Substance Abuse

Crystal Meth Signs of Abuse And Physical & Mental Effects


Crystal MethIn 1893, the pure form of Methamphetamine, also known as meth, was discovered. It normally is a chemical and an equal combination of two pure enantiomers, namely dextromethamphetamine and levomethamphetamine. According to scientists, the former is the stronger central nervous system stimulant compared to the latter.

In its pure form, doctors had been confident that it is useful as a second option for treating issues such as obesity, since it causes consumers to lose appetite and thus lose weight, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, since it increases concentration and alertness, when taken in low doses.

However, they also acknowledged that it has some effects later on that are not pleasant and thus declared the drug to have much neurotoxicity for human consumption. Moreover, there was the availability of other safer substitute drugs that could be used for treatment of the above mentioned problems, with comparable treatment efficacy.

Unfortunately, the human race had already discovered the euphoric effects of meth like elevation of mood and decided to consume the drug for recreational purposes. Eventually, it began being illegally trafficked into nations like the United States for such consumption.

Normally, when people discover the effect of a psychoactive drug, they can hardly refrain from taking it in larger amounts. Instead of the low and moderate amounts that are recommended for patients, these other healthy persons begin taking low doses but later end up in worse situations like overdoses.

It may not be their fault entirely because something does change in their bodies that cause this occurrence. Higher consumption means increased demand.  With increased demand, the suppliers had to bring in more meth and when it still couldn’t be enough, drug dealers thought of creating more recreational product that could please their clientele.

The creation of more meth meant cutting the drug with other substances like chemicals to come up with a more addictive substance that could continue keeping the consumers hooked, beat the demand created and also ensure the dealers earned more money in their pockets. The substance they created was crystal meth.

In this article, you will discover how you can identify persons that abuse crystal meth or how your body depicts its consumption and the physical and mental effects that you are prone to experience upon consumption.

Definition of Crystal Meth

Crystal MethCrystal meth is the simplest term that people use to call crystal methamphetamine. Methamphetamine comes in various forms, and so crystal meth is among those forms. It is very concentrated and appears as a crystalized substance. As the drug dealers and buyers sell and purchase in the streets, they use names such as crank, speed, ice or meth.

As mentioned earlier, this rock like crystal is created to cause a high that is not caused by the usual and pure methamphetamine. The creators of this substance conduct their operations in shady grounds where they have funny labs that are neither hygienic nor legal.

They cut the drug using harmful substances and chemicals that are not friendly to our organs. they are so hazardous that even the authorities can afford to expose themselves when dismantling these places when found.

Statistics of Crystal Meth Consumption

Crystal MethA Nation Survey on Drug Abuse and Health (NSDUH) was conducted in 2012, to find out just how spread the consumption of meth had become since it had gained popularity for a while. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that almost five percent of the United States population had tried taking the drug at least once, since they wanted to test its stimulation.

In another NSDUH conducted in 2015, the reports indicated that people exceeding one million and seven hundred and older than 12 years used illicit meth. Additionally, about nine hundred thousand above the age of twelve years did the same in the previous month.

In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network confirmed through a report that meth contributed to about thirteen percent of the substance abuse emergency visits in hospitals. In 2015, NSDHU also discovered that twice or more many men consumed the illicit meth, as compared to women.

Categories of Crystal Meth Abuse

The reason why crystal meth is very lethal is because it takes over people’s lives in stages, and it may be hard to notice especially if you are really carried away by the euphoric effects. These categories begin by appearing harmless. However, the worse continues to take place internally and eventually, your body becomes completely sick.

The following are categories of crystal meth use that you are exposed to if you are not careful:

  • Low intensity meth abuse

The low-intensity abusers of crystal meth simply wish to benefit from consuming meth, aside from euphoric effects of the drugs. The extra stimulation that they want enables them to stay alert and awake because they probably want to work extra hours or complete urgent tasks a bit faster.

They might as well be after weight loss, and thus will consume crystal meth to suppress their appetite. However, if this trend continues, they are few steps away from consuming it in large amounts over small periods of time.  They either swallow or snort the drug.

  • Binge meth abuse

The binge abusers are always in a hurry to feel the effects of the drugs immediately. Therefore, they are likely to either smoke it or inject the crystal meth using a needle. These two means are the fastest to get the drug into the blood stream.

With a more intense dose of the drug, their rush becomes stronger since it is actually psychologically addictive in the long run. The addiction on the drug for these binge consumers puts them on the verge of becoming high-intensity meth abusers.

  • High-intensity meth abuse

In a general term, the high intensity crystal meth abusers are addicts. In the streets, they are differentiated from other users by being called speed freaks. They focus their whole existence on preventing the calm down effects that take place upon a crash after the drugs wear off.

Their desired high is always a level higher than the last, which makes them continually increase their dosage frequently. As a result, these crystal meth addicts fall into a dark pit of addiction that continually spirals.

