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Crystal Meth Addiction
Crystal meth is short for crystal methamphetamine. It is just one form of the drug methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine is a white crystalline drug that is taken by snorting it (inhaling through the nose), smoking it or injecting it with a needle. Some even take it orally, but all develop a strong desire to continue using it because the drug creates a false sense of happiness and well-being—a rush of confidence, hyperactiveness and energy. One also experiences decreased appetite. These drug effects generally last from six to eight hours, but can last up to twenty-four hours.
The first experience might involve some pleasure, but from the start, methamphetamine begins to destroy the user’s life.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is an illegal drug in the same class as cocaine and other powerful street drugs. It has many nicknames—meth, crank, chalk or speed being the most common.
Crystal meth is used by individuals of all ages, but is most commonly used as a “club drug,” taken while partying in night clubs or at rave parties. Its most common street names are ice or glass.
It is a dangerous and potent chemical and, as with all drugs, a poison that first acts as a stimulant but then begins to systematically destroy the body. Thus it is associated with serious health conditions, including memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior and potential heart and brain damage.
Highly addictive, meth burns up the body’s resources, creating a devastating dependence that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug.
Crystal meth’s effect is highly concentrated, and many users report getting hooked (addicted) from the first time they use it.
Consequently, it is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat.
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What does Methamphetamine look like?
Methamphetamine usually comes in the form of a crystalline white powder that is odorless, bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol.
Other colors of powder have been observed, including brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. It can also be compressed into pill form.
As covered earlier, it can be snorted, smoked or injected.
Crystal meth comes in clear chunky crystals resembling ice and is most commonly smoked.
The Deadly Effects of Meth
When taken, meth and crystal meth create a false sense of well-being and energy, and so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. This means the comedown can be severe after the effects of the drugs wear off.
Because continued use of the drug decreases natural feelings of hunger, it is not uncommon to experience extreme weight loss. Negative effects can also include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability.
Other serious effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, use can cause lethal convulsions.
In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure; damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage.
Brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts is possible after prolonged use.
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
- Dilation of pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed
- Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Strong psychological dependence
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy
The Stages of the Meth “EXPERIENCE”
1) The Rush—A rush is the initial response felt when smoking or injecting methamphetamine. During the rush, the heartbeat races and metabolism, blood pressure and pulse soar. Unlike the rush associated with crack cocaine, which lasts for approximately two to five minutes, the methamphetamine rush can continue for up to thirty minutes.
2) The High—The rush is followed by a high, sometimes called “the shoulder.” During the high, a feeling of being aggressively smarter and becoming argumentative, often interrupting other people and finishing their sentences, is common. The delusional effects can result in becoming intensely focused on an insignificant item, such as repeatedly cleaning the same window for several hours. The high can last four to sixteen hours.
3) The Binge—A binge is uncontrolled use of a drug or alcohol. It refers to the urge to maintain the high by smoking or injecting more methamphetamine. The binge can last three to fifteen days. During the binge, it is common to become hyperactive both mentally and physically. Each time the drug is smoked or injected, the experience is smaller until, finally, there is no rush and no high.
4) Tweaking—A potentially dangerous phase to the person using and those around them. Tweaking is a phase of the addiction at the end of a drug binge when methamphetamine no longer provides a rush or a high. Unable to relieve the feelings of emptiness and craving, it is possible to lose sense of identity. Intense itching is common and a the feeling that bugs are crawling under the skin. It is not uncommon to not sleep for days at a time, seeing and hearing things that no one else can perceive. These hallucinations can be so vivid that they seem real and, disconnected from reality, a hostile attitude towards self and others maybe experienced.
5) The Crash—The crash happens when the body shuts down, unable to cope with the drug effects overwhelming it; this results in a long period of sleep for the person. Even after if the stages before have been particularly violent, during the crash one becomes almost lifeless. The crash can last one to three days.
6) Meth Hangover—After the crash, one returns in a deteriorated state, starved, dehydrated and utterly exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. This stage ordinarily lasts from two to fourteen days. Unfortunately this stage re-enforces the addiction, as the “solution” to these feelings is to take more meth.
7) Withdrawal—Often thirty to ninety days can pass after the last drug use before one realizes that they are in withdrawal. First, one becomes depressed, loses their energy and the ability to experience pleasure. Then the craving for more methamphetamine hits, suicidal thoughts may occur.
Unfortunately, it is often the case for most addicts to hit the “withdrawal wall” where they will want to just retreat back into the comfort of their addictions rather than face the consequences of abstinence. This pattern is particularly deadly when the addict is left to their own devices to manage their detox and withdrawal as a solo enterprise. Since meth withdrawal is extremely painful and difficult, most abusers revert; thus, 93% of those in traditional treatment return to abusing methamphetamine.
This is why a medically supervised private residential meth detox increases both the likely hood of successful detox, and also ensures the physical safety of the client by supporting their efforts with 24/7 experienced and caring support staff who have years of experience helping others in exactly the same situation.
As part of our meth rehab treatment model we provide a short course of medication that will help the body through the adjustment phase, gently riding it of toxins. This will make the drug detox as comfortable as possible, helping the client to reach the Primary Care phase of rehabilitation.
Contact us today on the number below, and find a friendly, understanding person on the other end of the line who can advise you what to do next, either for yourself or a loved one.
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