Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, has become a growing problem and a dangerous drug. Due to its highly addictive nature and the toll it takes on your body, getting treatment is paramount. This article discusses what crystal meth is, how it affects your body, and the steps you can take to get help for yourself or a loved one.

What Is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is a highly addictive stimulant. It’s synthetic and is chemically similar to amphetamines, which can be used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors sometimes prescribe methamphetamine to treat obesity and ADHD, but it’s mostly known as a drug that’s manufactured and sold illegally.  Crystal meth affects the body by giving the user a euphoric feeling from an increase of dopamine in their brain. Meth can be snorted, swallowed, smoked, or injected.

How Crystal Meth Affects Your Body

Both short-term and long-term use of crystal meth can have severe physical effects. As a stimulant, meth causes a racing heart, increased respiration, and higher body temperatures. An increased heart rate can raise your blood pressure and potentially damage small blood vessels in the brain, leading to a stroke. If a person uses too much, a higher body temperature can lead to hypothermia. If a person overdoses, they might experience convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, or even death.

Those who use meth might experience severe itching, leading to skin sores. If a person uses meth through injection, they run the risk of scarred or collapsed veins. Crystal meth can also cause a person to have a very limited appetite, leading to extreme weight loss. Insomnia is also reported by those who take meth. People sometimes binge crystal meth and go days without eating or sleeping. Another physical risk is how meth affects your mouth and teeth. Using crystal meth can result in severe dental problems, causing teeth to rot.

Using crystal meth can open you up to potentially contracting numerous diseases. Injecting meth raises the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis because of needle sharing. Meth can also worsen the progression of AIDS/HIV and potentially lead to tuberculosis, pneumonia as well as kidney and liver disease.

How Crystal Meth Affects Your Brain

Taking crystal meth can cause numerous dangerous mental side effects and long-term cognitive problems. When a person uses meth, they tend to have extreme emotions. They might feel overly excited, but that can easily switch to agitation and paranoia. People who take meth constantly feel on edge. In extreme cases, their behavior can escalate to violence. Meth often causes hallucinations, which can become dangerous when paired with delusions and paranoia that can also come with taking crystal meth.

During and after taking crystal meth, a person’s ability to think clearly is impacted. People on meth might feel confused or disoriented. They might have difficulty understanding what’s happening or have short-term and long-term memory issues. These problems can affect them even after the effects have worn off. Meth can change a person’s brain structure, affecting how their brain produces dopamine. Once a person stops using meth, their brain structure may go back to normal after a while. Sometimes, it can take a year or more for their brain to return to normal, while some parts of the brain may never fully recover.

How to Get Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to meth, it is vital to get the treatment necessary for recovery. A life free of addiction is possible with the help of the proper detox and treatment program for your needs.

Enter Into Medically Assisted Detox

Most rehabilitation or treatment centers require clients to go through detox. After detox, those who enter treatment can start completely drug-free and focus solely on treatment and healing. The detoxification process can be physically and mentally difficult, and this is especially true for crystal meth because of how addictive it is and how severe the withdrawal symptoms are. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Dehydration
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Intense cravings
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Chills

What to Expect in Treatment

After a person completes detox, they’ll need to enter residential treatment. Currently, there isn’t a government-approved medication that can treat addiction to meth. The common course is through behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), where they can address the things that trigger use and participate in physical rehabilitation.

Meth addiction destroys the body, which is why physical rehabilitation in treatment is so important. Healing from meth addiction involves improving sleep, nutrition, and physical fitness, as those are most affected.

Crystal meth addiction is serious. Since the drug is highly addictive, it can be easy for your life to become taken over by this drug. There are plenty of physical and mental risks and it’s important to get help for this addiction right away. Thankfully, there is help available. While detox will be difficult, quitting meth for good can give you a second chance at life. In treatment, you can reclaim your life and begin to heal. If you have a crystal meth addiction, it’s important to get the help you need before it’s too late. While some of the risks of meth are long-lasting, there are many that improve after quitting, although it can take some time. It’s possible to get better. If you’re interested in learning how Bella Monte can help, call us today at (800) 974-1938 to learn about our crystal meth program.