Physical Signs of Abuse

Crystal meth is definitely toxic. Therefore, the moment you begin being a regular consumer, you are likely to depict some physical signs that can tell others that you abusing the drugs. These signs are like your body reacting to things that it does not want.

The following signs can also help you diagnose a relative or important person in your life. Quitting or seeking professional help to lead a better sober life should be quick upon the onset of these signs. Otherwise, you risk getting addicted to the drug. They include:

  • Increased physical activity due to increased wakefulness, alertness and energy
  • Heavy sweating
  • Increased breathing rate as well as blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Fleeting euphoria that is depicted through self-confidence and extreme joyfulness
  • Tremors
  • Unpredictable behavior, thus can be violent at times
  • Rapid speech that often does not make sense
  • Feeling nausea, that leads to vomiting and could also diarrhea
  • Bad breath
  • uncontrollable jaw clenching’
  • Dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes, accompanied by rapid eye movement
  • Dark circles around the eyes that appear unhealthy and gaunt
  • Loss of appetite
  • Significant weight loss, yet you are not dieting or ill
  • Dry skin that is also cracked, especially in the fingertips area and the lips.
  • Chronic issues mostly with the nose, such as nosebleeds and running nose.
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion, hallucinations and delusional thoughts
  • Depression due to wearing off of the drugs
  • Less care about grooming and personal appearance
  • Obsession with pricking skin or hair
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety

These signs mostly indicate that you have just started using crystal meth, or have been using it for a while. However, what if you are really addicted to the drug? What would be the signs of crystal meth abuse that has already become addiction?

The following are the long-term signs of crystal meth intoxication, alongside the above abuse signs:

  • Rooting of teeth
  • Skin wounds due to the itching
  • Despite acknowledging the fact that you need to quit using the drug, you still consume more crystal meth than you initially intended.
  • Constant failure in trying to quit consumption of the drug
  • Having the cravings for crystal meth, when you spend some time without consuming it
  • Thinking too much about the drug, spending a lot of time getting it and giving up various activities for the sake of the drug
  • Continuously failing to meet the required responsibilities due to the drug influence
  • Continuation of crystal meth consumption regardless of the consequences, including health and relationship problems
  • Having the courage to consume crystal meth even when you are sure that there may be some risky situations involved, including driving
  • The development of tolerance to crystal meth, which leads you to have the urge to continue taking more to acquire the desired high intensity.
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms as soon as the drugs wear off or when not using them.

Effects of Abuse

Crystal MethThe effects of crystal meth consumption will eventually catch up with you because this drug changes the normally functioning of your system. Crystal meth changes your body functioning by first causing an increase in the neurotransmitter dopamine amount produced in the brain.

Dopamine is usually the neurotransmitter that is responsible for various brain functions, including pleasurable experiences, motivation, reinforcement or rewarding feelings and certain motor abilities. Crystal meth interferes with this because it causes the rapid release of dopamine, consequently leading to euphoria that you will experience.

Even within the first few times, you can easily become addicted to it because the brain does not completely go back to normal functioning upon wearing off of the drug. If you begin to use this drug more regularly, your brain may lack the ability maintain the chemical balance required and hence dependence kicks in.

Physical Effects

Some of the physical effects are the same signs that make people know that you are actually consuming crystal meth. However, others are deep in the body organs and may only show through some symptoms. These are not always clear about what is really going on with your body, until medical intervention is involved.

The physical effects of crystal meth that last for a short period include the following:

  • Extreme euphoria as well as well being
  • Noticeable decreased appetite since crystal meth is an appetite depressant.
  • Cardiovascular effects that are depicted through increased body temperature and blood pressure, as well as rapid heart rate that constantly increases alongside the blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased respiration activity
  • Inability to sleep that can lead you to stay awake for about one week
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Extreme hyperactivity or excitability due to the increased energy levels in your body, alertness and concentration.
  • High irritability that can lead to unpredictable behavior, which may include aggressiveness and erratic or bizarre behavior
  • Dilated pupils
  • convulsions and seizures
  • various risks due to overdosing, such as potential risks

These physical effects that last within a short period are bound do cause other fatal physical effects, which are long-term. These are issues that may never heal till death or require a lot of years of medical consultation to recover.

