Crystal Meth: The Deadly Crystals

Updated: Mar 1

WHAT EXACTLY IS CRYSTAL METH?


People commonly call the crystal form of methamphetamine “crystal meth”. Methamphetamine, more commonly known as “meth” is a highly potent, highly addictive stimulant that mainly affects your central nervous system. It can come in a lot of forms and be taken in various ways, and crystal is just one of them.


HOW IS IT MADE?


Crystal meth is produced in secret, illegal laboratories, where amphetamine (a stimulant drug) is mixed with other chemicals to give it a stronger effect. Typically, the meth “cook” will extract ingredients from common cold remedy pills and combine them with other substances such as battery acid, lantern fuel, or antifreeze to strengthen their effects.


This process is very dangerous, as these chemicals can be highly explosive when handled. Most of the time, meth “cooks” are abusers of the drug themselves, and end up injuring themselves in making more.


HOW DOES CRYSTAL METH DIFFER FROM OTHER STIMULANTS SUCH AS COCAINE?


Although crystal meth has similar effects to other stimulants like cocaine, they also have big differences in how they work. Crystal meth is a synthetic (man-made) chemical, unlike cocaine, which comes from a plant.


Both cocaine and crystal meth increases the dopamine levels in your system. However, nerve cells respond differently to each drug. Compared to cocaine, which is quickly removed and metabolized by the body, crystal meth lasts much longer, and a large percentage of the substance remains in the body. Because of this, the stimulant effects of crystal meth are stronger and more prolonged.


WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CRYSTAL METH ON YOUR BODY?


As with many drugs, the constant use of crystal meth causes your body to develop a certain tolerance to its pleasurable effects. When this happens, people gradually have to take more of it, up to dangerously high amounts of it, to keep experiencing pleasure from it. This snowballs into addiction and increases the risk of an overdose.


The following are signs that may point to having crystal meth in your body:

  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat

  • Increased activity and talkativeness

  • Memory loss

  • Feeling a pleasurable sense of well-being or euphoria

  • Severe dental problems

  • Malnutrition

Long-term effects of crystal meth may include:

  • Psychosis

  • Paranoia

  • Hallucinations

  • Repetitive motor activity

  • Changes in brain structure and function

  • Deficits in thinking and motor skills

  • Increased distractibility

  • Aggressive or violent behavior

  • Mood disturbances


HOW LONG DOES CRYSTAL METH STAY IN YOUR BODY?


There are a lot of factors that affect how long methamphetamine stays in the body. The effects of the drug on your body can last anywhere between 8 to 24 hours, influenced by how much is taken, the method used to administer it (either oral or through injection), and the overall condition of your body (specifically how well your kidneys and liver function).


ARE THERE MEDICATIONS TO HELP PEOPLE GET OFF CRYSTAL METH?


We require more research to determine the benefits of medical treatment for getting people off of crystal meth. Despite this, we know two medications to be useful in helping to treat crystal meth abuse.


Bupropion is an active chemical ingredient that helps reduce both the pleasurable effects of crystal meth and the desire to take more of it. Another medication is Naltrexone, an FDA-approved medication that functions as an opioid receptor antagonist in the brain. How this works is that it blocks substances that would affect the opioid receptors in your brain, one of which is crystal meth.


WHY IS CRYSTAL METH CALLED AN "UNNECESSARY EPIDEMIC?"


Methamphetamine was developed for nasal decongestants, and is prescribed in low doses for ADHD, and some short term weight loss solutions. However, all of those uses have better counterparts that are not nearly as highly addictive. The prevalence of this drug is ultimately unnecessary when we consider that it has very little clinical use, and largely dangerous recreational use.


According to data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.7 million people have tried methamphetamine at least once. In that same year, 1.6 million people were reported to have used the substance. Methamphetamine remains the most misused stimulant drug on the globe.


In 2017, about 964,000 people aged 12 or older had a methamphetamine use disorder. These people reported clinically significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, or home because of drug use. This number has risen significantly higher than the 684,000 people reported to have a methamphetamine use disorder in 2016.


While according to the 2018 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of adolescent drug use and attitudes, 0.5% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders used methamphetamine within that year. Fortunately, the use of methamphetamine by adolescents since 1999 has significantly decreased. According to the Treatment Episode Data Set, treatment admissions nationwide for methamphetamine abuse went down to 49 per 100,000 individuals from 68 per 100,000 individuals.


CAN PEOPLE RECOVER FROM CRYSTAL METH USE?


With the right proactive steps and rehabilitation, it is definitely possible to recover from crystal meth use.


HOW DO I RECOVER FROM CRYSTAL METH ADDICTION?


There are several ways to help overcome a crystal meth addiction.


For example, there is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations likely to trigger drug misuse. This method revolves around helping people rationalize how their thoughts affect their feelings and behaviors. This method also aids patients in identifying what causes their drug abuse, and to develop a relapse prevention plan.


A procedure called detox may be appropriate in certain cases of crystal meth addiction. Detox centers staffed by medical practitioners who monitor the withdrawal symptoms of a patient offer facilities and drugs to relieve pain and ensure a healthy withdrawal. While crystal meth detoxification is often not harmful, it can cause adverse effects if a person has pre-existing health problems.


Here at Recovery Blvd, we can provide the best cure for crystal meth abuse: rehabilitation and guidance. We gear our recovery facility towards helping people cope with substance abuse and eventually ushering them into leaving it behind completely.


Among our high-quality interventions are:

  • Advanced Relapse Prevention

  • Substance Abuse Counseling

  • Recovery Crossfit


With us, you can build the right foundation and receive the best treatment. At Recovery Blvd, you can have the bright future you deserve, not just for yourself, but for your loved ones as well.


If you would like to know more about Recovery Blvd, please call us at (866) 231-3007. You can also visit our drug rehab center in Hillsboro at 1316 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, to book an appointment.


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Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not necessarily reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. The purpose of this blog is not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case to case basis.


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