Methamphetamine is a drug typically known as meth, chalk or speed. The smoked variety is generally called ice, crank, glass and crystal. It’s basically a white, bitter-tasting, odorless crystal powder that dissolves easily in water and/or alcohol. Meth originated early in the century from the drug amphetamine and was initially used as a bronchial inhaler and nasal decongestant treatment. Similar to amphetamine, it generates heightened activity, a diminished appetite, and a false sense of security and well-being. The effects of meth typically last for six to eight hours. After the pleasant initial “rush,” users often experience a high degree of agitation that can lead to uncharacteristic aggressive behavior in some cases.
How Is Meth Used?
Meth is used in various forms and can be snorted, injected, ingested orally or smoked. Depending on how it’s taken, it can alter moods in a number of ways.
During the 1980’s, the smokable form of meth (ice) hit the scene. Ice is typically a large, high-purity clear crystal that’s smoked by the user in a glass pipe, similar to how crack cocaine is smoked. The smoke from ice is odorless and leaves behind a residue that can be smoked again. It can generate effects that may last 12 hours or longer.
Like other stimulants, meth is usually abused in a “binge-and-crash’” type of pattern. Because tolerance for meth can occur in just minutes, which means that the pleasurable effects vanish even before blood concentration levels significantly fall, users attempt to maintain the high by subsequently binging on it over and over again.
Understanding Meth and Its Dangers
Crystal meth has the ability to damage the body quite extensively and when used long enough, can have long-term consequences like the following:
• Risk of STDs: Meth can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. Since the inhibitions of meth addicts are much lower when under the influence of the drug, they’re more likely to take part in riskier behaviors, such as engaging in unprotected sex with multiple people. Sadly, it only takes one bad encounter with an infected individual to get an STD.
• Weight Changes: Although some people are attracted to how easily meth can promote weight loss, it’s not worth it. While it’s true that meth can reduce hunger and speed up metabolism in order to lose weight more quickly, the weight loss is only temporary.
• Affects Sex Drive: At first, meth actually increases libido. However, after long-term use, it can cause a substantial drop in sex drive and produce physical difficulties, such as erectile dysfunction.
• Damages Overall Appearance: Meth gradually destroys the key structures of the body. This includes bodily tissues and blood vessels, among other portions, and also hinders the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
• Teeth: Crystal meth has a strong impact on the integrity of the teeth due to its corrosive nature. It can also affect the mucosal lining of the mouth in addition to the gum tissues. Virtually every heavy crystal meth user has some degree of tooth decay and/or loss. Unfortunately, the process starts after the very first time it’s ingested. In fact, die-hard meth users almost always lose most or all of their teeth. Body-wide hygiene among crystal meth users is typically poor, which can also contribute to substantial tooth decay.
• Skin: Meth makes most users hallucinate and think their skin is crawling with bugs. In vain, they attempt to pick them off, which may cause lesions on the skin as well as chronic abscesses.
Helping Loved Ones Escape the Grasp of Meth
Most everyone who knows someone addicted to meth understands how badly the addict needs help; but ironically, meth addicts don’t see it that way. Do you love someone who may be addicted to meth? The action you take today could literally save your loved one tomorrow. Just the mere fact that you care can help a meth addict immensely. Here’s what you can do to help.
Many meth addicts know deep down inside that they desperately need help, but feel unable to break the vicious cycle. Therefore, they simply give up seeking help. When an addict reaches the point of losing her job or home, she may be willing and ready to talk about her addiction with people she loves and trusts. However, if this opportunity isn’t quickly taken advantage of, the overwhelming environment and/or drug cravings may force the user back to abusing meth, and it may be quite some time before she’s willing to cooperate and seek help.
Meth Addicts and Reality
A meth addict doesn’t always have the same view of her addiction that others may hold. In other words, the addict may feel “okay,” though she doesn’t have a job or any friends left. Mainstream society sees addicts for what they are, while they go through life wearing rose-colored glasses and ignoring the facts of their true existence. Remember that addicts feel a great deal of pain both physically and emotionally. Yet someone addicted to meth may think it’s even more painful to try and break the addiction. In fact, numerous meth addicts who’ve overdosed started using drugs again just a day or two later.
From time to time, the addict may be faced with certain pressures that may force her to make a decision about whether or not she wants to keep using or stop and get help for her addiction. Situations like the possibility of losing a spouse, facing jail time and pending job loss are all potential circumstances where meth addicts have enough negative pressure to make them take control and ultimately seek the help they need. Truthfully, an addict will usually only try and get help when something or someone pushes the individual out of her comfort zone and forces her to make a decision about her life.
If you or someone you care about is dealing with an addiction to meth, help is available right now when you call the hotline number at 800-447-9081 FREE.
Don’t wait another minute to get your life back or reach out and help the person you love. It’s never too late to turn it around.