Crystal Meth Addiction – Side Effects, Street Names & Treatment

Street Names – Crystal Meth

Crystal “meth” methamphetamine is a central nerves system stimulant that is used as a recreational drug. Some of its street names include;

  • Crystal meth
  • Crissy, crank
  • Glass
  • Ice

Most of the people mix up methamphetamine and Amphetamines, but this is understandable since they are similar in so many ways. Methamphetamine, “meth”, is manufactured in clandestine homes, illegally, using amphetamine as the parent drug. Amphetamine has been around for long but meth has received a lot of publicity over the recent years due to its addiction even though the two are very addictive. Methamphetamine usually breaks down and then metabolizes into amphetamine.

Side Effects

After taking the drug whether orally or smoking, the user typically has the following effects;

  • Surges of energy

  • Feeling restless and talkative

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Enlarged pupils

Crystal Meth Addiction Side Effects

If taken in large enough doses they may be violent, paranoid or hostile. They might also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, dizziness, sweating, and chest pains among others. The effects last for about 6 to 8 hours if the drug was ingested and if it was smoked they could last around 10 to 12 hours. The effects of Amphetamines & Methamphetamine are very similar but those of meth are much stronger and they come about more quickly when compared to amphetamines.

Warning Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction

There are some warning signs that a person is addicted. Their physical appearance can provide some key cues such as;

  • Skin picking

  • Addicts are known to pick their skin obsessively. This leaves marks on the skin that is similar to an extreme case of acne and they often have open sores on their faces.

  • Skin crawling

  • They often complain of skin crawling that is a disorder known as “formication”.

  • Tooth decay

  • This tooth decay and tooth loss is often referred to as meth mouth.

  • Hair loss

  • The addicts’ body lacks some vital nutrients and also the harmful chemicals ingested can be the cause of hair breakage and hair loss.

Long term Effects

After abusing crystal meth for some time the body of the abuser usually builds tolerance. This means that the abuser has to take larger doses of the drug to have the same effect. With time, the body starts depending on the drug so as to function normally. They start craving for the drug and the psychological dependence makes them get anxious if they are denied the drug even temporarily. Some long term effects of using Amphetamines or Methamphetamine include;

  • High risk of damaging brain cells

  • Amphetamine psychosis that includes paranoia and hallucinations and other behaviors that are dangerous to others around them.

  • Suppressed appetite causing malnutrition

  • Reduced immunity because of malnutrition and lack of sleep

Withdrawal symptoms include;

  • panic attacks

  • extreme hunger

  • depression

  • crankiness

  • nightmares

Some people might experience some pattern of binge crash, which is characterized by several continuous days without sleep that are followed by a period of heavy sleep.

Rehabilitation for crystal meth abuse is similar to programs for other substances. Treating crystal meth users may require more detox and stabilization than for other drugs because there are more possible physical and psychological side-effects. Good programs focus on the person’s individual issues with group and private therapy sessions. The most effective type of therapy for substance abuse is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Ideally, the brain trauma caused by using this drug, should be considered and addressed as well.

All About Crystal Meth Abuse

Experts now classify addiction as a brain disease. Extended drug use changes the chemistry and physical structure of the user’s brain.

Good programs use “evidenced-based” therapy. Evidenced-based therapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET), as well as pharmacological interventions.

Finding the right facility, which matches the needs of the person, is extremely important.

Drug Facts

Crystal meth is an illegal, synthetic stimulant. It is a crystalline form of methamphetamine (amphetamine). Crystal meth is often smoked in a small pipe. It is manufactured in foreign countries and domestically in “Super Labs” for illegal distribution. The “high” someone gets from smoking it is a euphoric rush that can last for several hours.

Crystal meth is highly addictive. It is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high potential for abuse.

(images courtesy of Dept. of Justice ) and NIH

 

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