Crystal Meth and Your Health

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Learn the Facts About Crystal Meth 

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is a potent and highly addictive drug. Addiction can occur after just a few uses of crystal meth. It is a synthetic psychostimulant that has similar effects to cocaine. It is produced in illegal labs by combining ingredients and chemicals found in some over-the-counter medicines. One form of the drug looks like shiny, light blue rocks and resembles fragments of glass. The name ‘crystal meth’ comes from this form. Methamphetamine is also known by the slang terms blue, ice, meth, and speed. This drug can be taken by smoking, swallowing a pill, snorting, or injection. After continued use, tolerance builds, which requires the user to take more to feel the same effects. The rush experienced starts and fades quickly, leading users to begin a pattern of bingeing and crashing. Some users will go on a “run” of taking a dose every few hours for several days with no food or sleep.

Effects of Using Methamphetamine 

Crystal meth is made from toxic chemicals so poisonous that meth labs have become a serious environmental hazard. Even after a lab has been removed, people living in the area still experience health issues from the chemicals in the ground. If it poisons the ground, think about what it does to your body. Methamphetamine increases dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine stimulates the reward center of the brain and it also affects movement and motivation. Users are motivated to continue using meth because of the high levels of dopamine in the reward section of the mind. There are short- and long-term effects for those that use crystal meth.  

  • Short-term effects: Lack of appetite, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, increased wakefulness, body temperature increase, and an increase in physical activity  
  • Long-term effects: weight loss, anxiety, ‘meth mouth’ (extreme dental issues), extreme itching, confusion, violence, paranoia, memory problems, sleeping issues, hallucinations. The use of meth can alter the structure of the brain and the way it functions. 

Drug use can also increase the chances of risky behavior from impaired judgment. Addicts are at a greater risk of contracting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Impaired decision making may also lead to unprotected sex, which can result in infections or unwanted pregnancy. Longterm use of speed can reduce motor skills and impair verbal learning.  

Meth-Induced Psychosis 

The neurotransmitters in the brain that are affected by meth use are the same ones associated with schizophrenia and psychosis. meth-induced psychosis is comparable to paranoid schizophrenia. Similar symptoms include aggressive behavior, delusions, and experiencing things that are not real. Those experiencing meth-induced psychosis may appear agitated, alert, violent, self-absorbed, and may have a rash on their skin from picking at it. They may be picking at their skin due to a condition called formication. Formication causes people to believe bugs crawling in or under their skin. Typically, it is associated with cocaine usage but can also happen to those addicted to methamphetamine. The symptoms of meth-induced psychosis can last for years after drug use has stopped. Symptoms of meth psychosis include extreme paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, confusion, and self-consciousness in public. Chronic abuse of speed can lead to meth-induced psychosis. Other factors that lead to psychosis include dosage, frequency of use, duration of addiction, and co-occurring disorders. Those with co-occurring mental health disorders are more susceptible to meth-induced psychosis.

Is Crystal Meth Making Me Sick?  

Crystal meth can seem like a great idea when you first start using. It gives you energy and makes you feel invincible. You lose weight, too. What could be wrong with that? But it’s not quite that simple. If you’re using crystal meth, you can get addicted very quickly—and things will happen to your body that don’t feel good at all. If you find yourself thinking, “I may be addicted to crystal meth. Is crystal meth affecting my health?” then here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I been losing weight rapidly?
  • Do I look too skinny? 
  • Are my teeth turning brown or black or falling out? 
  • Is my skin splotchy, itchy, or dry? 
  • Is my skin aging faster than it should? 
  • Do I look older than I am? 
  • Have I been suffering from depression or other kinds of mental illness? 
  • Have I been having unsafe sex? 

If you use crystal meth and answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then it is very likely that crystal meth addiction is affecting your health. Quitting crystal meth is the best possible thing you can do for your health today and in the future.

Archstone Behavioral Health Can Help 

If you’re ready to quit using crystal meth, it’s time to get help. It’s important not to go through withdrawal alone—withdrawal symptoms can be difficult and even dangerous. At Archstone Behavioral Health, located in Palm Beaches, Florida, you’ll get the medical treatment you need to turn your life and health around. Those who have meth-induced psychosis require behavioral therapy. You’ll also get individual therapy, a supportive twelve-step group approach, and spiritual, artistic, or other treatments chosen especially for you. We use a customized holistic treatment plan that takes your personal needs into account. With partial hospitalization, detox, residential, outpatient, inpatient, and aftercare programs, Archstone Behavioral Health has an option for you. Call (561) 264-4961 today for more information!