Therefore, the continuation of long-term use of crystal meth leads to the development of the following long-term physical effects:

  • Cardiovascular damage that is permanent if you are lucky not to die in the process. It includes the risks of suffering from heart attack and stroke, as well as the development of chronic high blood pressure.
  • If you smoke the crystal meth for long periods of time, nose bleeds will eventually be accompanied by lung damage
  • Snorting too will continually cause noose bleeds an eventually severe nasal damage.
  • Since the toxins in crystal meth will actually leave the body by passing through the kidneys, they are likely to tamper with the kidney functioning, causing kidney damage.
  • As the liver tries to metabolize the components of crystal meth, it may suffer too, resulting to liver damage.
  • The lack of proper eating will cause your body to lack the nutrients it needs and thus you will end up developing severe malnutrition
  • The decay of your teeth will continually graduate as you continue consuming the drug and cause severe teeth decay
  • The crystal meth will continually tamper with your antibodies, leaving you with a weaken immune system.
  • Since you are likely to be high most of the time, you will neglect personal hygiene and develop severe lack of self-hygiene. As you continue scratching and developing wounds with dirt on your skin, you are likely to get issues like skin illness and infections.
  • Your appearance will change due to the development of marks, which may make you seem much older than your actual age.
  • As you continually engage in the drug, you will develop a tolerance. As a result, you will need more of the drug to be able to achieve a high of any sort
  • Withdrawal symptoms will begin being evident whenever you fail to consume crystal meth like you are used to.
  • In the long run, you will be like a walking crystal meth zombies since you will not be able to function without it in your system. Crystal meth addiction will dictate your life.

Mental Effects

The same way that crystal meth will result to physical effects is the same way that mental effects will hit you. These effects are actually the scariest part about abusing crystal meth because they can really mess your life if you can hardly think properly.

As crystal meth tampers with the physical part of you through the brain function, it also causes alterations to your mental state. The following are the various short-term mental effects of abusing crystal meth:

  • panic attacks that are mostly caused by being paranoid
  • hallucinations or delusions that could be extreme due to paranoia
  • other types of psychotic behavior

As time goes by, your mental state gets worse because of long-term abuse of crystal meth.  As usual, you will have to pay the price through the long-term mental effects that you will experience.  They include:

  • Sexual disorders due to the indulgence in sexual activity for long periods of time. This takes place due to the increased sexual desire, which is fueled by high energy levels and lack of sleep.
  • The constant disturbance of the normal brain functioning eventually causes brain damage. From here, you can easily suffer from dementia.
  • With irritability and other kinds of mood changes, you may develop mood disorders after long term crystal meth abuse
  • The continuation of the occurrence of anxiety eventually causes you to suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • You are likely to have recurrent psychotic behavior due to delusions, paranoia and hallucinations. What’s more, your sensory experiences may become altered in this process such that you will begin feeling “meth bugs”, a sensation whereby you feel as if you have bugs crawling under your skin.

The mental effects are also depicted through various cognitive and emotional effects as you continually abuse crystal meth.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse has verified the several of these effects that occur due to the abuse of crystal meth. They include the following:

  • Attention

Attention is a term that covers several matters in the human life and is seriously affected due to the chronic use of crystal meth. This substance usually damages the neurons found in the frontal and prefrontal cortex of your brain.

Therefore, you are likely to experience serious chronic issues with your ability to focus, to shift that focus and to maintain concentration for lengthy periods of time in the long run. To keep three even, it is better to seek sobriety if you are already an abuser and abstinence if you are yet to consume crystal meth.

  • Judgment and problem solving

Judgment and problem solving entail different cognitive functions that take place through complex multiple steps. The continuous consumption of crystal meth is detrimental to these functions since it tampers with the steps involved in making judgment and solving issues.

The drug affects your ability to suppress impulses and thus leads to poor problem solving and judgment. This can clearly explain the unnecessary erratic behavior, aggressiveness or violence among crystal meth abusers.

The extent of such dysfunction is dependent on you individually. Hence, you may be impulsive and require assistance to control your behavior or have more subtle deficits.

  • Memory

The chronic use of crystal meth eventually affects the process of encoding and recalling relevant information.  The more you consume this drug, the more your ability to encode and remember information diminishes.

  • Movement issues

As mentioned earlier, the dopamine in your brain is quite responsible for your movements, through your motor functions. As the crystal meth messes round with the functioning of the dopamine, it also damages the neurons that are present in your brain’s white matter tracts.

This interruption and damage eventually affect the motor functions. They most affected include your reaction time to various things, your coordination in very complex and subtle skills and even the basic motor functions like walking.

  • Emotional control

Crystal MethWith a sober mind, you are very well capable of having impulse control because you have the ability to regulate yourself, control your emotional states and the also the actual experience of emotions. However, the ingestion of crystal meth tampers with all these and you begin to depict emotional issues.

Some of them will become evident through your mood swings, loss of motivation, chronic depression and apathy, aggression issues, self-harming tendencies that could graduate to suicidal behavior, hostility and irritability.

The occurrence of all these indicate that the crystal meth has clearly depleted the neurotransmitters and caused structural damage too.

In conclusion, the consumption of crystal meth is very evident through the signs of abuse, which are not pleasant. The physical and mental effects are even worse because some of them will literally torture you.

So why should you subject yourself to all the above lifetime issues, just for euphoric feelings that last a few days. It is better to think thrice and do researches before you destroy your life in the name of ignorance.