Crystal Meth

Methamphetamine Addiction

Crystal meth – short for crystal methamphetamine – is one of several forms of the drug methamphetamine, a highly addictive synthetic stimulant known for its extreme affect upon the pleasure center of the brain. Crystal meth (also known as ice, meth, crystal, and other names) is one of the most highly addictive psychoactive drugs known today.

Methamphetamine is a clearish to white (sometimes bluish) crystalline drug ingested in various ways including snorting (insufflation, or inhaling through the nose), smoking, or IV (intravenously, or injection with a syringe/ hypodermic needle).

Methamphetamine acts on the brain by increasing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to euphoria followed by a crash, otherwise known as coming down. Users typically develop a powerful desire to continue using crystal meth because the drug creates a strong (albeit false) sense of well-being, elation, and a rush of energy. As is the case with many other stimulants, the meth user also experiences decreased appetite. The effects of methamphetamine generally last from six to eight hours, but can sometimes last up to 24 hours. The crash that occurs after being high on crystal meth is so severe and unpleasant that users often ingest yet more of the drug, a quality shared by crack cocaine. After a time, meth users are known to have difficulty achieving any feelings of pleasure at all.

iv drug useAbusers of methamphetamine typically suffer devastating consequences physically, psychologically, and socially. The wide-ranging adverse health effects of crystal meth include memory loss, anorexia, malnutrition, aggression, psychosis/psychotic behavior, heart damage, insomnia, and chronic dental problems thought to be caused primarily by xerostomia (dry mouth) and bruxism (grinding teeth).

Signs of Methamphetamine Dependence
Borrowing money often, selling possessions, stealing
Deteriorating physical appearance
Evident oral hygiene problems: decaying teeth, tooth loss
Decreased appetite, weight loss
Dilated pupils
Picking at skin, hair
Burn marks on fingers or mouth
Engaging in repetitive, meaningless tasks
Odd sleeping patterns
Psychotic behavior characterized by paranoia, hallucinations
Mood swings, attitude changes
Incessant talking
Excessive sweating for no apparent reason
Erratic movements, exaggerated mannerisms, facial tics
Foul body odor, an ammonia smell
Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms: Physical & Psychological
crystal meth up close

Increased appetite
Anxiety, restlessness
Irritability, agitation
Excessive sleeping
Vivid dreams
Suicidal ideation (being preoccupied with thoughts of suicide)
Amphetamine psychosis
Resources: Methamphetamine Addiction
Methamphetamine – Wikipedia
The Truth About Crystal Meth – Foundation for a Drug Free World
The Meth Epidemic – Frontline (PBS) — An investigation into how and why meth use spiraled out of control and became the fastest-growing drug abuse problem in America
How Meth Destroys the Body – Frontline (PBS)
Meth Info – The Meth Project
Methamphetamine: Abuse and Addiction – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA
Methamphetamine Information – Drugscene: Quality Fact-Based Drug Education
Side effects of methamphetamine addiction
crystal meth in baggie

Meth mouth – Wikipedia
Xerostomia – Wikipedia
Bruxism – Wikipedia
Stimulant psychosis – Wikipedia
Amphetamine-Related Psychiatric Disorders – Medscape Medical Reference — The DSM-IV-TR describes these ten amphetamine-related psychiatric disorders
What Are Suicidal Thoughts? What Is Suicidal Ideation? Medical News Today
Suicide and suicidal thoughts – Mayo Clinic
Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors (PDF) – National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Assessment of Suicidal Ideation, Intent, and Risk (PDF) – American College of Physicians (ACP)
How does the reward center in the brain work? Neuroscience Psychology – Curiosity/Discovery
Crystal Meth in the News
Kindergarten student in Missouri brings mother’s drug pipe and crystal meth to show and tell – NY Daily News (Sep 2011)

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