12 Ways Crystal Meth Destroys Your Life
Crystal meth is a highly addictive illicit stimulant drug that induces feelings of euphoria, and increased alertness, energy, and motivation. Meth addiction is incredibly dangerous, and can cause destruction in all areas of your life. Read on to find out more about meth, why it is so addictive, the effects of crystal meth, and how to seek professional help, starting with a crystal meth detox.
What is Crystal Meth, and What Makes It So Addictive?
Crystal meth use has been on the rise over the past decade, partly due to how cheaply and easily it can be made by amateurs at home, using easy to acquire ingredients. Meth is similar to other stimulant drugs, like cocaine, which rev up the central nervous system and increase the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward, motivation, learning, and movement. A rush of dopamine creates euphoria, a neurotransmitter reward so intense that the brain immediately marks drug use as an “important” survival activity. Such an unnaturally huge dopamine rush dwarfs the pleasure experienced by genuine survival activities such as eating or completing useful tasks, therefore teaching the brain to prioritize drugs over everything else. To make matters worse, where the effects of cocaine rarely last longer than half an hour, crystal meth effects can last up to 12 hours, and are much more intense besides.
Meth addiction begins when the brain first starts to crave the drug and becomes entrenched when the brain adapts to the artificial stimulation caused by the drug. The brain adapts by reducing dopamine production and shutting down some of the neurotransmitter receptors, so that users become tolerant to crystal meth effects and need even more of the drug to get high. At the same time, the brain’s new normal of meth addiction means that you can no longer experience pleasure or motivation naturally, and require drugs to simply feel okay. If you attempt to quit or cut down on crystal meth at this point, you will experience a range of painful and upsetting withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, confusion, headaches, and fatigue, which usually lead to resumed drug use, even before the drug has been fully detoxed from the system.
Furthermore, the meth of today is even more addictive than it used to be. Once meth became so widely available, dealers had to stand out from the competition by offering a purer, more potent product. Less pure forms of meth can lead to addiction after one use for some users, while this newer, more potent meth can lead to instant addiction for most. Crystal meth is not a drug that you can experiment with casually and expect to walk away with your life intact.
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12 Ways Crystal Meth Destroys Your Life
Crystal meth effects such as euphoria and elevated energy can be enjoyable, but are far outweighed by the many negative effects that will destroy your life if you don’t get professional help.
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain that makes you prioritize seeking and using drugs over everything else that used to matter to you. Crystal meth addiction robs you of your ability to trust your instincts and make healthy choices. It traps you in a prison where your life revolves around getting, taking, and recovering from meth.
2. Financial Strain
Crystal meth may be fairly cheap in comparison to other drugs, but meth addiction still results in enormous financial strain. The cost of meth isn’t just about how much you have to pay for a gram, but how much you have to pay to clean up the messes you make while high, such as legal costs related to an arrest. Using meth also gets in the way of job performance and will eventually get you fired and prevent you from finding a new job. It doesn’t take long to use up every last penny you have or to sell everything you own that is worth anything when you don’t have an income and you’re suffering from crystal meth addiction.
3. Broken Relationships
When you prioritize crystal meth over everything else in your life, the people you love most will inevitably get hurt, because you say and do hurtful things that aren’t like you when you’re high or desperate, and because it is painful for them to watch you struggle and suffer. Meth addiction turns you into a stranger that your loved ones will eventually be forced to turn away from if you don’t get the help you need.
4. Trouble with the Law
Not only is it illegal to possess crystal meth, meth addiction tends to lead to criminal activity. Employment problems, financial strain, and the need to keep using meth anyway motivates desperate acts to get money or drugs, such as stealing, drug dealing, or prostitution. Even an individual with plenty of money will often run into legal trouble as a result of actions committed while they were high, such as physical altercations, property damage, or driving under the influence.
5. Haggard Appearance
Using crystal meth causes rapid weight loss, thinning hair, and skin problems like breakouts and wounds from drug-induced skin picking disorders. It can also cause meth mouth, a condition that can destroy your dental health and leave you toothless. Meth itself is acidic and can damage tooth enamel, and the extreme dry mouth caused by meth leads to tooth decay, which is amplified by the sugar cravings common among people suffering from meth addiction. Furthermore, tooth grinding and clenching caused by crystal meth can crack teeth, especially once dental health has been damaged by chronic use. No amount of brushing and flossing is enough to counteract these effects, leaving long term users with a mouthful of rotted and missing teeth.
