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What is Crystal Meth and Why is it so Dangerous?

Crystal meth and other methamphetamines are extremely addictive and dangerous to one’s overall health. Currently, there is no real legal use for this substance. There are a number of negative effects that come with constantly using crystal meth. This is why it’s important to be aware of the signs of meth use so you can get help before it’s too late. 

It can be consumed in several different ways (each has differing effects). It goes by a variety of different names and is highly addictive. As with other intense drugs, crystal meth can cause permanent and severe damage to the mind and body. It is crucial to get help sooner than later to avoid worsened health complications down the line. 

Free by the Sea is ready to help you and your loved ones get to a better place. We understand how crippling an addiction can be. We offer a number of treatment options with you in mind. We’ll be discussing the signs of meth use and what you can do to help your loved ones right now. 

What is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is a white, crystalline drug that people ingest by snorting, injecting, or most commonly, smoking. It goes by many names, which include ‘ice’, ‘crystal’, and ‘glass’. Methamphetamine is a stimulant that is man-made. Many people use it illegally to lose weight or deal with their depression. There is only one legal use of meth which comes in the form of a tablet to treat ADHD.  

In low doses, meth can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration, and general energy. The drug also lowers appetite, which causes weight loss. In higher doses, it can induce rapid mood swings, seizures, bleeding of the brain, and cause a breakdown of skeletal muscle. Crystal meth can also increase the chances of violent or even deadly behavior due to the intense mood swings.

How Does Meth Affect the Body?

The powerful euphoric effects of crystal meth make people get hooked almost immediately. It doesn’t take long for someone to get hooked on crystal meth. People who abuse crystal meth experience considerable changes in how their brains function. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), brain imaging studies on chronic methamphetamine abusers found that their dopamine system activity had changed. This surge of dopamine had caused a change in such a way as to seriously compromise their verbal learning and motor skills. 

Researchers have also found that prolonged use of crystal meth can permanently affect brain functionality tied to emotion and memories. There are a number of short-term and long-term effects of the constant use of crystal meth. Some of these effects can be permanent or even fatal if left untreated. 

Signs of Meth Use

It is very important to be aware of the signs of meth use so you can get help in a timely manner. As time goes on so do the harsh symptoms of crystal meth. Being informed and aware of these signs could potentially save a life. Pay attention to the following signs and be sure to get help when needed:

  • Mood swings or angry outbursts
  • Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement
  • Extreme weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Picking at skin or hair in an obsessive manner
  • Borrowing or stealing money to get more drugs
  • Worsened personal appearance and lack of hygiene
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, and overall psychotic behavior
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns (lack of sleep for days or even weeks)
  • Twitching, jerky, and spontaneous movements. Also tics, exaggerated mannerisms, and rapid speaking

Physical and Mental Symptoms of Crystal Meth

When someone becomes addicted to crystal meth, they will begin to experience a wide range of dangerous and uncomfortable symptoms. These can be dangerous and sometimes fatal in some cases. There are both short-term and long-term effects of using crystal meth. 

Short-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction

While short-term effects are not as severe, they can worsen and be uncomfortable regardless. These will emerge regardless of whether the person is just starting to use or has been using. Here are some of the common affects someone who’s addicted to crystal meth may experience:

  • Itchy skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Anorexia
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Twitching
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Numbness
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Long-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction

While short-term effects are problematic it is the long-term effects that are more serious. Over time constant crystal meth use can deteriorate parts of the body and weaken your immune system and overall health. It’s important to get help before any of these effects take hold of the person. The long-term effects of consistent crystal meth use include the following:

  • Strokes
  • Droopy skin
  • Convulsions
  • Increased libido
  • Facial acne or sores
  • Liver damage and disease
  • Rotted teeth or “meth mouth”
  • Intense and painful scratching
  • Thinning and frail body structure
  • A severe increase in body temperature
  • More vulnerable and susceptible to infectious disease
  • Possible fatality

Due to increased libido, users of meth may engage in sexual activity without any kind of protection. This opens the door for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Overall, these symptoms are serious and can lead to death if left untreated. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, no matter how deep in addiction you may be, help is always possible. 

About Crystal Meth Overdose

One of the biggest threats to crystal meth users is the chance of overdose. This dangerous turn of events can be deadly if left untreated. An overdose occurs when someone takes too much of a certain drug. Just like there are signs of meth use, there are signs to spot a potential overdose. It is absolutely crucial to get help immediately if you suspect someone you know may be overdosing on crystal meth. The signs of a crystal meth overdose include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Chest pains
  • Psychosis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperthermia
  • Trouble breathing
  • Slowed or rapid heartbeat
  • Hypertension or hypotension

If you notice any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Overdose recovery depends on how much of a drug (in this case meth) was taken. This also depends on how quickly they are able to get help, it is possible to overcome an overdose but it takes speedy medical attention. 

Treatment for Crystal Meth Abuse and Addiction

There are a few treatment options available for recovering from crystal meth abuse. There are a number of paths to choose from when entering the road to recovery. There is no wrong answer, as long as you are willing to get help and get clean for yourself and your loved ones. Free by the Sea offers many of these treatment options and our staff is ready to help you. 

Detoxification

Detoxification is one of the most widely used treatment options in the U.S. Almost every single case of drug addiction treatment begins with detoxification and crystal meth is no different. Detox is a process that purges the body of a substance (in this case meth). Medication is provided during the process to deal with the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. After detox is finished the person can move on to the next steps of recovery

Therapy Options

Therapy is used for almost every single case of addiction. Behavioral therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two common options for treating crystal meth. Both seek to change how a person views their behavior and the world around them. Group therapy and family therapy can also be beneficial for crystal meth treatment. 

Where is Crystal Meth Addiction Most Prominent?

Though it is difficult to measure the number of crystal meth users in each state, a good way to look at the problem is by meth-related incidents. The states with the most incidents involving meth are Missouri, Tennessee, and Indiana. With this in mind, crystal meth addiction continues to affect thousands of people every year. Whether it’s your or a loved one who is struggling, getting help sooner than later can potentially save a life. It’s time to get professional help today. 

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

Free by the Sea is ready to help you towards a brighter future. Crystal meth abuse can be an intense and incredibly tough habit to break. However, it is not only possible but achievable with the right help. If you suspect signs of meth use in a loved one, now is the time to get help. Free By the Sea in Washington is ready to assist those with an addiction to meth. We also serve residents of Oregon. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and other addiction resources. 

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