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Crystal Meth

Understanding an increasingly popular synthetic stimulant drug.

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Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
What is crystal meth?

Crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) – also know as ice or glass – is a pure form of methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant. Also highly addictive, crystal meth is named for its clear, crystalline, rock-like appearance.

Crystal meth abuse and addiction.

The crystal meth high: Crystal meth is usually smoked, but it can be snorted or injected. Like other stimulants, crystal meth arouses the brain’s pleasure centers, releasing dopamine and, initially, causing feelings of intense pleasure. Crystal meth users report feelings of euphoria, increased energy and power. 

Side-effects of crystal meth: In the short term, crystal meth causes a variety of side effects, including:

  • suppressed appetite
  • mood swings
  • sleep disruption or insomnia
  • anxiety
  • erratic or violent behavior
  • loss of appetite
  • convulsions
  • increased blood pressure
  • irregular heart rate
  • thoughts of homicide or suicide, in some users

Chronic, long-term use of crystal meth results in

  • weight loss
  • psychosis
  • hallucinations
  • 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

Crystal meth overdose can result in hyperthermia, seizures or death.

Crystal meth addiction: Continued abuse of crystal meth destroys the brain’s dopamine and serotonin receptors, making it extremely difficult for crystal meth addicts to experience feelings of pleasure. This reduced capacity to experience pleasure encourages dependence on crystal meth, withdrawal symptoms when crystal meth use is curtailed and, ultimately, crystal meth addiction.  

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

For more information on Caron’s holistic and individualized rehabilitation options, please continue reading about treatment, explore Caron’s programs, or contact us.