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Crystal Meth Use

Is Crystal Meth Really Bad For You?

Yes, crystal meth is very bad for you. In fact, it is an extremely dangerous drug.

Methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant, was first synthesized in 1919 as a synthetic substitute for ephedrine. In the 1980s, crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) became popular as the crystallized, smokable and more potent form of methamphetamine. It is cheap and readily available, which is why it has a great potential for increased used among any population.

In this article, we’ll cover all the details about crystal meth use, dependency, and addiction. Then, we invite your questions at the end.

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Medical Use Of Methamphetamine

As a medication, methamphetamine is available under the brand name Desoxyn. Although it is rarely used medically, Desoxyn can be prescribed by a doctor for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), exogenous obesity, and other conditions. As measures of precaution against abuse, Desoxyn is listed as a Schedule II drug, which makes it available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. It is also prescribed in doses much lower than those at which people abuse methamphetamine (or crystal meth) in its illicit form.

Crystal Meth Recreational Use

Some users start taking crystal meth as a weight-loss aid, since it decreases appetite and increases metabolism. Some take crystal meth for its properties to increase one’s libido, but this are all short-term effects. Most people use crystal meth for the high it produces. How does it work in the brain?

Crystal meth increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which leads to feelings of exhilaration and euphoria.Crystal meth’s effect is highly concentrated, and many users report getting hooked (addicted) from the first time they use it. After taking crystal meth, the brain releases an enzyme that blocks the dopamine cells from being reused, eventually destroying them. This can cause a significant shift in the way the brain works.

Generally, speed of the onset and the intensity of the high depend on how it’s administered. Crystal meth can be:

  • injected
  • ingested orally
  • inserted into the urethra (less common)
  • smoked in a glass pipe
  • snorted
  • taken rectally

If crystal meth is smoked or injected, it causes an almost immediate “rush”. However, it may take about 20 minutes for the effects to occur if ingested orally. Crystal meth has a long duration of action and can keep the user up for 12 hours. Binging on crystal meth (on a “run”) may keep a user awake for up to 10 days, often with little food or drink.

The initial feelings crystal meth produces in users are quite strong. Many report feeling powerful and confident, with endless energy, increased productivity, and enhanced sexual performance and reduced appetite. But, once these initial euphoric effects wear off, feelings of anxiety, depression, mental confusion, fatigue and headaches usually follow.

Long Term Crystal Meth Use

After about six weeks of continued use, effects of crystal meth become pronounced. Long-term use of crystal meth increases the user’s tolerance, so that over time larger and more frequent doses are necessary to achieve the initial and desired effect. Additionally, drug dependence sets in, which manifests as a set of withdrawal symptoms when meth dosing is reduced or stopped. Plus, the weight-loss may subside, as well as the increase in libido. Instead, severe physical and psychological issues take place.

Here is a list of the many negative side effects of crystal meth reported after six weeks, or more, of continued use:

  • anxiety
  • compulsive skin-picking
  • dry and itchy skin
  • emotional swings
  • hallucinations
  • meth mouth
  • paranoia
  • paranoid delusions
  • psychomotor disorders
  • psychosis
  • repetitive and obsessive behaviors
  • self-destructive behavior
  • violence

Overdose is also a risk with crystal meth. Symptoms of OD include fever, convulsions, and coma. Death is also a possible outcome due to busted blood vessels in the brain (triggered by spikes in blood pressure) or heart failure.

If experiencing any of these severe symptoms of overdose from crystal methamphetamine CALL 911; OR Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 to talk to a poison expert and get a free, over-the-phone assessment of risk form overdose or to get instructions on what to do next.

Prolonged Use Of Crystal Meth

The brain damage that occurs from prolonged use of crystal meth is one of the key differences between this drug and other illicit drugs. The body quickly builds up tolerance to crystal meth, exposes users to it’s at first amazing effects, to get them hooked on it. Crystal meth users also develop physical and psychological crystal meth dependence and go through withdrawal whenever they stop taking it.

Withdrawal form crystal meth can last for days, and weeks, and even longer. The longer a person has been addicted, the longer the withdrawal symptoms will linger. Drugs can change the chemistry of the user’s brain, all addictive drugs do, but crystal meth alters brains chemistry more than any other drug. Crystal meth is usually out of a user’s system within 2-3 days, however this doesn’t mean they have fully quit yet, nor that the withdrawal symptoms are over.

A crystal meth user in withdrawal will most likely experience the following symptoms:

  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • drug craving
  • fatigue
  • hunger and weight gain
  • inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia)
  • insomnia, then sleeping a lot
  • moodiness

Furthermore, crystal meth’s prolonged use causes irritability and psychosis known as “tweaking,” which may result in the user having numerous scabs from picking at imaginary insects crawling on or under the skin.

Crystal Meth Use Questions

Do you want to know more about crystal meth abuse, addiction, withdrawal, crystal meth detox and crystal meth treatment? Explore our site further, where we provide articles on these and many more topics related to crystal meth addiction treatment. We also invite your questions and comments in the section below. The Addiction Blog team is working to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: The burden and management of crystal meth use
Department of Justice: Crystal Methamphetamine Fast Facts
NIH: DrugFacts: Methamphetamine
NCBI: Pharmacologic mechanisms of crystal meth

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