Skip to content

Crystal Meth Addiction

Crystal meth addiction is a huge problem.  This drug is an illegal, synthetic stimulant. It is a crystalline form of methamphetamine, an amphetamine. Users usually smoke it in a small pipe. It is manufactured in foreign countries and domestically in “super labs” for illegal distribution. The high someone gets is a euphoric rush that can last for several hours.

  • This drug is highly addictive.
  • It is a Schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high potential for abuse.
  • Experts classify addiction as a brain disease. Extended drug use changes the chemistry and physical structure of the user’s brain.

Most people mix up methamphetamine and amphetamines, but this is understandable since they are similar in many ways. Methamphetamine, “meth,” is manufactured in clandestine “labs” illegally, using amphetamine as the parent drug. Amphetamine has been around for a long time. It has received a lot of publicity due to its highly addictive nature. This drug breaks down and then is metabolized into amphetamine.


There are some warning signs that a person has become addicted. Their physical appearance can provide some key clues such as;

  • Skin-picking; Meth users are known to pick their skin obsessively
  • They often have open sores on their faces
  • Skin-crawling; Users often complain of skin-crawling, a disorder known as “formication
  • Tooth decay; The tooth deterioration and loss is referred to as “meth mouth”
  • Hair loss and breakage

Side Effects

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

  • Surges of energy
  • Feelings of restlessness and being very talkative
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Enlarged pupils

If taken in large enough doses, a person may become:

  • violent
  • paranoid
  • hostile
  • sick to the stomach (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • blurry-eyed
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • chest pains 

The effects of using crystal meth can last for 6 to 12 hours, depending on how much is ingested. The impact of meth is far more potent and come on more quickly than amphetamine use.

After using this drug for some time, the body of the abuser usually builds up a tolerance. It means that the user must take larger doses to have the same effect. With time, the body starts depending on the drug to function normally. People taking it begin to crave it. Their psychological dependence makes them anxious if they stop using it even temporarily. Some long term effects of using  crystal methamphetamine include;

  • High risk of damaging brain cells
  • Amphetamine psychosis causes paranoia and hallucinations
  • Suppressed appetite causes malnutrition
  • Reduced immunity because of malnutrition and lack of sleep

Some people might experience a binge crash pattern: several continuous days without sleep, followed by a heavy rest.

This drug is a central nervous system stimulant. Some street names include;

  • Crystal meth
  • Crissy
  • Crank
  • Glass
  • Ice
  • Tina

Signs of Abuse – Withdrawal Signals

Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using it.

  • panic attacks
  • extreme hunger
  • depression
  • crankiness
  • nightmares

 Usage Statistics

  • An estimated 964,000 people aged 12 or older (about 0.4 percent of the population) had a methamphetamine use disorder in 2017
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.6 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year
  • An estimated 12.3 million Americans, or 5% of the adult population, have used methamphetamine at least once


Rehabilitation for meth addiction is similar to programs for other substance abuse. However, treating it may require more detox and stabilization. It is primarily due to the more physical and psychological damage. The best programs focus on the person’s issues with group and private therapy sessions. Ideally, possible brain trauma could require treatment as well. Good programs use “evidence-based” therapy. Evidenced-based therapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and pharmacological interventions.

What does meth look like?

how long does meth stay in your system?