Crystal Methamphetamine

Methaphetamine Drug Pipe

Defining Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth (also known as crystal meth, other terms include ice, clouds, crystal, and glass) is a highly addictive illicit drug that comes with addiction and health risks. While meth is commonly confused with cocaine because of its similar psychoactive side effects, unlike cocaine, a drug derived from the coca plant, meth is a synthetic, man-made substance, white in color, odorless and bland tasting.

Throughout natural daily functioning, the brain releases small amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine, stimulating excitement and pleasure throughout the body. Classified as a psycho-stimulant, meth releases excessive amounts of dopamine, causing an altered state of euphoria and thus, the desired prolonged high. A typical crystal methamphetamine high lasts for up to twelve hours. Because of the directness of the dosage, injection produces a faster and stronger effect, processing the drug more quickly throughout the body. However, although ingestion is more gradual, the effects are just as harmful.

It can be taken in various ways: ingested orally by swallowing pills, dissolving in alcohol, smoking, or snorting as well as injected into the system with needles. Crystal meth is made illegally at home or in a lab, mixing stimulant drugs with various types of chemicals to create a strong potency and toxic endurance.

Side Effects of Using Crystal Meth

Short-Term

  • Alertness
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils

Long-Term

  • Constricted blood flow
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Addiction and Overdose

Crystal meth is an extremely dangerous drug, and addiction should not be taken lightly. Increased use of the drug becomes paradoxical with the decrease of the natural flow of dopamine, resulting in a vicious cycle of addiction. Those who abuse meth are at risk of debilitating physical and mental effects such as:

  • Exacerbation of major organs such as kidney and digestive system
  • Chest pain
  • Tooth decay
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heart attack
  • Death

Any of the above symptoms may lead to overdose if meth is taken in excessive amounts. It is important to watch out for any signs of abnormal and especially erratic functioning of organs. Because of the life-threatening possibilities, if overdose occurs, emergency action is required. The faster treatment is sought, the faster the chance of recovery.

Treatment

While there are currently no prescription drug options available to cure meth addiction, that doesn’t mean it cannot be treated. Treatment facilities such as rehab centers have teams of trained medical professionals and therapists who utilize behavioral and cognitive methods to help you realize that the addiction is the problem, thereby guiding you towards recovery. Because of the high relapse rate of meth addiction, treatment should be closely monitored by healthcare professionals either through intensive outpatient care or care received in the facility.

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