Crystal Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Withdrawal & Treatment

Crystal Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs available today.

It’s also easy and cheap to produce, accessible, and can come including a variety of different ingredients due to its homemade nature.

Historically, Crystal Meth addiction 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.

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 drug 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 drugs available, with 3x 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.

The Effects of Crystal Meth

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 meth 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 meth 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 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.

Crystal Meth Addiction Facts

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 euphoria, with many crystal meth addiction stories leading to seizures, brain damage and death.

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 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 a 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 loved one may be a crystal meth addict, it can feel utterly hopeless.

Luckily, there are 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 symptoms of withdrawal 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 loved one struggle with addiction to crystal meth, 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 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? 

It could well be the best thing you ever did!

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