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Crystal Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Effects & Treatment

Meth Crystals

Crystal Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs available today. It is also cheap and easy to produce, readily accessible, and can come including a variety of different ingredients due to its homemade nature.

Also known by a plethora of street names such as crank, tweak, and ice, it is a very powerful stimulant concocted from a wide range of source substances and chemicals.

Historically, it has always been a major issue in the United States but has been a relatively rare occurrence in the United Kingdom. While it is still one of the illegal drugs with the lowest rates of use in the UK, Crystal Meth abuse has been growing and it’s unfortunately no longer as uncommon.

Meth use really exploded in the 1980’s especially amongst certain demographics like the United States gay community, motorcycle gangs, and some long-haul truckers in order to drive long journeys with little or no sleep. However, a dip in prices to as little as £25 for half a gram, enough to last the majority of users a couple of days, has spread meth use deeper into mainstream culture. Until recently, meth use was rather rare in the UK, but lately, it has become more widely available even to suburban housewives.

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What is “Crystal Meth” or “Meth”?

Methamphetamine is a drug made from several different amphetamines, which works by stimulating the central nervous system. Meth is often ‘cooked’ in people’s homes or illegal laboratories, and typically contains either the stimulant ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

It is most commonly smoked but can also be snorted, injected or even made into pills.

The often homemade nature of meth drastically increases the danger of abusing the drug, since dealers and manufacturers often cut it with other substances in order to increase profit margins. Substances used for this can range wildly, from different stimulants and amphetamines to cocaine, crushed up paracetamol tablets, or even sugar and flour.

Meth is considered one of the most addictive substances available, with 3 times the addictive potential as cocaine. It also tends to become addictive much quicker and be much more difficult to quit, which is why professional help is highly recommended.

Drugs such as GHB and methamphetamine are often linked with chemsex where sexual activity occurs between men while under the influence of the drugs.

The Effects of Crystal Meth

Methamphetamine can be snorted, injected or smoked in a pipe to produce very strong feelings of euphoria, energy, and a perceived (but false) sense of focus. Smoking it provides the most intense sensation as the drug directly enters the bloodstream with results that can last from 2-16 hours.

Users describe a range of feelings and mental patterns ranging from obsessive compulsive behaviours to extremely strong sex drive and lack of sexual inhibitions.

This last effect is worth noting because it greatly increases the odds of unprotected sex. It is shocking but studies in the US have shown that crystal meth drug abuse has been a factor in as many as half of all new AIDS cases in recent years.

The stimulant qualities of meth results in users being extremely euphoric on the first use. This euphoria is highly addictive and, while it’s possible to use it once without becoming addicted, most first time users are extremely tempted to try again.

This leads to regular use as the person tries to maintain the euphoria, but using will never feel as good as the first time again, and repeated use will continuously reduce the effects until the euphoria is barely experienced at all. 

Once this happens, the symptoms known as “tweaking” appear, as meth users behaviour changes and begin to experience discomfort, emptiness and appear to be dissociative.

Continued use after this stage can lead to hallucinations, extreme itchiness and worse, and meth users become at a much higher risk of self-harm due to this.

The effects of meth are highly volatile because there can be potentially so many different toxic substances involved in a mix. After coming down last decade, rates of meth abuse have disturbingly been on the rise in recent years. 

Crystal Meth Addiction Risks

Continued use of meth will eventually lead to the dopamine receptors in the brain being completely destroyed. This will not only make it impossible for the person to experience a meth high again despite still feeling addicted, but will even severely impede their capability for general happiness and pleasure.

This can lead to a person spiralling, constantly fighting the symptoms of both addiction and withdrawal, using meth and experiencing all the negative side effects with none of the euphorias, with many crystal meth abuse stories leading to seizures, brain damage and death.

What About Short Term Use?

Short-term use of methamphetamine causes a rapid increase in body temperature, blood pressure, and cardiac rate. It can have unpleasant cognitive effects such as hallucinations, intense paranoia, and bizarre, psychotic behaviours.

Overdose is easily achieved with meth, marked by severe convulsions and circulatory and respiratory collapse, and death. Long-term abuse can create memory loss, wild rages, mood swings, and damage to the immune system.

A dependency on crystal meth often requires admission to drug rehab. If you have problems with drug addiction you should seriously consider your treatment options. Contact us for free, confidential advice on treatment and rehab options.

Crystal Meth Addiction Symptoms

In the short term, when a person who isn’t addicted to meth or hasn’t been using it for long uses meth, addiction symptoms tend to include:

  • A brief but dramatic boost in energy
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia

In more long term cases, where a patient has been using meth for a period of time, these symptoms can further develop into:

  • Constant anxiety/panic attacks
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Depression
  • Wrinkled/prematurely aged skin
  • Compromised immune system
  • Heart infections
  • Skin infections
  • Fidgeting
  • Rotten teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Brain damage
  • Psychosis

Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment

Like the treatment of many addictions such as cocaine or alcohol dependency, the first stage of the treatment of crystal meth addiction is detoxification.

