Crystal Meth

What is Crystal Meth?

Short for crystal methamphetamine, crystal meth is a white crystalline drug that users take by snorting, smoking, injecting, or ingesting.[1] Taking the drug creates a false sense of happiness and well-being, called euphoria.1 It gives you a rush of confidence, hyperactiveness, and energy.1

Used by all kinds of individuals, it is commonly taken at raves or while partying in night clubs.1 A dangerous and extremely addictive drug, it first acts as a stimulant and then it begins to systematically destroy the body.1 There are many serious health conditions associated with crystal meth, including memory loss, aggression, and psychotic behavior, as well as heart and brain damage.1

Extremely concentrated, many users become addicted from the first time they use it.1 Unfortunately, it is a difficult addiction to treat and many die before they seek treatment.1

Manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories, methamphetamine is a man-made chemical.1 Various forms of amphetamine and other chemicals, such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, or antifreeze are mixed together to create the drug.1 Oftentimes, cold medicine provides the basis for the drug’s production, cooked to extract the ingredients from the pills to increase the drug’s strength.1

As crystal meth often creates a false-sense of energy, users will often push their bodies further than they are meant to go.1 Therefore, users often experience a severe crash, or physical and mental breakdown, after the effects of the drug wears off.1 Users also experience a decreased appetite, leading them to lose a significant amount of weight.1 Disturbed sleep patterns, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness, and irritability are often common.1 Serious short-term effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety,  and paranoia.1 Some even experience convulsions that lead to death.1

In the long-run, crystal meth can cause irreversible damage to one’s body and mind.1 It has the power to increase one’s heart rate and blood pressure, damage blood vessels in the brain that cause strokes and irregular heartbeat and cardiovascular collapse, as well as liver, kidney, and lung damage.1 Users may also suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts.1

There are different stages of the crystal meth experience.1 First is the rush. It is the initial feelings to taking the drug.1 Their heartbeat races and their blood pressure and pulse soar.1 This often lasts for 30 minutes.1

The second stage is the high. The user feels euphoric, and the delusional effects can cause a user to become intensely focused on a single, often insignificant, item.1 They will clean a window for several hours or pick their face in the mirror.1 This can last for four to 16 hours.1

The third stage is the binge. It is the user’s uncontrollable urge to maintain a high by using more crystal meth.1 Many will binge from three to 15 days.1 Each time the drug is used, the person becomes hyperactive mentally and physically, using more each time to experience another rush; however, the rush becomes smaller and smaller until there is no rush and no high.1

Stage four is tweaking. This is when the crystal meth user is most dangerous.1 At the end of their binge, when they are unable to feel a rush or a high from the drug, they feel intense feelings of craving and emptiness.1 Their skin begins to crawl and they are convinced that there are bugs under it.1 They are unable to sleep and often live in their own world, seeing and hearing things that do not exist.1 As the hallucinations seem so vivid and real and the user is so disconnected from reality, they can be dangerous to themselves and others.1 The risk for self-mutilation is high.1

The crash is stage five. The body then shuts down, unable to cope with the overwhelming drug effects, resulting in long periods of sleep.1 This can last from one to three days.1

In the sixth stage, the user now has a meth hangover. They return to a deteriorated state where they are starved, dehydrated, and completely exhausted.1 This stage lasts from two to 14 days, enforcing addiction as the solution to these feelings.1

The final stage is withdrawal. Between 30 and 90 days can pass after the last drug use before the user realizes that they are in withdrawal.1 The user becomes depressed, loses their energy, and are unable to experience pleasure.1 Then, the user begins to crave crystal meth and often becomes suicidal.1 As the withdrawal is painful and difficult, most begin using again.1

It’s a vicious cycle—one that can only be broken by professional treatment.1

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