  • Convulsions
  • Liver issues
  • Stroke
  • Cravings
  • Withdrawal Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms from Methamphetamine Use

  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Obsessing over getting, having, and using meth
  • Continuing to use even after experiencing negative consequences
  • Being unable to quit or cut down
  • Stealing or lying to get methamphetamine
  • Engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Spending money meant for other things on methamphetamine

If you are worried that you or a loved one may have a meth dependence, it’s important to know that there is help and many have recovered from dependence to meth and crystal meth after finding the right healthcare and treatment plan. Although you may feel hopeless, with professional help you or your loved one can recover from your methamphetamine dependence too.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine (Meth and Crystal Meth) Withdrawal

Just as with other drugs, the withdrawal timeline of methamphetamine use depends on various factors including, duration of use, frequency of use, method of consumption, amount consumed, time of last use, potency, and other factors specific to each individual. However, there are some meth withdrawal symptoms generally seen. These are:

Physical Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

  • Changes in appetite or weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle aches and twitches or spasms
  • Headaches
  • Intense cravings for meth
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of jitteriness
  • Shortness of breath

Behavioral Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Depression and suicidal ideations
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, delusions

Research has found that the most dangerous of these symptoms are severe depression and developing psychosis from long-term use.

Treatment for Meth and Crystal Meth Dependence

With the right treatment program, recovery from crystal meth dependence is possible. Currently, the most effective dependence treatment for methamphetamine (meth and crystal meth dependence) involves comprehensive cognitive-behavioral intervention coupled with medically-monitored detox.

In addition, support groups such as 12-Step programs can offer much-needed support and the opportunity to form new, healthier social interactions once clinical treatment has finished. When it comes to methamphetamine use, dependent life can seem bleak and hopeless. However, with the right treatment, you or your loved one can recover successfully from meth dependence and go on to live fulfilling, productive lives.

Caron offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for people with substance use disorders including meth dependence. Treatments may include healthcare and mental health treatment as substance users often have co-occurring disorders. Our team of experts compassionately delivers signature and individualized treatment through our specialized and core programming.

At Caron we believe meth dependence recovery is not just possible, it’s probable. Call us today to learn more about our treatment options for you or your loved one. 1-800-854-6023.

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