6. Weakened Immune System
Crystal meth addiction breaks down your body’s ability to defend against diseases, while also creating inflammation and oxidative stress that worsen symptoms and prevent healing. Meth also inhibits the adaptive immune response and speeds up disease progress, meaning you will get sicker faster, and your body won’t be able to adapt to germs, so that you stay sick.
7. Heightened Disease Risk
The combination of an impaired immune system and the risky behavior that accompanies a crystal meth high (such as increased accidents, neglected hygiene, and unprotected sex) puts anyone with a crystal meth addiction at a very high risk of disease by exposing you to pathogens more often, making you more likely to contract the diseases you come in contact with, and speeding up the development and progression of any disease you catch.
One in every three crystal meth users will experience psychosis at least once, and the longer they use, the more often they will experience it, even after giving up the drug. Psychosis is a state of being where emotions and perceptions are so altered that you experience a break with reality. Paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, extreme agitation, and delusions like believing there are bugs crawling under your skin can cause intense suffering, frequently leading you to hurt yourself or others. Meth use can cause psychosis, and so can meth withdrawal. Meth addiction can create changes in the brain that induce states of psychosis that can last for months or years. It is crucial to seek crystal meth detox and treatment before your brain has been damaged to this degree.
9. Memory Loss
Memory loss is one of the many cognitive impairments that can result from chronic meth use. Structural and chemical changes in the brain make it more difficult for neurons to communicate effectively, meaning you can’t think as clearly or recall or store information as effectively. As a result, you wind up with memory problems similar to those experienced by senior citizens with Alzheimer’s Disease. For some, this damage is reversible with prolonged drug abstinence, while others may have to learn to cope with permanent impairments.
10. Mental Disorders
The brain damage and chemical imbalances caused by meth addiction can lead to a host of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and rapid mood swings that resemble bipolar disorder. Heavy meth use has even been linked to the development of schizophrenia.
Crystal meth effects include tolerance, meaning your brain adapts to the chronic presence of the drug, so that you can no longer experience the same high at the same dosage. In an attempt to re-experience the early euphoria of meth use, you will take increasingly larger doses of crystal meth, putting yourself at a greatly increased risk of overdose. Overdose occurs when the drug overstimulates the central nervous system, causing heart problems, seizures, high fevers, organ failure, and more. In 2015, over 4,500 Americans died from meth-related overdoses.
12. Sudden Death
Sometimes a catastrophic reaction to crystal meth is so quick that there is no time to seek medical attention. Sudden death from crystal meth can occur due to heart attack or stroke caused by arterial wall spasms, or extreme hyperthermia, a sudden, uncontrolled fever. The blood vessel and artery damage caused by chronic meth use can lead to sudden, fatal, internal bleeding. Meth also often leads to fatal accidents.
Get Help for Meth Addiction Today
Although crystal meth detox is not always physically dangerous, it causes a range of incredibly dangerous psychological withdrawal symptoms such as violent behavior, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts. Getting a professional crystal meth detox at a treatment facility with 24/7 medical monitoring will protect you and others from the negative impact of these psychological symptoms, while also giving you the supervision and security you need to prevent relapse.
Other crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intense drug cravings
- Aches and pain
- Mood swings
- Difficulty enjoying anything
- Low motivation
Many of these symptoms will pass entirely after a week or two, but many of them are likely to persist for months, or even years afterwards. Long periods of complete abstinence from drugs is required for the brain to start the complex process of repairing the extensive damage done by chronic crystal meth use.
Although there are no medications specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of crystal meth addiction, there are many medications and treatments that can ease individual symptoms and speed up the healing process. Following a crystal meth detox, you should get at least 90 days of rehab. An inpatient treatment program is usually best, but an outpatient program is workable if you already have a safe and stable home environment with a great deal of social support in place. A good treatment program will address your physical health as well as your mental health, while also helping you to make social and behavioral changes to support a healthy, drug free lifestyle. Behavioral therapy, medications, and counseling—group, individual, and family—work together to address all aspects of your addiction, as well as any issues that will continue to make you vulnerable to relapse if they aren’t dealt with.
Goal setting is also important for crystal meth addiction recovery. You need to set both small, short term goals, like asking the friends and family members you care about most to join you in family therapy sessions, and large, long term goals, like going to cosmetology school or getting a promotion at work. Counselors can help you identify positive goals, then help you plan out how best to achieve them. If you don’t already have stable employment or a safe home environment, vocational and housing assistance should be sought, and you should take advantage of any aftercare services offered by your treatment program, such as referrals to community resources. Twelve-step and non-twelve step group meetings are a free and readily available resource that you can use to support your recovery, and to form healthy, sober friendships for your new way of life.
Find the right crystal meth detox and addiction treatment for you right now.