Crystal meth is another name for methamphetamine, a highly addictive Schedule II stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It was developed in the early 20th century for use in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. It gives users a heightened sense of well-being or euphoria. These pleasurable feelings are one reason why users continue using the drug, often for several days without stopping. This, in turn, leads to dependence, and people quickly develop a tolerance to the drug.

What is Meth and Why is it Addicting?

Crystal meth or meth, known as crystal methamphetamine, is a dangerous and highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. It looks like crystals and can be clear crystal-like chunks or have a hint of shiny blue-white, so it may be called ice or glass, and it is illegal.

Common ways to use meth include smoking, snorting, or injecting. Individuals who use this drug describe feeling a sudden rush or feeling of euphoria. However, it causes severe damage to your body and leads to several psychological issues.

This rush or feeling of euphoria is what gets individuals addicted to this drug. Users have reported feeling extremely confident and energetic. Once the drug is in a person’s system, the chemical known as dopamine rushes to the brain’s parts that control pleasure. To feel that rush again, users will recreate the feeling by using over and over again, leading to addiction.

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The more someone uses meth, the higher their tolerance level becomes, and they soon require a higher dosage to get the same euphoric feeling. The risk factor grows with each added dose, and the higher the amount receives, the higher the risk gets.

What Does Meth Do?

Meth affects the body in several ways, including:

  • Elevated body temperature to the point of death or passing out.
  • Extreme anxiety, confusion, mood swings, inability to sleep, and violent behavior.
  • Appearance changes: skin becomes dull, dry mouth, teeth rot, break, or become stained, sores that have trouble healing, and pimples.
  • Feelings of paranoia. This can be anything from seeing or hearing something that is not there, having thoughts of hurting oneself or someone else, to feeling as if insects are crawling on or under the skin.
  • Higher risk for HIV/AIDs as judgment is impaired. Risky behavior and unsafe sex increases as inhibitions are lowered.

Signs of Meth Use

Here are some signs that can indicate an individual is using meth.

  • Personal appearance and grooming is unkempt
  • Picking hair or skin obsessively
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid eye movement and dilated eyes
  • Sleeping patterns are strange, ranging from staying up for days to even weeks at a time
  • Twitching, jerky body movements, and facial tics
  • Excessive talking
  • Animated mannerisms that are exaggerated
  • Angry bursts, mood swings, and violent behavior
  • Borrowing money, stealing, or selling items
  • Hallucinations and paranoia

Overdosing on Meth

Is it possible to overdose when using crystal meth? Yes, it is. An overdose occurs when too much is taken, and a toxic effect happens, which often leads to death. The use of meth caused fifteen percent of drug overdoses in 2017. Fifty percent of these deaths also dealt with an opioid known as synthetic opioid fentanyl. Frequently, these are added without the knowledge of the user. When an overdose occurs with crystal meth, it often results in a stroke, heart attack, or organ failure. To treat this, first responders and emergency room professionals must attempt to treat the conditions. If it is a stroke, they must restore blood flow to the affected part of the brain. If it is a heart attack, they must restore the blood flow to the heart. If it is organ failure, they must find a way to treat the problems.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Recovering from meth addiction is difficult, but it is possible and can be done. There are currently no medications available to help with treatment, but two options have helped with recovery. One option is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps patients recognize possible scenarios that would trigger use. They learn to recognize these patterns and find a way to cope.

Another option is motivational incentives in the form of a voucher or small prize to encourage the individual to stay drug-free, known as contingency management. Researchers are working on other possibilities to develop medications to help with recovery. Such medicines include vaccines and noninvasive stimulation to the brain utilizing magnetic fields.

During meth addiction recovery and treatment, it is essential to work with a professional or treatment center to support the process. Detox is necessary when addressing addiction to methamphetamines. The drug will need to be cleared from the body entirely as the body will need to relearn how to function without meth. The psychological impact will also need to be addressed. Someone must recover in mind, body, and spirit to begin living free of active addiction and without the compulsion to use meth.

Are you or a loved one struggling with a meth addiction? You are not alone. We are here for you, and we are here to help.