Crystal meth is an extremely addictive stimulant that significantly affects an individual’s nervous system. Meth is an odorless white powder that dissolves quickly in alcohol or water. It is manufactured in clandestine laboratories using a range of over-the-counter products. While crystal meth is similar in makeup to amphetamine, its effects are much more powerful. It has a number of names on the street, including “chalk,” “speed,” “meth” and “ice.”
Unfortunately, addiction to crystal meth is on the increase in the United States, and the number of people seeking treatment from crystal meth detox centers is greater than ever before, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Methamphetamine has a Schedule II classification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It does have legitimate uses in the medical world, where it is found in medications used to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you believe you have an addiction problem, please feel free to call our confidential helpline on .
In the early 1900s, amphetamine was the primary ingredient in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Up until 10 years ago, a synthetic version of amphetamine was regularly used in diet pills and other slimming aids.
Side Effects of Crystal Meth
The short-term effects of crystal meth are obvious but do not always indicate an individual has an addiction. These effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased activity
- Increased focus
- Teeth grinding
The initial effects of crystal meth last for six to eight hours and are usually followed by a period of feeling down or depressed. The potential long-term effects of crystal meth abuse are much more serious and usually indicate an individual has an addiction. Long-term effects include:
- Respiratory problems
- Significant weight loss
- Rotting teeth
- Aggressive and paranoid behavior
- Irregular heartbeat
Users of crystal meth are often unaware of the potential consequences their drug use can have on their health and general well-being. The fact the drug makes them happy, helps them concentrate and aids weight loss often makes them oblivious to the very serious risks involved with taking it. People also put off seeking advice from their physician or a crystal meth drug center out of guilt, shame, or fear of reprisals from family and friends.
Statistics from 2009 revealed that children as young as 12 had tried methamphetamine, according to the NIDA. A further study in 2010 revealed that 1.2 percent of 8th grade students had taken methamphetamine at least once. Further statistics revealed that people aged between 18 and 25 years of age were the most likely to seek treatment at a crystal meth detox center.
Withdrawing from crystal meth is very different in comparison to withdrawal from other opiates. Long-term users of crystal meth may find themselves unable to experience pleasure during withdrawal. This is because crystal meth use decreases the amount of dopamine receptors in the brain. Other possible withdrawal symptoms include:
- Painful stomach cramps
- Severe nausea
- Shaking and tremors
- Headache or migraine
These uncomfortable symptoms can be challenging for an individual to deal with. It is often the desire to stop the symptoms that makes many people go back to the drug. These symptoms are also the reason an individual should seek advice from a physician or other professional before attempting crystal meth withdrawal alone. Talking in confidence to a doctor or trained staff at a crystal meth detox center will allow individuals to consider the treatment options available to them. If you believe you have problems with an addiction, please feel free to call our confidential helpline on .
As well as being taken orally, crystal meth can also be smoked, snorted and injected. The effects of meth will usually take hold after just five minutes, although people who inject the drug may experience faster results.
Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment
There are generally two options available for individuals seeking treatment for crystal meth addiction. The first is as an outpatient, usually under the supervision of a physician and a drug counselor. The second is as an inpatient, where individuals attend a detox and rehab program as a resident in a crystal meth withdrawal treatment facility. According to CESAR, people who receive treatment in a residential drug program are twice as likely to experience a successful recovery. The main advantage of a residential crystal meth detox center is that individuals are under constant supervision from staff. They also have 24-hour access to doctors, nurses, counselors and anything else that may aid their recovery. Unlike outpatients, a person receiving treatment as an inpatient will be unable to access crystal meth.
Treatment usually consists of a medically assisted detoxification, followed by cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. A medical detox involves the use of safe substitute drugs that the individual can take to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Once the individual has overcome the physical withdrawal process, therapy will address the person’s psychological dependency on the drug. Trained therapists and counselors at a crystal meth detox center will concentrate on helping addicts address their triggers. These are what make the individual most likely to use the drug. The therapist will also teach them problem-solving skills and important coping strategies, helping people deal with any problems in their life safely rather than turning to drugs. If you believe you have an addiction problem, please feel free to call our 24-hour helpline on for free confidential advice.
Most crystal meth detox center programs last anywhere from four to 12 weeks, however, supportive treatment will continue for as long as is needed. According to the NIDA, a recovering addict is most likely to relapse in the first year following treatment, meaning follow-up care during this time is vital.