Methamphetamine, also known as meth, has highly addictive properties. A form of the drug called crystal methamphetamine, or crystal meth, comes in the form of a clear solid. Crystal meth has fast, potent effects that increase the user’s risk for addiction. If you think you could have an addiction to methamphetamine, let Gateway Foundation help. Our Illinois crystal meth drug rehabilitation centers can provide the assistance you need.
WHAT IS CRYSTAL METH?
Crystal meth is a highly potent, addictive form of the drug methamphetamine. This psychoactive acts directly on the central nervous system, creating an intense, stimulating effect. Slang names for crystal meth include meth, ice, crystal, blue and speed. Because of the wakefulness and endurance it creates, people often use meth at raves and nightclubs.
Crystal meth is dangerous for many reasons. On top of the extreme cravings it produces in users, it can lead to significant physical, dental and mental health problems. Plus, people often manufacture it in clandestine street labs where there are no safety standards.
WHAT TYPE OF DRUG IS CRYSTAL METH?
Crystal meth is a psychostimulant, or “upper.” This type of drug boosts the release of dopamine while also blocking inhibitors. Use of the drug leads to a surge of dopamine in the brain. During a person’s initial use of crystal meth, the drug creates a euphoric state paired with extreme alertness and energy. These effects often lead to an intense craving to continue using meth, even after just one hit of the drug.
HISTORY OF CRYSTAL METH
Methamphetamine was first developed in 1887 in Germany. However, the process of producing meth was difficult. In 1919, a Japanese chemist streamlined the process, reducing methamphetamine’s active ingredient, ephedrine, into a crystallized form — thus creating the first crystal meth.
Meth was used during World War II by both sides to help keep troops awake. The drug continued to be sought after following the war, even when it was outlawed in the U.S. in 1970. The crystal meth we know today, with its shards of white rocks or bluish crystals, emerged in the 1980s. At this time, street labs started adding ephedrine to make crystal meth twice as potent. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, essential ingredients used in these illegal labs, are both found in many over-the-counter cold medicines.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that doctors still use today to treat ADHD and obesity. Adderall and Ritalin have a similar chemical makeup to crystal meth, but crystal meth is purer and more potent.
HOW IS CRYSTAL METH USED?
Crystal meth is a crystalline drug that comes in a form that looks like clear crystals or bluish-white rocks. Although the drug is odorless, it’s bitter. When ground down to powder, crystal meth is usually smoked or snorted. However, users can also easily dissolve meth in water and inject it for a stronger, quicker high.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CRYSTAL METH USE
When someone uses crystal meth, you may notice both behavioral and physical red flags, such as:
- Hyper alertness
- An increase in physical activity
- Fidgeting or difficulty sitting still
- Talking quickly
- Mood swings
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid eye movements
- Dry or cottonmouth due to a lack of saliva
- Accelerated breathing
- Grinding teeth
- Intense itching
BENEFITS OF SEEKING HELP FROM A CRYSTAL METH DRUG REHAB TREATMENT CENTER
A methamphetamine drug addiction treatment center can help you get your life back from crystal meth. With a professionally trained addiction care team, you can achieve goals, such as:
- Stopping your crystal meth misuse
- Reconnecting with the people you care about
- Having more time to do the things you love
- Improving your physical and mental health
- Planning a new future without crystal meth
With the support of your clinic, you get the chance to create a new life for yourself. Some patients choose to return to the life they had before drugs, while others build a brand new life.
SIGNS OF CRYSTAL METH ADDICTION
You or someone you know may have an addiction to methamphetamine when you notice these signs:
- Going on “runs” that involve continuous crystal meth use for as long as several days
- Giving up activities, obligations and relationships to spend more time on crystal meth
- Performing risky behaviors to get more methamphetamine
- Constantly needing more methamphetamine to feel the same effects as before
- Scars or skin sores from itching or picking at their skin
- Extreme weight loss
- Poor general and dental hygiene
- Extensive tooth decay, also called meth mouth
- Strange or repetitive behaviors
Addiction also causes the user to have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking crystal meth. These effects can include:
- Intense cravings for crystal meth
- Severe depression
If you or a person you care about has a crystal meth addiction, a professional can perform a screening.
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF CRYSTAL METH MISUSE
When you get help from a crystal meth drug addiction rehabilitation center, you reduce the drug’s negative effects on your mind and body. Long-term methamphetamine use can cause these health problems:
- Heart issues
- Extreme weight loss
- Tooth decay
- Itching and skin picking
- Memory loss
- Paranoia and hallucinations
Crystal meth changes the way that the brain processes dopamine, a chemical that signals reward and pleasure. As methamphetamine modifies the dopamine system, the user can have reduced coordination, impaired learning and memory issues.
TREATMENTS AVAILABLE AT A METHAMPHETAMINE DRUG ADDICTION REHAB CENTER
Modern treatments for crystal meth addiction target its physical and emotional symptoms. When you visit a methamphetamine drug addiction rehabilitation center in Illinois, you will receive two types of services:
- Medical services: The physical aspects of crystal meth addiction often need medical attention. Some patients receive medication to relieve their withdrawal symptoms and help them commit to treatment. A clinic doctor may also refer the patient to treatment for health issues related to the addiction.
- Behavioral services: Addiction professionals use therapy and contingency management to support people with crystal meth addictions. Contingency management helps patients make a positive association with recovery. Meanwhile, therapy lets a patient learn recovery strategies and coping skills.
By addressing all the ways crystal meth affects a person, addiction treatment aims for a successful recovery.
HOW GATEWAY ASSISTS PATIENTS WITH METHAMPHETAMINE ADDICTION
Patients at Gateway receive personalized addiction care based on their symptoms and experiences. Every patient has a tailored treatment plan that can include factors such as:
- Gender: Men’s and women’s groups give patients spaces to share their recovery with people who have similar experiences.
- Age: We can provide care based on age for teenagers, young adults and adults to pinpoint a patient’s needs.
- Co-occurring disorders: Many health conditions can contribute to crystal meth use, and we address them during treatment.
- Severity of symptoms: Depending on the type of symptoms you have, we may recommend inpatient (residential) or outpatient care.
Our addiction professionals will become your partner in recovery as you receive care that addresses your needs.
Gateway assists patients in the Chicago, Illinois, area dealing with addiction to substances such as methamphetamine. We have more than 50 years of positive outcomes, thanks to our compassionate and evidence-based care. Schedule an intake appointment at a clinic near you by contacting our team online.