Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment and Information
Crystal meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that is developed from amphetamine. The chemical name is methylamphetamine or desoxyephine. In its chemical form, it is referred to as meth. In its crystalline form, it looks a lot like a natural crystal, hence the name “crystal meth.” Other popular street names for the drug include:
- Crystal glass
- Hot ice
- Poor man’s cocaine
- Stove top
The FDA has given crystal meth a Schedule II classification. Physicians write non-refillable prescriptions for this drug at much lower dosage than is used illegally. Legally, meth is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and for weight loss. Its Schedule II classification also means that it is very addictive and therefore has a high potential for abuse. Its addictive properties make seeking out meth rehab centers a real priority for anyone struggling with this type of drug problem.
Crystal meth is also categorized as a stimulant drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The stimulating effects of crystal meth produce an intense high, increased productivity, and exaggerated self-confidence. Once the drug is taken away, crystal meth withdrawal can have a negative effect on the body. Without crystal meth detox in a safe facility with a record of proven, successful results, there are a number of medical risks that could cause harm to the person struggling with abuse.
Use and Abuse of Crystal Meth
Meth can be dissolved in water or alcohol and taken intravenously. It can also be smoked in glass pipes or snorted. Injecting or smoking crystal meth makes a fast and direct impact on the brain. With these methods, users experience an immediate and powerful rush that can last up to eight hours. However, the feelings of euphoria last for only a few minutes. The brevity of the euphoric effects often causes abuse of the drug in order to maintain that feeling. This activity amps up the user’s tolerance level, leading to dependency. In fact, it only takes a small dose of crystal meth to cause a long-term destructive addiction, making it important to seek out a high-quality, cost-effective meth addiction treatment center as soon as possible.
Effects and Symptoms
The stimulating effects of crystal meth make it a sought-after drug for women who want to lose weight quickly, those who burn the candle at both ends, and those who need to be alert for work or school. It is popular among men because it increases libido and heightens sexual pleasure. Others use it for mood alteration. People suffering from the symptoms of depression find temporary relief because of crystal meth’s stimulating effects.
Crystal meth use releases dopamine rapidly in the reward and pleasure regions of the brain. Although the euphoria or high is short-lived, in some cases, the stimulating effects of the drug can last up to 12 hours. As the body builds up a high tolerance to the drug, this relapsing disease begins a cycle of obsessive and compulsive seeking and use of the drug. The cravings can be so overwhelming that they often lead addicts into criminal activity to support their habit.
Long-term use of crystal meth has negative mental and physical effects on the body. Meth symptoms include:
- Extreme weight loss leading to emaciation
- Severe dental problems, also referred to as meth mouth
- Impaired cognition and memory loss
- Kidney, liver, and lung damage
- Neurological and cardiac damage
- Susceptibility to HIV and hepatitis
- Paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, and violent behavior
- Immune system deficiency that hinders the body’s healing processes
Indicators of meth use include the following:
- People using crystal meth are overly active; they may begin to display obsessive and compulsive behavior, often repeatedly performing a common task.
- The stimulation from the drug makes them excessively talkative and restless, unable to sit still.
- They will have rapid eye movement and dilated pupils.
- Profuse sweating is a result of a rise in body temperature caused by the drug. During a crystal meth overdose, the body temperature can rise high enough to cause brain damage or death.
- Visible signs of tooth decay are caused by nervous tooth-grinding, saliva deficiency, and a lack of proper dental hygiene.
- Users experience constant itching of the skin, bleeding, and sores, which take a long time to heal.
- When the drug is not taken, users may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, strange nightmares, cravings, and anxiety.
History of Crystal Meth
The evolution of crystal meth began in 1887 in a German laboratory as amphetamine. Later, the Japanese converted amphetamine into a more potent crystalline powder known as methamphetamine. Meth was not only stronger but also soluble in water, which made it possible to administer it intravenously. Because the drug was such a powerful stimulant, it was widely used during World War II by both sides to help soldiers stay awake.
After the war, use of the drug became even more prevalent. Physicians also began prescribing it for patients with obesity and depression. Anyone who wanted to be alert, such as truck drivers, college students pulling all-night study sessions, and athletes, was reaching for crystal meth. Not surprisingly, abuse and addiction soon reached epidemic proportions.
In 1970, in an effort to address this problem, the U.S. government made crystal meth illegal for most uses. Abuse of the drug declined. Now, motorcycle gangs and people living in rural communities became the primary users. Twenty years later, crystal meth regained some of its appeal when Mexican drug dealers began to manufacture it in high volumes, up to 50 pounds at a time in two to three days. Other, smaller dealers began setting up private meth labs in residential neighborhoods. The drug started to be produced on regular household stove tops: One of the drug’s street names, “stove top,” evolved from this development. The proliferation of these new manufacturers has made crystal meth profitable and more readily available today. At the same time, it has made the need for meth rehab centers even greater as more individuals seek assistance.
Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction
The most effective treatment for this addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is a comprehensive therapy program. Studies show that a treatment approach that encompasses cognitive behavioral therapy, family education, and individual counseling, along with 12-step and contingency management interventions, can keep meth addicts from relapsing.
There is no need to put off meth addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with the symptoms of meth use, it’s time to get help from an accredited rehabilitation program. Just fill out the form below or call us to take the first steps toward recovery.