What is Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth is a form of the drug methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline substance that creates a false sense of well-being and happiness. It gives the user a strong feeling of confidence, energy, and even hyper activeness. Users may also experience a loss of appetite. On the other hand, it is also very addictive. What are the Crystal Meth addiction signs and symptoms to look out for? Let’s find out.
How Does Crystal Meth Work?
By using crystal meth, ice, chalk, or crystal, the user makes changes to his central nervous system. The stimulant’s effects usually last between six and eight hours, but in some cases, it can affect the user for up to 24 hours.
How Addictive is Crystal Meth?
Almost every crystal meth user develops a strong desire to continue using from the get-go. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. It creates many withdrawal symptoms the moment someone stops using it. These can include severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, fatigue and intense cravings.
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Crystal Meth Addiction Signs and Symptoms
No matter which route of administration you use it, a meth user will experience a swift onset of the effects. If it worries you that a loved one might be abusing meth, look out for the following crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms:
- When under the influence, the user may show increased physical activity, due to the hyper activeness caused by the drug.
- The user will have an increased breathing rate, due to their increased blood pressure.
- It will elevate the user’s body temperature, which will cause heavy sweating, without realizing that they’re feeling hot.
- Dilated pupils are always an immediate sign of drug abuse.
- An unusual loss of appetite will occur. Eventually, it will lead to rapid weight loss. Narconon.org adds that this is why people addicted to crystal meth usually look thin and malnourished.
- A crystal meth addict can go for long periods of time without any sleep. This can last for several days.
- One of the most common crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms is paranoia and irritability. The person will also appear anxious or nervous.
- The crystal meth addict may show signs of sexual excitement, even for no particular reason.
- A rush of euphoria will be the result of the use. It will seem pretty obvious to those around the user.
- A crystal meth addict’s behavior will be unpredictable. This can be very dangerous for the user, as well as those around him or her.
- It is not uncommon for someone addicted to crystal meth to be doing repetitive, absolutely meaningless tasks.
- Crystal meth addiction can cause chronic diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
- As with other drugs, one of the crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms to look out for is unusual tremors.
- Someone with a crystal meth addiction will usually have bad breath and a dry mouth from inhaling the substance.
- Chronic headaches are usually a sign of a more serious condition or one of the crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms.
- Many drugs share the symptom of unconscionable clenching of the jaw. Sometimes, it’s not just caused by stress, it could be a sign of addiction.
- This may seem unusual, as one of the other crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms are an increase of energy and physical activity. But after it wears off and the user can’t have his or her fix, they will show signs of extreme fatigue.
- It is entirely possible for a crystal meth addict to show signs of violent behavior.
- You can often hear a crystal meth addict wheezing, and not because they are sick or have asthma. However, it’s because crystal meth addiction causes respiratory or airway abnormalities.
- The user’s persistently elevated heart rate, place them at the risk of a heart attack.
- Seizures for no apparent reason? The reason could be crystal meth addiction.
What to Look for Around the House
If you suspect that a loved one, often a child, is an addict of crystal meth, here are a few things, besides the signs and symptoms, you can look for:
- Meth is a white or light brown crystalline powder. You can find crystal meth in clear, chunky crystals (they resemble shards of glass or broken pieces of ice). Note, that the crystals are usually white; however, the strawberry meth with pink or red crystals can also be found.
- Looking for traces of meth use? Look for small bags containing crystals, white powder or syringes.
- Other items to look for include soda cans with a hole in the side, crumpled aluminum foil, or shafts of ball-point pens with the ink taken out.
Are You Addicted? – A Self-Test
Time to question your crystal meth habits? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you using more crystal meth in larger doses than when you first started using?
- Do you ever notice your usages increasing in duration?
- Do you find it hard to stop smoking one you begin?
- Do you feel you need a higher dose of crystal meth to feel the effects?
- Do you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms mentioned earlier when you don’t smoke?
- Have you lost interest in daily life, hobbies or life in general?
- When not smoking crystal meth, do you feel significant stress or inability to function?
- Have you ever tried to quit crystal meth but failed?
- Has your work performance decreased since you started using crystal meth?
- Have you ever lost a job or friends due to neglect because of crystal meth?
- Have you ever picked up trouble with the law because of crystal meth?
- Since you began using crystal meth, have you experienced any of the worrying side effects such as respiratory problems, dental problems, high blood pressure or weight loss?
- Have you ever ended up in the hospital because of crystal meth?
- Do you spend a significant part of the day thinking about crystal meth or how to get it?
- Have you ever tried to make meth shake and bake yourself when the regular supplies were unavailable?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time to recover from the crystal meth’s effects?
- Do you use crystal meth more than three times a week?
Getting Help for Crystal Meth Addiction
If you or a loved one show any crystal meth addiction signs and symptoms, it is time to get help immediately. Invest time in proper research to find the right rehabilitation center for you or your loved one. You should make sure that the clinic must offer the following services:
The patient will go for a period without crystal meth, under the watchful eye of a qualified medical practitioner. He will monitor and treat the withdrawal symptoms.
After the detox, the patient should meet with a counselor to find the right path of treatment.
A counselor should meet with the patient to determine the following:
- How long the crystal meth abuse has been going on;
- How motivated the patient is to kick the habit;
- Support from family and friends;
- The patient’s educational and employment status;
- The patient’s current physical and mental health status.
Once the information is in place, the counselor will be able to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan. This will also determine whether the patient will be better suited for inpatient or outpatient treatment.
There are several therapy methods. The Matrix Therapy Model has become pretty popular lately. This will allow the patient to enroll in individual, as well as group counseling sessions.
You can also use Contingency Management to motivate patients to stay in treatment and work through their crystal meth addiction. This works on a sort of ‘’rewards program’’ where they award the users with incentives for certain milestones.
Addiction is something a person will struggle with for the rest of his or her life. Therefore, it is advisable to find support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and attend the meetings. It also gives the person something to keep busy with. As a result, it will promote abstinence.