While drug detoxes are possible from home, the severity of meth addiction means it is usually best to undergo detox at a professional facility under 24/7 supervision.

Meth withdrawal usually sets in around 24 hours after the last use, and the first symptoms to arise are fatigue and depression due to the damage done to the brain and central nervous system by regular stimulant use.

Anxiety, insomnia, and hallucinations are also common symptoms at this stage for the same reason.

The resulting decrease in dopamine when meth use is stopped leads to extreme depression, distress and pain, with it being completely impossible to experience any form of pleasure in the most extreme cases.

Surprisingly, the physical symptoms of meth withdrawal are relatively mild when compared to other strong recreational drugs such as cocaine and heroin, with no flu symptoms, shakes or sweating etc – but the mental symptoms can be absolutely devastating.

This period of extreme depression at the start of meth withdrawal can last up to 3 days and is known as “crashing”.

Once a patient has passed the “crash” stage, the rest of the withdrawal period is characterised by an extreme, overpowering craving to use meth. This is so overpowering that the majority of meth users who are quitting alone without medical help will relapse at this stage.

Crystal Meth Addiction Help

If you are struggling with crystal meth addiction or believe a family member may be a crystal meth addict, it can feel utterly hopeless.

Luckily, there are private residential rehabilitation clinics all over the UK that can help you.

Here at Serenity Centres, we aim to make overcoming meth addiction as easy as possible, and we are able to provide the following:

  • Free, no-obligation advice over the phone from our friendly, experienced addiction experts, some of whom have overcome addiction themselves
  • Free advice on the help that’s local to you, including NHS facilities, our own, and those of other private clinics
  • Consultations with GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals
  • Medication to help reduce the withdrawals and make quitting as easy as possible.
  • CBT sessions and other therapeutic treatments
  • Support groups and meetings with people who have previously overcome addiction
  • Fitness trainers and nutritionists to keep you healthy, positive and as distracted from your cravings as possible
  • Holistic treatments such as acupuncture, yoga and more
  • Constant medical supervision and help overcoming withdrawal

All of the above can give you a fighting chance and help you get back on the road to recovering your life and feeling like yourself again.

If you or a family member struggle with crystal meth problems, consider giving us a call now on 0800 118 2892 for a friendly, no-obligation chat to see how we can help!

We also provide free tours of our private clinics so you can learn more about our stress-free environments and top of the line resources.

Even better, our pricing is covered by most medical insurances and we provide the lowest prices in the UK and 0% interest payment plans, so if you want to get your life back on track but are worried about the financial aspect, don’t be!

Why not give us a call now to discuss your options? Your privacy is important to us and we understand if you would like to keep your anonymity when talking to us.

It could well be the best thing you ever did!


How do I know I have an addiction to drugs?

  • Continuously taking drugs that are no longer needed for a health problem
  • Building up a tolerance against the drugs
  • Feel shaky, depressed, stomachaches, intense sweating, headaches and more intense when the drugs wear off
  • Even when drug addiction is hurting your loved ones, you still can’t stop
  • You spend time thinking about how to get drugs, when to take it, how good it feels
  • Having a hard time giving yourself limitations to drug use
  • Losing interest in extracurricular or social activities that don’t involve drugs
  • Losing priority over personal & professional responsibilities
  • You borrow or steal money to pay for drugs
  • Having trouble to get along with loved ones and colleagues. They complain about your actions or how you’ve changed
  • Sleeping and eating too much or too little
  • Drug addiction reflects on your physical appearance
  • Bloodshot eyes, bad breath, tremors, blood nose, or you may have gained or lost weight
  • You have a new set of friends with whom you do drugs and go to different places to use the drugs

What treatments are available for drug addiction?

  • Drug inpatient detox
  • Drug home detox
  • Drug rehab
  • Intervention
  • Counselling
  • Group Therapies
  • Residential Rehab facilities

Where is Crystal Meth addiction treatment available?

We have rehab and detox clinics all across the UK to help you on your journey to recovery. Click here to find rehab centres & facilities near you.

How much does Crystal Meth addiction treatment cost?

For more information on how much drug addiction treatment costs, please click here.

How can I get started with drug addiction treatment?

The best way to get started is to give us a call at 0800 118 2892 for free advice and assessment. Let us help you or your loved one figure out the best treatment plan for your alcohol addiction so you can get started on your journey to recovery.

Self-help tips for dealing with the initial stages of drug addiction

  • Keep track of the volume of your drug use to have a better understanding of the role of drug addiction in your life.
  • Consider the impact of your drug use to the things that matter most to you, such as your partner, your children, your career and your health.
  • Consider getting advice from a person you trust about your drug use.
  • Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to change for the better.
  • Analyse your attempts at recovery. What worked and what didn’t?
  • Set specific, measurable goals, such as time and limitations you’ve made to recover from drug addiction.
  • Consider to open up to your loved ones that you’re committing to recovery and seek for their support.