Crystal Meth Problems are Medical in Nature
Crystal methamphetamine – or crystal meth – is the illicit, crystalline form of methamphetamine. Meth is a powerful central nervous stimulant with highly addictive properties. When you smoke the crystals…addiction can occur after the first hit. But this does not mean that you are weak. Meth addiction is a medical issue. We’ll explore more as you continue reading.
In this article, we explore crystal meth addiction and its treatment. We’ll talk about diagnosis and common stages of treatment. Finally, we end with a section for your comments and questions at the end of the page. We love to hear from our readers. So, if you are struggling…please reach out!
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Crystal Meth Addiction can be treated medically.
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How Many People are Addicted to Meth?
In the U.S., reports indicate that approximately 600,000 people use methamphetamine every week. In fact, in some areas of the country, methamphetamine addiction outpaces the rates for both heroin and cocaine. These numbers simply indicate that if you have a problem with meth…you are not alone! If you’re ready to quit, medical treatments can help.
What is Crystal Meth Addiction?
Crystal meth addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease. It is characterized as a powerful need for crystal meth’s effects combined with feelings of profound panic, pain, and desperation at the thought of running out of the drug. Most users want to quit using and hate what the drug does to them and everyone around them.
Addiction is identified by:
- Loss of control when using a drug.
- Continued use of a drug, despite the harm it does.
- Extreme drug cravings.
Once crystal meth addiction has fully taken hold, the road to recovery is a tough one. The strong addiction created by the brain’s adaptation to the chemical presence of meth makes it very difficult to quit. As the pleasurable effects wear off, users immediately feel like they need another dose.
So, addiction is like a cage that you cannot escape on your own.
Long-term and chronic use of crystal meth lead to adverse health problems or even death. But, there is HOPE! Treatment options provide hope to those struggling with meth addiction.
How Crystal Meth Gets You Hooked
Crystal meth gets you addicted quickly and creates a powerful bond due to two of its properties:
1) It makes you feel extremely good when using.
2) It makes you feel extremely bad when not using.
When smoking or injecting crystal methamphetamine, you immediately feel a “rush”. Your heart rate increases, your metabolism is accelerated, and your blood pressure rises. All these effects can last up to half an hour.
The rush is followed by “a high”, a stage where you feel smarter, better, and more powerful than others…and may even become argumentative. The high can last anywhere from 4 and up to 16 hours.
As the drugs effects wear off, and the feeling of high diminishes in intensity, you start to feel an urge to use again in order to maintain the high. This is a stage called “the binge”, and an addict can binge use crystal meth for 3-15 days. While binging, users become mentally and physically hyperactive.
Next follows “the crash” period as crystal meth effects start to wear off more and more. After prolonged binging, the feelings of rush and high cannot be achieved any longer. When crystal meth looses it’s stimulative powers and has no effect, cravings step in. This stage, also known as “tweaking”, is characterized by bug crawling and intense skin itches. The insomnia following use can last for days at a time. Hallucinations, psychotic experiences, hostility, derealization and dangerous behaviors are recorded as common side-effects during this period.
After the crash, your will likely start to experience symptoms of “withdrawal”. You can expect to become depressed, to lose your energy and the ability to experience pleasure, and may even become suicidal as the cravings for crystal meth hit. Since crystal meth withdrawal is extremely painful and difficult, most people relapse back to use. Statistics say that 93% of those in traditional treatment return to abusing the drug.
Crystal Meth Addiction Signs
Addiction to a drug such as crystal meth cannot go unnoticed, at least not for a long time. What are the main signs? Common characteristics of drug use include:
- Being secretive and denying using crystal meth.
- Continuing crystal meth use despite health problems.
- Displaying risky and dangerous behaviors.
- Experiencing relationship problems because of drug use.
- Having compulsive urges to use again and again.
- Legal and financial difficulties as a result of drug use.
- Losing interest in friends, family, work and other interests.
- Obsessing over obtaining and using crystal meth.
- Using crystal meth more frequently and longer than initially intended.
