Crystal Meth Rehab & Recovery Center

Methamphetamine is a popular street drug. The stimulant is highly addictive and can negatively affect the body for a very long time. It is a synthetic substance and has very limited therapeutic use as prescription pharmaceuticals are preferred. Very rarely, methamphetamine is still prescribed to those who have severe obesity or intractable ADHD.

Crystal meth, meanwhile, is methamphetamine in the form of a rock. It is generally blue or semi-transparent white in color. Crystal meth is not a prescription drug but instead, it is an illicit street drug. Other than for drug abuse, it has no other purpose.

How Crystal Meth Is Used

Most users will heat up the crystal meth and then use a glass pipe to inhale the smoke that is produced. Some people will crush it before injecting or snorting it. However, by smoking it, the substance enters the bloodstream much more quickly and this makes the drug all the more addictive.

Statistics on Crystal Meth

Unfortunately, the abuse statistics on crystal meth in this country are grim. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that in 2009, 1.2 million people over the age of 12 in this country had abused crystal meth at least once in the previous 12 month period. Meanwhile, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indicated that some 12 million people in his country had abused crystal meth or methamphetamine in 2011. Meanwhile, some 25 million people all over the world are currently believed to abuse methamphetamine.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) study of 2015, approximately 1.7 million Americans over the age of 12 had used methamphetamine illegally in that year. About 900,000 people stated they had used it in the past 30 days. The study also found that men were twice as likely to abuse meth than women. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) said that 13% of all emergency room visits relating to drug abuse in 2011 were caused by meth.

Meanwhile, according to the Monitoring the Future Study, there was a decline of meth use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders between 2012 and 2015. This is a positive development and it is hoped that it will continue.

How Crystal Meth Affects People in the Short Term

When people use crystal meth, they hope to achieve the long lasting and immediate high that has made the drug so notorious. Crystal meth is generally smoked because its vapor then moves almost directly into the bloodstream and on to the brain. It is a stimulant that affects the entire body. This means people experience strong euphoria almost immediately, after which they become more energized and alert. This can last as long as 12 hours.

Meth has a number of “desirable” effects that users chase, including:

  • A rush, lasting for about half an hour
  • Increased motivation
  • Strong feelings of confidence and grandiosity, feeling that problem solving skills have been increased

Unfortunately, meth also has some very strong undesirable effects and these tend to develop quite rapidly. Using meth even for a short period of time can lead to violent and erratic behavior, particularly if the dose is high. It also leads to significant side effects, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Severe mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Convulsions
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Tremors
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Increased heart rate

When someone consistently abuses meth, it can lead to long lasting insomnia, paranoia, and severe anxiety. Furthermore, people can develop both homicidal and suicidal thoughts, sometimes resulting in people acting out on those thoughts.

Crystal Meth and Tweaking

After a period of abuse, meth no longer delivers the high that users try to achieve. This is known as “tweaking”. At this point, people experience strong feelings of despair and very intensive cravings. This can lead to psychotic symptoms with people becoming delusional and losing touch with reality. When they experience tweaking they are more likely to seek treatment, which is the only positive side of this serious effect. Crystal meth users who have tweaked will usually require mental health treatment before being transferred for detox and, finally, rehabilitation.

After tweaking, people usually sleep for extended periods of time because they have had insomnia and anorexia for a long time. This is known as a crash. Once their body has re-energized, people are often extremely hungry, very thirsty, and continue to be tired. This can last as long as two weeks and must be monitored, as many can develop clinical depression at this point.

It is not unheard of for people to use crystal meth because they are looking for a specific side effect. For instance, they may want to have more energy or feel less hungry. In fact, some people have been known to start to abuse meth because they hope to lose weight and take advantage of the decrease in appetite and increase in energy. Furthermore, libido is significantly increased and some people abuse the substance solely for that purpose.

While these short term effects may seem beneficial, they actually are not. Methamphetamine is a very dangerous drug and the risks involved with it always outweigh any perceived benefits. Meth dependency is deadly, and thus devastates lives and communities.

How Crystal Meth Affects People in the Long Term

When people start to consistently use crystal meth, they can experience many effects, including insomnia, paranoia, and severe anxiety. After continuing to use the substance, it can lead to very strong psychological and physical symptoms. The short term effects of using meth become increasingly complex and intense. Some of the symptoms people could experience include:

  • Persistent psychosis, including hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions
  • Mental health problems like social isolation, anxiety, and depression
  • Odd behavior and confusion
  • Feeling as if there are bugs underneath the skin
  • Body sores, as users obsess over their skin and start to pick at it
  • Breathing problems, found particularly in those who smoke crystal meth
  • Permanent damage to the blood vessels all over the body, which includes the brain and the heart
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Death

When people abuse crystal meth they can also start to age much faster. This is because the chemicals in the drug start to destroy blood vessels and other tissues. It also stops the body from healing itself. As a result, they develop acne and their skin loses its elasticity, resulting in a dull shine. Teeth often start to crack and decay, which is described as “meth mouth”.

Crystal Meth Abuse and Pregnancy

Someone can start to experience crystal meth side effects very quickly and very strongly, and this is particularly true for women who are pregnant. As a result of meth abuse, babies are often born prematurely and they are likely to have birth defects, such as heart abnormalities and a cleft palate. Additionally, because meth users have a serious lack of appetite their babies are often born malnourished. Furthermore, crystal meth enters breast milk, which means babies could be placed at further risk of being affected by the substance.

Addiction to Crystal Meth

When someone uses crystal meth it signals the brain to increase the release of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure and reward chemical. It is believed that this overflow of dopamine is one of the main contributing factors to addiction to drugs. Scientists have suggested that the reward feelings released by dopamine are so strong that using drugs effectively reinforces the idea that the behavior is good, even though the logical mind knows that it is bad.

After prolonged use, people start to become tolerant to the effects of meth. This means that they have to increase their dosage, which places them at greater risk of overdosing. Even if they don’t overdose, they increase their overall dependency, trapping them in a vicious cycle of abuse. When people become persistently intoxicated, the activity of dopamine receptors becomes impaired. As a result, people start to feel less happy and they experience less pleasure. Over time, they can have permanent cognitive impairment.

Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

All types of drug rehab treatments have to stop with a period of detoxification, where addicted people rid their body of the remaining toxins and chemicals from their chosen drug. This leads to withdrawal symptoms, which can range in severity and duration depending on many different factors, including how much was used and how long they have used the drug. Common withdrawal symptoms with crystal meth include:

  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Depression
  • Loss of energy
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems ranging from severe insomnia to oversleeping
  • Itchy eyes
  • Increased appetite

It is very uncomfortable to withdraw from crystal meth, which is why it has a high potential for relapse. However, if patients are properly supervised in a medical environment, the chances of them making it through this period are significantly increased. Once they make it through withdrawal, they are ready to accept more significant treatment, which is almost always delivered through inpatient treatment, followed by outpatient treatment.

Inpatient or residential rehab can be very effective in the treatment of meth addiction. This is because users can, for a period of between 30 and 90 days, focus solely on their recovery without being exposed to the triggers and environments that previously facilitated or enabled their drug use. Outpatient rehab is usually only offered for mild cases of dependency, or as a followup after inpatient rehab has been completed.

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