Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth Addiction

Crystal meth is an increasingly common drug of abuse in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, an estimated 1.6 million Americans have tried meth during the past year, many of them teens and young adults. The availability of crystal meth makes it popular among young people whether for regular use alone or in combination with alcohol and marijuana.

Crystal meth addiction has spread to all corners of the country. Those in rural areas, urban areas and the suburbs are turning to this drug in larger and larger numbers for entertainment, weight loss and increased energy. The quick devastation that the drug brings to the brain and body can destroy the user’s life, but the rapid deterioration provides one single benefit – the damage done by the drug is almost immediately recognizable to friends, loved ones and patients alike. Recognition of the problem is the first step to getting the necessary help to heal.

If you’ve been living with crystal meth addiction and you’re ready to find a crystal meth rehab that can help you leave drugs and alcohol behind, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your personal struggle with the drug and your hopes for your future. Our counselors can assist you in finding the right rehabilitation program to help you meet your goals.

Crystal Meth AddictionWhat Is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is the solid form of a drug called d-methamphetamine, a derivative of amphetamine, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Crystal meth comes in a solid, crystallized white powder, which can be consumed by drug users in a number of ways – smoking, snorting, eating or injecting the powder. Each form of ingestion produces physiological effects that include a “rush” or a “high.” This feeling is extremely psychologically addictive and few use the drug more than once without becoming a crystal meth addict.

Crystal methamphetamine typically is smoked using glass pipes similar to pipes used to smoke crack cocaine. Crystal methamphetamine also may be injected. A user who smokes or injects the drug immediately experiences an intense sensation followed by a high that may last 12 hours or more.

On the street, crystal meth is commonly referred to as “ice,” “glass,” “crystal,” “shards,” “Stove top,” “super ice,” “LA ice” and more.

Signs of Addiction

Crystal meth addiction is defined by a need or intense desire to use crystal meth even when using the drug causes health problems, family problems and issues at work. The craving alone can be debilitating and the emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms can be even worse. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, cardiac problems, changes in appetite, insomnia, nausea, sweating and loss of energy. For many users, withdrawal symptoms are so strong that they make it impossible for the user to discontinue drug use without medical assistance at an addiction center that specializes in crystal meth treatment.

Crystal meth is addictive because it affects the brain’s production of dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal 2008 June 17; 178(13): 1679–1682. As the patient continues to consume crystal meth, less and less dopamine is produced. If the patient does not continue to ingest crystal meth and keep the levels of dopamine up, the result is a chemical imbalance. It is this chemical imbalance that causes the patient’s physical dependence on the drug – the human body expects a certain amount of dopamine to function properly. Moreover, this is an effect that increases with time, meaning the longer a patient abuses crystal meth, the greater the effect on dopamine production. Since crystal meth evokes feelings of pleasure, to replace the pleasure they have lost, patients continue to use meth, which leads to addiction.

Risks Associated With Crystal Meth Abuse

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, crystal meth is a dangerous drug that can bring those who abuse it regularly a number of physical and mental health issues.

Physical risks+

Physical risks. Simply abusing the drug can mean physical issues like increased heart rate and blood pressure, damaged blood vessels in the brain, stroke, inflamed heart lining, convulsions and death.

Emotional risks+

Emotional risks. Emotionally, crystal meth can create an entirely new personality in the user, one characterized by violence and erratic behavior. Paranoia is not uncommon, and anxiety and confusion can increase the problem. A lack of sleep adds to the heightened state of vigilance and delusion – many experience symptoms of psychosis that last long after the drug wears off.

Ingestion-specific risks+

Ingestion-specific risks. Crystal meth can be ingested in a number of different ways and each of these methods brings with it its own group of risks and dangers. Those who snort the drug can have problems with nasal passages, respiratory problems, chronic nosebleeds, sinus problems and more. Those who inject the drug risk contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, and developing infections, abscesses and other issues at the injection site.

Social risks+

Social risks. In the short term, crystal meth creates a feeling of euphoria – a heightened state of pleasure that some users enjoy. Under the influence, while experiencing the “high” that comes from use, meth abusers also suffer from decreased stability and impaired judgment. This can potentially lead to unplanned, often dangerous behaviors, including risky unprotected sex, driving while intoxicated (DWI) and criminal activity.

Overdose+

Overdose. According to the US Library of Medicine, a crystal meth overdose can be due to one-time use or an issue that builds up over time with chronic abuse of the drug. Taking too much at one time or combining the drug with other substances can overwhelm the system and cause stroke and death. Taking the drug chronically over time can create a build-up in the system that causes or is linked to health problems that are deadly including tuberculosis, pneumonia, kidney and liver failure, and more.