- Withdrawal symptoms occur whenever use is stopped.
Recognize yourself or a loved one in these case-scenarios?
Why suffer any longer when help is so close? If you recognize that you or someone close to you have a problem with crystal meth… Don’t wait!
Call 1-877-417-2268 to break free from addiction.
Help is one phone call away.
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Addiction to Crystal Meth: What’s it Like?
Here are two (2) confessions from people affected by crystal meth addiction. They tell their personal stories of how they started using crystal meth and what it felt like.
STORY #1: “I started using crystal meth when I was a senior in high school. Before my first semester of college was up, it became such a big problem that I had to drop out. I looked like I had chicken pox, from hours of staring at myself in the mirror and picking at myself. I spent all my time either doing meth, or trying to get it.”
STORY #2: “I tried it for the first time with my older brother when I was 17. Come to find out, my mother also smoked it. I had no idea up until this point. After smoking it and only feeling similar effects from what I felt from Adderall, I wasn’t all that impressed. I remember my brother holding the pipe for me because I didn’t even know how to take a hit. He explained it several times but I just never understood at first. After a few months of smoking it with him every now and then, the cat got let out of the bag to my mom. Of course, at first she was upset, but couldn’t really do anything because of her own usage. They would always go into their bedroom when I was over growing up, and lock themselves away, and I finally realized that’s what they must have been doing this whole time. So after I started using, I would ask to join them. I got denied at first, but eventually, they let me come in and thus began the family meth bonding.”
Treatment Of Crystal Meth Addiction
Crystal meth addiction is a debilitating disease. But treatment works! In fact, many people quit after getting professional help. What’s more: there is evidence that an addict’s brain can return to normal after a significant period of sobriety.
Q: So, how can you treat crystal meth addiction?
A: Treatment usually follows in 3 stages: medical detox, rehab, and aftercare.
1. Medical crystal meth detox. Attending a detoxification clinic is the safest way to stop using meth. Doctors and nurses monitor your health state, provide support and motivate you throughout this period. Medications like antidepressants or medicines to curb cravings may be prescribed as you are going through crystal meth withdrawal. However, detox is only the first step to getting help. Unless you address the psychological and emotional reasons for drug use…relapse quickly follows.
2. Addiction rehab. Treatment for crystal meth must involve rehab, usually first at an inpatient clinic and then an outpatient. Without a focus on mental health, relapse to meth use is almost inevitable. The cravings are just too strong. Rehabs teach you cope effectively with withdrawal symptoms at the same time you learn how to change negative behaviors. Psychotherapy is a critical part of crystal meth rehabilitation. Talk therapy brings you insight into how the addiction has affected you, factors that contributed to the drug addiction, and factors that may trigger a relapse (and how to avoid them).
3. Aftercare. Also called ‘continued care’, this part of recovery extends into the months and years following initial crystal methamphetamine addiction treatment programs. Intensive rehab followed by long-term psychotherapeutic care and aftercare services are the key to long-term sobriety. Aftercare also plays an important role in relapse prevention. Current treatments to prevent relapse include sober housing, support groups, and ongoing counseling approaches.
Crystal Meth Changes Your Brain
Crystal meth works by forcing the release of a higher-than-usual amounts of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, mood and energy that the brain releases when you do something significant for your survival (such as eat food, socialize, or have sex). Crystal also causes a rush of norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline.
After chronic and repeated use, chemical changes in the central nervous system rewire the decision-making centers of the brain. Soon, your decision to take crystal meth is no longer yours. Instead, it becomes a compulsion or an non-voluntary action such as blinking and breathing. Crystal meth abuse becomes something that the brain believes is crucial to your survival…so it craves it in order to keep you alive.
So, if you’ve used crystal meth more than once and want to use it again, you may be on your way to addiction…or already there. In such case – Seek Help NOW! The sooner you start your treatment for crystal meth addiction, the better chances you have of making a full recovery.
More Questions about Addiction?
If you have any further questions about addiction, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to answer all of our readers’ legitimate inquiries with a personal and prompt response. We want to hear from you!