Crystal meth is short for methamphetamine, an artificial stimulant chemically similar to amphetamine. Some would argue that meth is one of the most addictive and toxic drugs out there. Recreational use can quickly devolve into addiction, which is accompanied by a number of serious health concerns. A methamphetamine addiction will most likely require medical detox in order to start recovering.
Crystal Meth Is Made From Toxic Ingredients
Some of the hard-core drugs that are well-known, like opioids, are made from naturally-occurring compounds found in plants. Crystal meth, on the other hand, is produced from completely man-made ingredients that one can find around the home or buy at the store. The main ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, which is found in cold medicine.
The other ingredients may be surprising because of their toxicity; they are not safe for human consumption. Some are even flammable and can cause an explosion when processed in local make-shift labs or superlabs run by drug cartels. Chemicals commonly used to produce meth include:
- battery acid
- drain cleaner
- iodine crystals
- red phosphorus
- acetone paint thinner
- anhydrous ammonia
- lithium from batteries
Increased Tolerance & Blood-Borne Infections
The euphoric, energizing high that a person gets from using crystal meth does not last long, resulting in binge-like patterns of drug use and the rapid development of tolerance. Increased tolerance can cause an individual to change the way they take the drug. For example, they may transition from pills to injection, which puts them at high risk for contracting blood-borne infections like hepatitis B and C and HIV.
Damage to Multiple Body Systems
Because meth stimulates the central nervous system, it is also common for individuals to go several days without sleep and neglect their nutritional needs. They may lose significant weight and develop dehydration and exhaustion. Personal hygiene, including dental health, is an additional concern because of the way meth use can break down and rot teeth. Severe dental problems like infection can lead to heart disease.
When meth is used in high doses, it is possible for the body temperature to get so high that it causes a person to experience convulsions or pass out. In some cases, a person can die from these conditions.
Over time, meth causes permanent damage in multiple systems of the body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
Cognitive & Psychological Issues Caused by Crystal Meth
Crystal meth use takes a serious toll on both the body and the mind. The brain undergoes changes in its physical structure and function, resulting in lasting cognitive deficiencies in memory and learning, also known as brain damage.
Some other psychological problems that a person who is using meth can experience include the following:
- drug cravings
- anxiety and depression
- paranoia and delusions
- confusion and psychosis
- homicidal and suicidal thoughts
- headaches, irritability, and fatigue
- auditory and physical hallucinations
- sexual aggression and violent rages
A type of hallucination called the ‘crank bug’ is commonly experienced as a sensation of bugs crawling over the skin. The individual will scratch and pick at their skin to remove the imaginary bugs, leading to open sores that may become infected.
Identifying a Loved One With a Meth Problem
Many of the discussed impacts on health can be used as indicators for a meth problem. For example, skin lesions and tooth decay are telltale signs of advanced meth addiction. If the individual has not yet progressed to this stage, the signs may be less obvious but still noticeable. For example, they may appear emaciated and exhibit obsessive and erratic behavior. An unusual amount of energy is also a sign.
It is better not to wait to find out if a loved one is using crystal meth, even on a recreational basis. It does not take long for occasional use to turn one’s life upside down. It is better to act now and get them help.
Avoid Dangerous Symptoms With Medical Detox
For substances like alcohol, medically-supervised detox is primarily needed to safely avoid physical withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. For crystal meth, treating psychological symptoms is the main concern. Going cold turkey can be very dangerous and should not be encouraged. Severe depression, paranoia, and violent aggression can put the individual and others in harm’s way.
The best way to get them help is by calling a treatment center that offers a specialized detox and treatment program for methamphetamine addiction. They have the tools and knowledge to help a loved one get clean and recover from their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. A treatment program will also see to it that their medical problems are addressed.
Crystal meth is a drug made from ingredients in cold medicine and toxic chemicals found around the house. Meth use has short-term and long-lasting effects on physical health and brain function. Because psychological withdrawal can be hazardous, it is critical to seek professional help for treating meth addiction safely and effectively. Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed addiction treatment facility located in Malibu. We have a treatment program designed for adults struggling with this problem. Our goal is to provide your loved one with maximum comfort and support while withdrawing from meth in our medically-supervised detox program. In individual and group therapies, issues like cravings and underlying mental health concerns or trauma will be worked through. We also offer holistic methods to aid the mind, body, and spirit heal together. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (844) 857-5992. We can help your loved one overcome this devastating addiction.