Crystal Meth is really a powerful and extremely addicting substance that can lead to severe psychological and physiological dependence. It is a man-made stimulant that is often abused for its euphoric effects. Crystal Meth is also known for its street term “ice” because of its crystal appearance that resembles ice or glass pieces.
An odorless and colorless substance, Crystal Meth is smoked, snorted and/or injected by its drug abusers. Crystal meth is illegally manufactured as a street drug made in labs where over-the-counter drugs are being chemically altered. Other street names for methamphetamine or crystal meth include Chicken Feed, Biker’s Coffee, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Ice and Batu.
A condition coined as “Meth Mouth” is used to refer to that state wherein crystal meth users and addicts tend to lose their teeth quickly and abnormally. It is characterized by an advanced tooth decay due to heavy methamphetamine use. It coincides with bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding where the tooth enamel produces wear and cracks; open mouth when sleeping; and hyposalivation, or dry mouth.
Additionally, while under the influence of methamphetamine, users show extreme sexual behavior due to increased sexual pleasure and libido. The drug may also cause an ability to consume extended durations of time for sex and an inability to achieve orgasm. Having all these effects, the use of the drug may then, lead to irresponsible sex which can spread sexually infectious diseases. The drug is also said to cause erectile dysfunction brought about by vasoconstriction or constriction of the blood vessels.
The drug is known to cause erratic and violent behaviors among its users, along with mood swings and unpredictability, unusual sleeping behaviors, suppressed appetite, tremors, convulsions, irregular heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Many Crystal Meth addicts also experience prolonged anxiety, insomnia and paranoia and even start to have suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
Signs of chronic dependence on Crystal Meth include psychosis and hallucinations, severe weight loss (“he looked like a walking skeleton,” as the mother described her son when he was at the worst stage of his addiction to crystal meth), tooth decay and cracked teeth, and body sores caused by the users’ constant picking at their skin (probably due to the abnormal skin sensation that makes them feel as if bugs are crawling on their skin).
Prolong use of Crystal Meth can cause long term effects such as brain damage that can lead to stroke, coma or even death. And this is why the mother I talked to is happy that there’s hope for her son to be saved now that he will be receiving Crystal Meth rehab.
Methamphetamine — also known as crystal meth—is an extremely powerful stimulant drug that severely impacts both the body and brain. The drug comes in powder form that is odorless, tasteless and is easily dissolved in water or alcohol. While the drug is commonly manufactured is large (and often illegal) laboratories, crystal meth is also manufactured is smaller clandestine labs such as abandoned houses, warehouse, and basements. Additionally, the drug can also be created through a method called the shake and bake method. With this method, people can mix the key ingredients in an empty two-liter bottle of soda.
What is Crystal Meth Made Of?
Crystal meth is a drug which is comprised of a variety of chemicals that are extremely toxic, flammable, and are easily found at home or bought. The main ingredient of methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, which is the active ingredient in many cold medicines. Depending on how its manufactured, methamphetamine can be made of a variety of ingredients. Some of these ingredients can include red phosphorus, toluene (paint thinner), sulfuric acid and acetone among others.
The drug can look bluish-white in color and has the appearance of glass fragments. The drug can be snorted, smoked, orally or injected, and the amount of time users feel the effects depends on the route of administration. Those who inject the drug can feel the effects within 15-30 seconds while oral administration can take several hours on average. Smoking crystal meth is the most common route of administration, and users can experience a high that can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
The Short-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use
No matter the method of administration, crystal meth users experience increased mental alertness, greater physical activity as well as a significant decrease in appetite. Since it is a powerful stimulant, crystal meth users will experience rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Additionally, users can experience increased attention, euphoria and an increase in body temperature. For those who take large doses of the drug, the chances of overdose and death dramatically increase.
The Long-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use
For those who abuse the drug long-term, the effects are profound. Because of the harsh chemicals that are used, users will experience significant physical issues. Meth issue constricts blood vessels which ages a user’s skin. Additionally, users will develop abscesses and sores as a result of long-term crystal meth use. Users often pick at our scratch their skin, which makes matters worse.
Psychologically, long-term meth use causes significant anxiety, confusion, wide swings in mood and at its worse violent behavior. Users often develop intense paranoia as well as visual and auditory hallucinations. Even if someone quits using methamphetamine, the psychological effects can linger for several years. Users can also experience prolonged episodes of psychosis, meth mouth (rotted teeth as a result of the drying of tooth sockets), hair loss, severe weight and memory loss coma and even death.
Getting Help for Crystal Meth Addiction
Like many people who try drugs, those who first try crystal meth don’t intend on becoming addicted to the drug. They first start using the drug in an experimental fashion in social gathering in order “to see what it is like”. However, casual use of crystal meth develops into full-blown addiction in a short period of time. Once someone is addicted to meth, the effects of them, their family and their friends are devastating.
If you or a loved one is addicted to crystal meth, you need to seek professional help immediately! While it may seem easier to detox on your own, sudden withdrawal from crystal meth can be extremely harrowing and unpleasant. If you are also addicted to other drugs or have underlying medical issues, the withdrawals you experience can become life-threatening.
It is important to find a reputable drug treatment facility that features medical detoxification. Through the use of medications, you or a loved one can gradually withdraw from crystal meth in a safe and controlled environment. Once you are physically and psychologically stable, you can enter an intensive drug treatment program to help address the underlying roots of your crystal meth addiction.
Through individual and group therapy, 12-step support, life and coping skills training and a wide array of traditional the holistic therapies, you or your loved one can gain the tools and support they need to overcome their addiction and get on the road to recovery. After formal treatment has concluded, aftercare programs such as intensive outpatient and sober living can help you or a loved one strengthen their relapse prevention program as you transition back into normal life.