Crystal Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine, also referred to as crystal meth, chalk, and ice, is one of the most addictive drugs available today. It's a powerful stimulant, similar to amphetamine, that can turn your life upside down in a short time.
Is Meth a Prescription Drug?
Although methamphetamine is sometimes prescribed by a physician for disorders like attention deficit and narcolepsy, it's prescribed in very low doses due to its potential for abuse. Methamphetamine can be taken orally, dissolved in liquids, or injected. Crystal meth is often smoked or snorted from a white, odorless powder contained in a pipe or vial. Smoking or injecting methamphetamine delivers the drug quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate, intense euphoric sensation. Unfortunately, this euphoria fades quickly, so users feel the need to repeat the process frequently causing a binge and crash cycle.
Most methamphetamine is created in a controlled environment, then sold on the street. The main ingredient, pseudoephedrine, is often found in cold and allergy medications sold in pharmacies. Some of the other common, frightening ingredients found in methamphetamines include lye; drain cleaner; paint thinner, rubbing alcohol; ammonia; battery acid; lighter fluid; iodine; engine cleaner; and red phosphorous. With this list of ingredients, it's no wonder that crystal meth has such drastic affects on your brain and body.
Affects on Your Brain
Chronic methamphetamine use causes structural and chemical changes in the brain. Imaging studies done on users show impairment in verbal learning skills and reduced motor skills caused by changes in dopamine levels. In chronic meth users, studies show severe changes in the brain associated with memory and emotion that typically lead to problems with cognitive skills. Studies also show that these changes in the brain often persists long after methamphetamine use is stopped.
Chronic and long-term methamphetamine users often experience mood changes, confusion, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Many users also show symptoms of paranoia, delusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, and violent behavior.
Affects on Your Body
Since methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant, even small amounts can produce the same results as other strong stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine. Physical affects on the body include increased physical activity; insomnia; rapid heart rate; irregular heartbeat; increased breathing; high blood pressure; and decreased appetite.
Other common affects of long-term methamphetamine use include severe dental problems, skin sores, and extreme weight loss. These physical affects can drastically alter a person's appearance, making it easy to spot chronic crystal meth users.
Methamphetamine use also raises the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases that can be contracted by sharing contaminated injection equipment and unprotected sex. Methamphetamine alters judgment and promotes dangerous or risky behavior in most users. In a person with HIV/AIDS, it can worsen the progression of illness by causing injury to neurons in the brain which control cognitive functions.
Affects on Your Lifestyle
Chronic methamphetamine abuse usually causes major problems in every area of your life. Crystal meth addiction causes many negative health consequences, as well as lifestyle changes from homelessness to coma and death. Due to the inability to function in a normal lifestyle, addicts often face job loss; divorce; financial ruin; crumbling personal relationships with family and friends; illness and injury due to risky behavior; and legal problems. The devastating effects of crystal meth addition typically leaves no stone un-turned.
Recovery from crystal meth abuse requires professional help from a crystal meth addiction rehab center. It's important to work with trained, experienced specialists who understand recovery and treatment plans for long-term success. Treatment for crystal meth addiction and dependence presents unique challenges compared to other addictive drugs or substances like alcohol.
Since methamphetamine is a stimulant, withdrawal leads to an intense crash which is really hard on your mind and body. Many users relapse rather than experience the discomforts associated with this intense crash period that's intensified by extreme fatigue and long periods of sleep. Crystal meth crashes also cause extreme hunger, severe depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions. Treatment and recovery during the detoxification period are difficult for most users, so professional help and support is critical.
Most inpatient meth rehab treatment takes from 30 to 90 days. After leaving the treatment center, followup programs that focus on detox and therapy are usually necessary. These outpatient services can take several months, often followed by long-term therapy programs to create a stable environment. A professional rehab treatment center offers an environment that reduces anxiety and eliminates triggers that create the temptation to use again.