The threat of widespread crystal meth addiction is one of the more pervasive realities faced by a culture struggling to keep rampant drug abuse at bay. Considering that a 2009 study found that 1.2 million Americans age twelve and over had abused crystal meth in the previous year, the fight against addiction to meth is a tall order requiring of everyone involved a steadfast commitment to substance abuse prevention.

What is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is a pure, crystallized form of methamphetamine, which is a highly addictive stimulant whose primary medical uses were toward the treatment of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Crystal meth has been classified as a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning that while used in some instances medicinally, the drug has a high potential for abuse, and its possession, use, production, and distribution are all illegal.

Crystal meth can be administered in any of a number of ways, including:

  • Insufflation (snorting), which is first achieved by crushing a crystal into powder form
  • Injection
  • Smoking (also referred to as freebasing) by way of a pipe similar to the one pictured above

Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction

The effects of crystal meth addiction vary greatly depending on the route of administration and the duration of an individual’s struggle with the drug. Crystal meth triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which is associated with stimulation and euphoria. However, in higher doses and over time, crystal meth addiction can lead to a number of damaging physical and psychological effects.

Side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • twitching
  • increased heart rate
  • psychosis
  • paranoia
  • convulsions
  • stroke
  • heart attack

There are also a number of secondary effects associated with its use, such as the increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS through the sharing of needles.

The most notable symptom of crystal meth addiction (one that garners a lot of attention in media) is “meth mouth,” which is characterized by the increased likelihood of losing one’s teeth.

Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment

Because it is incredibly addictive and is associated with a number of withdrawal symptoms (among them depression, restlessness, and thoughts of suicide), crystal meth addiction treatment should be sought once the symptoms of crystal meth addiction have been identified. Treatment may first include detox to successfully wean an addict off the drug, which will allow for more comprehensive and honest treatment to take place. If you or a loved one is struggling with crystal meth addiction, please do not delay in contacting a drug addiction treatment center. Doing so may save a life and will go a long way toward combating the crystal meth addiction epidemic.