Drug addiction generally conjures up images of people hooked on illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin. However, with more and more illegal drugs appearing on the streets, it is not uncommon for individuals to develop devastating drug addictions to other substances. One such substance that has been hitting the headlines recently is methamphetamine, or meth as it is also known. This potent drug is a stimulant that creates a feeling of exhilaration and heightened energy levels in the user. Nonetheless, it can also produce feelings of confusion, aggression, paranoia, and agitation.
Meth is an extremely addictive drug that is available in a number of forms, with crystal meth probably being the most well known. Crystal meth is similar to crack cocaine in that it is smoked and produces intense highs followed by a severe comedown.
Meth is also available in tablet or powder form and can be snorted, smoked, swallowed or injected.
Are you worried that you or someone close to you is addicted to crystal meth? Help is at hand. In the below passages we explain a little about crystal meth, what to look out for and how we can get you or a loved one the best possible treatment.
What Is Crystal Meth Addiction?
Crystal meth is an amphetamine, a stimulant that acts on the brain and the nervous system. It’s the crystalline form of methamphetamine and, as mentioned above, can be snorted, injected or taken orally. Methamphetamine that is smoked is known as ice. Crystal meth is a long-lasting drug with an intense stimulant effect that inspires a feeling of self-confidence. This, together with its inexpensive cost, makes it extremely powerful and addictive. Using crystal meth brings on a feeling of euphoria and a perceived sharpening of focus. Alternative names for crystal meth include glass, cristy, speed and chalk.
How Meth Affects Users
Meth causes the user to experience intense feelings of happiness and euphoria. Those who take it may feel energised and alert but they may also become agitated and aggressive. Meth users might experience increased levels of arousal coupled with reduced inhibitions, which may lead to them engaging in unprotected sexual activity.
It is common for meth users to have decreased appetite, raised blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. The effects are greater the higher the dose, which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Unlike crack cocaine, the effects of meth last for a long time – around four to twelve hours. Nevertheless, just like crack cocaine, the intense high is usually followed by a severe come-down.
Repeated use of meth can result in addiction while long-term use can lead to insomnia, confusion, anxiety, mood disturbances, and aggressive or violent behaviour. Some long-term users will display psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.
There are also a number of physical effects of long-term meth use, including severe dental problems, extreme weight loss, and skin sores caused by intense scratching. The dramatic difference in physical appearance can be seen in just months of meth use, with users looking much older than they actually are as a result of using the drug.
Dangers of Meth
There are many dangers associated with meth, including mental and physical health issues as well as the risk of addiction. However, the manufacturing process of meth has other devastating consequences. This drug is typically created in illegal laboratories around the world and those who make it need to extract the ingredients from other sources such as common cold and flu remedies.
During the extraction process, the extracted ingredients are ‘strengthened’ with other chemicals that can include antifreeze, battery acid, and drain cleaner. As you would expect, creating meth is extremely dangerous because of the potentially explosive chemicals being used. It is not uncommon for those making the drug to be severely burned or killed in the process.
Those living near to an illegal meth lab are in danger of being exposed to harmful toxins and chemicals, and there is also an added risk because of the toxic waste produced. Meth production creates five times more waste for every pound of meth produced.
Summary of the Signs, Symptoms and Risks of Crystal Meth Addiction
Look out for hyperactivity, irritability, weight loss, welts on the skin, involuntary body movements, and prolonged periods of sleep (crashing) in your loved one. Also ask yourself if he or she is showing signs of aggression; after the initial ‘rush’, there is typically a state of high agitation that in some individuals can lead to violent behaviour. Crystal meth can also lead to anxiety and paranoia and, in extreme cases, psychotic illnesses. Meth users can experience frightening visual and auditory hallucinations. It is a deadly drug that’s detrimental to the central nervous system. Overdosing on crystal meth can result in stroke, and lung and kidney damage, coma and death.
Types of Meth Abuse
Those who take meth are prone to varying degrees of abuse, which includes low-intensity abuse, binge abuse, and high-intensity abuse.
Some people can take meth without becoming addicted. They may snort or swallow the drug recreationally or take it in order to stay awake for longer. Some take it because they like the fact that it reduces their appetite. However, they still exercise some measure of control over their meth use.
Binge meth users tend to take high doses frequently, such as every weekend when partying with friends. They can go for days without using the drug, although they are at risk of developing a more serious habit the more they take the drug.
High-intensity meth use is another name for meth addiction. Those affected become consumed by their need for the drug, to the point where nothing else in their lives matter. They have become tolerant to the effects of the substance and need to continuously take more in order to experience the intense high. The more they take, however, the greater the risk of serious health problems or death due to overdose.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
A meth addiction is a devastating illness that can have serious implications for those affected as well as for those around them. This drug is very powerful and will cause a number of issues including physical and mental health problems, damage to relationships, and financial hardship.
Individuals with a meth addiction may find it hard to hold down a job as the effects of their addiction quickly become apparent. Their intense compulsions may lead them to neglect family members and friends and their desperation to get their hands on the cash to fund their habit may result in them becoming involved in criminal activity.
The good news is that this destructive illness can be treated in the same way that any other addiction can be. Here at Addiction Helper, we offer advice and information on all types of addiction and can provide support to those affected as well as to their family members and friends.
If you or someone you love is struggling to cope with a meth addiction, contact us today for advice and support as well as information on the next steps. Our professional staff are waiting to hear from you and will deal with your case in the strictest confidence. We have a team of highly skilled counsellors and therapists with experience in dealing with meth addiction as well as other addictions.
We will provide you with free, confidential advice in addition to a comprehensive assessment if you wish. We can then refer you to a suitable treatment provider based on your individual needs and circumstances. Contact us today for further information on how we can help.