Crystal Meth is a powerful stimulant that produces heightened feelings of alertness, focus, and euphoria. It’s short for crystal methamphetamine which is a white crystalline drug that can be snorted, smoked or injected. Due to its powerful effects, the development of crystal meth addiction is common among many.
It also goes by other street names as “speed”, “ice”, “glass” or “crank”. It is a highly powerful and addictive central nervous stimulant that was originally formulated during the World War II era. It has spawned a major epidemic across the U.S. and there has been a massive surge of meth lab seizures, predominantly in the Midwest, where the drug remains the most prevalent. It also remains a large problem in western states and parts of the south.
Much of the meth consumed in the United States is manufactured in pocket labs across the country and in “super labs” in Mexico where federal regulations on the precursor chemical Ephedrine are more lenient. Currently, China is the primary supplier of chemicals used to make meth around the world (80 percent).
Methamphetamines are cheaply made using various household products, all of which by themselves are dangerous to ingest. The primary ingredient used to manufacture meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, both of which are found in numerous cold remedies. Other ingredients used to make meth include lye, anhydrous ammonia and red phosphorous.
It is a highly powerful stimulant that produces heightened feelings of alertness, focus, and euphoria.
How Does Crystal Meth Work in the Brain?
Crystal meth boosts the release of stops the reuptake of the brain’s pleasure chemical, dopamine into the brain. This results in dopamine buildup and causes the user to feel an intense sense of confidence, wakefulness, and euphoria. Typically, dopamine is released in response to rewarding activities which the user enjoys like eating food, sex, or playing sports.
After an addict has abused crystal meth for a prolonged period of time, they eventually build up a tolerance to the drug and it will require a higher quantity of the drug to produce the same effect as it did before. Upon stopping use abruptly, the user will crash and often feel symptoms of depression and extreme fatigue because their brain is currently incapable of producing dopamine naturally as much as it used it. This does heal with time.
Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction
Signs and symptoms of meth addiction vary depending on how long the addict has been abusing the drug, how often they abuse it and the quantities they are using. Some symptoms will vary depending on each person’s genetic makeup and in cases where co-occurring mental health disorders are present, the symptoms of these could greatly intensify. Some signs of meth addiction include:
- Isolated from family and friends
- Lack of appetite
- Hostile or violent behavior
- Extreme mood swings
- Shakiness or trembling
- Decayed teeth (“meth mouth”)
- Dilated pupils
- Lack of physical hygiene
- Dry or scabby skin
- Severe paranoia
- Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Audio and visual hallucinations
Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
Coming down from meth is very intense and detoxing from the drug can be very psychologically painful. It is not life threatening, but is best done under medical supervision to ensure the patient is properly treated. Many people who abuse meth for prolonged period of time and try to get off it may show signs of some mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia. This drug has a profound impact on the brain and it is important that a patient seek detox under medical supervision to ensure whether or not co-occurring mental health disorders are present. Some signs of crystal meth withdrawal include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood swings
Medical Effects of Long-Term Abuse
People who use crystal meth for a prolonged period of time rarely take proper care of themselves and could eventually undergo numerous medical complications if they do not seek the proper crystal meth addiction treatment for their condition. If meth addiction persists, it could eventually result in some of the following:
- Severe tooth decay (meth mouth)
- Skin infections or abscesses (if injected)
- Cardiorespiratory problems (heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure)
- Mental health complications
Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment at Morningside Recovery
At Morningside Recovery, we understand the dangerous effects of crystal meth addiction and abuse. We offer a variety of addiction rehab programs and dual diagnosis treatment options to help clients discover the root of their addictions. If you’re ready to find treatment for your addiction, call us today at 855-416-8202.
“This place allowed me to excel at an intellectual, emotional level that I couldn’t have accomplished outside this place. I made a breakthrough with my sexual abuse. I have an impulse issues that drive everything in my life. I learned how to use a cognitive wheel to process my thoughts and decide how to react.” – Travis T., Morningside Alumni
“I was totally spun out. The stuff I was getting wasn’t working anymore. I felt like my skull was gonna crack. Even though I couldn’t think straight I knew one thing, that I wanted help. After detoxing and then joining treatment at Morningside, I look back on the stuff I was doing and shake my head. I’m so grateful that I got off that stuff before the damage got too bad.” – Morningside Alumni