Crystal methamphetamine, commonly referred to as crystal meth, has become a major problem across the nation. Because the drug can be made relatively easily in underground labs, it is readily available and inexpensive – a combination that draws in users from all walks of life. The substance is highly addictive, which leads to major problems for many people who never intended to use meth more than a few times.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2012 around 1.2 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year. Compared to prior years, the 2012 statistics indicated a small decrease in the number of users. However, such statistics take time to gather, and it has been a number of years since the study. Meth continues to be a significant issue in towns both big and small.
While recovering from meth addiction can be difficult, it is not impossible. There are plenty of people who have gone through recovery programs and managed to move on with their lives after meth addiction. Treatment is available that can help, no matter how bad things might seem right now.
What is Crystal Meth?
The DrugFacts section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine, characterized by its clear,glass-likee color. Sometimes it will be bluish or white. Similar to amphetamine, meth is a stimulant. Other names for meth include ice, speed and crystal.
While amphetamine comes in forms used by medical doctors to treat certain conditions – like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – meth is usually manufactured to be used illegally. It can be made using chemicals that are sometimes available to those who look hard enough, which is why meth labs continue to pop up in virtually every town. Of course, there are larger scale manufacturers as well, many of which are located in Mexico.
How is Methamphetamine Used?
People use meth in a variety of ways, including smoking it, snorting it, swallowing it in pill form and injecting it.
Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction
The use of meth has drastic effects on the dopamine in the human brain. The brain uses dopamine to regulate numerous functions, including motivation, reward, movement and pleasure. Meth quickly releases a large amount of dopamine into the brain, which results in a sense of euphoria in the user, along with increased levels of energy, focus and other effects.
The effects of meth are often similar to the effects of other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine, although there are some variations, and users tend to prefer one over the other.
Negative effects of meth use include:
- Weight Loss – The use of meth results in a loss of appetite. Because regular users may go for long periods without eating, weight loss is inevitable. Some long-term users experience severe weight loss.
- Meth Mouth – Heavy meth users often get what is referred to as “meth mouth”, a severe level of tooth decay. There are multiple reasons for the decay, including the dry mouth that comes from use, poor oral hygiene and the high acidity of meth.
- Intravenous Use Issues – Those that inject meth can suffer from all the problems associated with intravenous drug use, including contracting HIV and hepatitis.
- Anxiety and Sleep Problems – Regular meth use can lead to severe anxiety and a disruption of healthy sleep patterns. The combination of no sleep and increased anxiety can cause confusion and paranoia, and even hallucinations.
- Itching and Sores – Sometimes meth use causes the skin to feel itchy, which leads to intense scratching and the development of sores from that scratching.
- Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease – While many of the symptoms of meth use will go away given long enough, some negative health effects can persist. One study indicated that heavy meth users were at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment Options For Crystal Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that can cause major health complications, but recovery is possible. Many people has successfully managed their addiction by entering treatment programs.
Some of the best rehab treatments for meth addiction include:
- Medically Assisted Detox – While every part of rehab is challenging, sometimes the hardest part is taking the first step. Medically assisted detoxification can help make that first step just a little easier. A medical care provider that specializes in detox can take you through the first stage of your rehabilitation process safely and as comfortably as possible.
- Inpatient Treatment – Residential rehab involves a stay at a treatment facility for a certain amount of time, often 30 to 45 days. Inpatient care is quite effective because you remove yourself from the environment that enabled your meth use. You sleep in a safe space, eat healthy meals and work day after day with care providers who can help you learn to make healthier choices in the future.
- Outpatient Treatment – With outpatient care, you visit a treatment provider at regular times, perhaps 2 to 3 times a week, to go through treatment. Outpatient centers offer group therapy, individual therapy and other services that can help you keep on track as you go about your day to day life.
Find The Right Crystal Meth Rehab
Our team is here to answer your questions and to ensure you get the treatment you want and need. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, please contact us to learn more about treatment.