Crystal meth addiction treatment allows the addict to find real healing and long-term abstinence, and is the only form of treatment that can help them avoid continuing to take these and other risks.

Crystal Meth TreatmentWhat to Expect From Rehab

The effects of meth are extremely severe, both in the short and long term, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Both inpatient and outpatient crystal meth rehab should address the many effects of abusing crystal meth as well as the related issues that result from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. For example, those with family issues should be able to find assistance at their addiction treatment program through family therapy, educational workshops and family support groups. Those who require psychiatric treatment and medication for co-occurring or drug-induced mental health disorders should have access to the medications and treatment they need to heal. Patients who need help finding a job, a new home, or dealing with legal issues related to drug abuse and use should find services that will help them make progress on those fronts during treatment. It’s important that patients opt for a rehab program that offers everything they need to heal on a personal level as well as a physical level.

What You Can Bring to an Addiction Treatment Center

What patients pack and bring with them to treatment will vary depending upon the rehab program they choose. Each treatment center should provide incoming patients with a complete list of what to bring and what not to bring. Most will ask patients to bring:

Yes

  • A number of comfortable outfits
  • Outerwear that suits the climate
  • Sunscreen and hygiene products
  • A few books, journals or diaries
  • Some personal family photos

Some things should be left at home. Those who attempt to bring contraband items into treatment will have them confiscated – most will be returned when the program is over or allowed for use during specific periods when it is appropriate. These items may include:

No

  • Cellphones
  • Laptops
  • Drugs or alcohol of any kind
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Large amounts of cash

Asking the Right Questions

In order to get the most out of treatment and improve the chances of a successful remission from crystal meth addiction, patients are encouraged to ask questions that will help them identify the right treatment for them. Some of these questions include:

  • What does a regular day at the program look like? Getting an idea of what to expect each day will help patients mentally prepare for the experience.
  • Is the program licensed and accredited? If a crystal meth program is claiming to provide therapeutic services, they must be licensed by the state to do so. Though accreditation is not mandatory, it is a sign of a high-quality program.
  • Where is the treatment program? Patients may benefit most from a rehab that is far from home or one that is nearby, but it’s definitely a factor that requires consideration.
  • What therapies and treatments are available? The more there is to choose from, the more likely it is that the patient will be able to create a personalized and unique program that will help him or her heal in a meaningful way after addiction.
  • What are the aftercare services offered? Aftercare is a crucial part of treatment, so patients should learn more about which services are provided after rehab is over.

Tips for Success

Taking the first steps toward a new life in recovery isn’t easy, but there are choices that patients can make that will increase their level of comfort as well as their rate of progress at an addiction treatment program.

  • Don’t go it alone. With the right professional help, detox and addiction can be much quicker and more painless than when attempted alone, according to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence [2007 May 11; 88(2-3): 313–316].
  • See the doctor. There may be physical issues caused by addiction or underlying medical problems that will make recovery more difficult. Identifying these issues early means more expedient treatment and an easier detox.
  • Realize it will never get easier to quit. As hard as it is for a patient in the moment, it will never be easier to go through detox and treatment than it is today. Every day spent living with addiction only increases the level of physical and psychological dependence. Pushing through the hard times may be easier if this fact is accepted early on.
  • Be realistic. Detox and treatment is hard but living with addiction is harder. Patients who work to avoid glorifying their life in addiction will be more successful in treatment.
  • Anticipate withdrawal symptoms. Many patients are familiar with what to expect in terms of withdrawal symptoms because they inadvertently experienced them when they missed a dose of their drug or couldn’t find what they needed. These are unavoidable in most cases but with treatment can be far less severe.
  • Choose a program that allows for personalization. It’s important that patients choose a program that provides them with the different treatment options and amenities that they need to address their personal psychological and medical issues – this significantly increases the chances of success in recovery.
  • Prepare mentally. Patients who are open to new ideas and trust the process of the rehab program they choose will be able to put all their energy toward their own recovery rather than waste time.

Find the Right Addiction Treatment Program for You

Crystal meth abuse and addiction is a problem that is on the rise in this country. It is estimated that thousands of Americans develop a dependence on the drug every year, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, psychological and/or physical dependence does not have to be a life sentence – or a death sentence. Proper medical and psychiatric care that is evidence-based and comprehensive can help patients to make the changes necessary to turn their lives around.

If you or someone you care about abuses crystal meth regularly or has developed a dependence upon the substance, we can help you to locate a crystal meth treatment program that will be able to help. Contact us today at the phone number listed above to speak to a counselor. Don’t wait – call now.

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