Crystal Meth is the common name for Crystal Methamphetamine, a strong and highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. An extremely abused stimulant commonly known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal - among many other terms - it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol, and because of its strong addictive characteristic has no legal use.
Methamphetamine comes in several forms and can be smoked, inhaled (snorted), injected, or orally ingested. The preferred method of abusing the drug varies by geographical region and has changed over time. Smoking methamphetamine is currently the most common way of ingesting it.
Smoking or injecting Methamphetamine puts the drug very quickly into the bloodstream and brain, causing an immediate, intense "rush" and amplifying the drug's addiction potential and adverse health consequences.
The rush, or "flash," lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting or oral ingestion produces euphoria - a high, but not an intense rush. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, and oral ingestion produces effects within 15 to 20 minutes.
As with many stimulants, Methamphetamine is most often abused in a "binge and crash" pattern, this being one of the top crystal meth abuse signs.
Because the pleasurable effects of crystal meth disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls significantly, users try to maintain the high by taking more of the drug. In some cases, abusers indulge in a form of binging known as a "run," foregoing food and sleep while continuing to take the drug for up to several days falling into a serious and life-threatening crystal meth addiction.
As with many addictive drugs, crystal meth's effects tend to appear fast and strongly. Some of the most notorious and serious effects are:
While these symptoms are just some of the effects the use of crystal meth brings, the signs of meth addiction are particularly stronger. Some of these signs include:
While crystal meth abuse signs are "easy" to identify, it is one of the hardest and most difficult drug addictions to treat. Psychotic symptoms - which are clear signs of meth addiction - can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit abusing Methamphetamine, and stress has been shown to precipitate spontaneous recurrence of Methamphetamine psychosis in formerly psychotic abusers.
These and other problems reflect significant changes in the brain caused by a crystal meth addiction.
Neuro-imaging studies have demonstrated alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning. Studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems identified as clear crystal meth abuse signs.
Because of the severe nature of a crystal meth addiction, the most effective treatments for are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency-management interventions.
For example, a comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities, has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse.
Although medications have proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of a crystal meth addiction or that prolong abstinence from and reduce the abuse and/or appearance of clear signs of meth addiction by an individual using the drug.
Meth addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat, but it can be done. If you know someone presenting crystal meth abuse signs you can help them by seeking the advice and counseling of Professionals in the area. Call us today at (404) 921-0809 for information about available treatment options that can help your loved one recover.