Crystal Meth | Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug chemically related to amphetamine but with stronger effects on the central nervous system. Street names for the drug include “TIK or TIK TIK”, “speed,” “meth,” “crystal,” and “crank.” Crystal Meth | Methamphetamine is used in pill form or in powdered form by snorting or injecting. Crystallized methamphetamine known as “ice,” “crystal,” or “glass,” is a smokable and more powerful form of the drug.
Crystal Meth | Methamphetamine use
Crystal Meth | Methamphetamine addiction has three stages: low intensity, binge, and high intensity. The binge and high-intensity abusers smoke or inject meth to achieve a faster and stronger high; the patterns of abuse differ in the frequency in which the drug is abused and the stages within their cycles. The binge abuse cycle is made up of these stages: rush, high, binge, tweaking, crash, normal, and withdrawal. Rush (5-30 minutes) – The abuser’s heartbeat races and metabolism, blood pressure, and pulse soar. Feelings of pleasure. High (4-16 hours) – The methamphetamine addict often feels aggressively smarter and becomes argumentative.
Binge (3-15 days) – The methamphetamine addict maintains the high for as long as possible and becomes hyperactive, both mentally and physically. Tweaking – The most dangerous stage of the cycle. See section below. Crash (1-3 days) – The addict does not pose a threat to anyone. He becomes very lethargic and sleeps. Normal (2-14 days) – The abuser returns to a state that is slightly deteriorated from the normal state before the abuse. Withdrawal (30-90 days) – No immediate symptoms are evident but the abuser first becomes depressed and then lethargic.
When the craving for methamphetamine hits users may become suicidal. Taking methamphetamine at any time during withdrawal can stop the unpleasant feelings so, consequently, a high percentage of addicts in treatment return to abuse. High-intensity abusers, often called “speed freaks,” focus on preventing the crash. But each successive rush becomes less euphoric and it takes more meth to achieve it. The pattern does not usually include a state of normalcy or withdrawal. High-intensity abusers experience extreme weight loss, very pale facial skin, sweating, body odour, discoloured teeth and scars or open sores on their bodies. The scars are the results of the abusers’ hallucinations of bugs on his skin, often referred to as “crank bugs,” and attempts to scratch the bugs off. (see paraphernalia)
Tweaking – The most dangerous stage of meth abuse for abusers, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers is called “tweaking.” A tweaker is a methamphetamine addict who probably has not slept in 3-15 days and is irritable and paranoid. Tweakers often behave or react violently and if a tweaker is using alcohol or another depressant, his/her negative feelings and associated dangers intensify. The tweaker craves more meth, but no dosage will help re-create the euphoric high, which causes frustration, and leads to unpredictability and potential for violence. A tweaker can appear normal: eyes can be clear, speech concise, and movements brisk. But a closer look will reveal the person’s eyes are moving ten times faster than normal, the voice has a slight quiver, and movements are quick and jerky.
These physical signs are more difficult to identify if the tweaker is using a depressant. Tweakers are often involved in domestic disputes and motor vehicle accidents. They may also be present at “raves” or parties and they may participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes, such as purse snatchings or assaults, to support their habit.
Amphetamines – amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine – are collectively referred to as amphetamines. Their chemical properties and actions are so similar that even experienced users have difficulty knowing which drug they have taken. Amphetamine was first marketed in the 1930s under the name Benzedrine in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion. By 1937, amphetamine was available by prescription in tablet form and was used in the treatment of the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and something called minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), which today is called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
During World War II, amphetamine was widely used to keep the soldiers going. During this period, both dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine) became easily available. As use of amphetamines spread, so did the tendency to become addicted. Amphetamines became a cure-all for helping truckers to complete their long routes without falling asleep, for weight control, for helping athletes to perform better and train longer, and for treating mild depression. Intravenous amphetamine abuse spread among a subculture known as “speed freaks.” As time went on, it became evident that the dangers of abuse of these drugs outweighed most of their therapeutic uses.
In 1965, greater attempts to control amphetamines were instituted with amendments to the federal food and drug laws to curb the black market in amphetamines. Many pharmaceutical amphetamine products were removed from the market and doctors prescribed those that remained with reluctance. In order to meet the ever increasing black market demand for amphetamines, illegal laboratory production mushroomed, especially methamphetamine laboratories on the West Coast. Today, most amphetamines distributed to the black market are produced in clandestine laboratories. Methamphetamine addiction Methamphetamine use has spread to all areas of the United States and continues to be on an upswing.
Signs of methamphetamine addiction and abuse
A methamphetamine-induced “high” artificially boosts self-confidence, many users are overcome by a so-called “superman syndrome.” In this state, methamphetamine abusers ignore their physical limitations and try to do things which they are normally incapable of performing. Meth is highly addictive because people often continue using the drug to avoid an inevitable crash that comes when the drugs’ positive effects begin to wear off. Even first-time users experience many of meth’s negative effects. Methamphetamine’s negative effects include, but are not limited to, the following: Hyperactivity, irritability, visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations (hearing “voices”), suicidal tendencies, aggression, suspiciousness, severe paranoia, shortness of breath, increased blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, long periods of sleep (“crashing” for 24-48 hours or more), prolonged sluggishness, severe depression, weight loss, malnutrition, anorexia, itching (illusion that bugs are crawling on the skin), welts on the skin, involuntary body movements, paranoid delusions and a ravenous sexual appetite.
Severe amphetamine induced depression and/or psychosis
Methamphetamine stimulates the central nervous system, causing chemical reactions in the brain and tricking the body into believing it has unlimited energy supplies and draining energy reserves needed in other parts of the body. This is why meth addicts tend to stay awake for long periods of time and then eventually crash, feeling tired, depressed and much worse than they did before they took the drug. Chemical imbalances in the brain and sleep deprivation commonly associated with continued meth use result in hallucinations, extreme paranoia and often bizarre, violent behaviour.
Meth causes extensive damage to the body, and can cause death or permanent physical damage. Physiological effects of methamphetamine use include: abnormally high blood pressure, rapid and irregular heart rate and rhythm, seizures, damage to blood vessels in the brain (stroke), accumulation of excess fluid in lungs, brain tissue and skull, continuous/excessive dilation of the pupils, impaired regulation of heat loss, hyperpyrexia (dangerously high body temperature), internal bleeding, damage to other organs caused by disruption of blood flow, breakdown of muscle tissue leading to kidney failure and heart attacks.
Similar to other drug substances, smoking and inhaling meth damages the lungs and nasal passages, and intravenous use can lead to spread of the AIDS virus. The drug appeals to the abuser because it increases the body’s metabolism and produces euphoria, alertness, and gives the abuser a sense of increased energy. But high doses or chronic use of meth, also known as “speed,” “crank,” and “ice,” increases nervousness, irritability, and paranoia.
Methamphetamine has toxic effects. In animals, a single high dose of the drug has been shown to damage nerve terminals in the dopamine-containing regions of the brain. The large release of dopamine produced by methamphetamine is thought to contribute to the drug’s toxic effects on nerve terminals in the brain. High doses can elevate body temperature to dangerous, sometimes lethal levels.
Methamphetamine addiction treatment programs
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. Recovery and rehabilitation from methamphetamine addiction may require a treatment program ranging from certified addiction counselling to treatment at a residential alcohol and drug rehab center, depending on the extent of the addiction and a number of other factors.
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