11 May The Facts About Crystal Meth
Crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth, is a popular and highly addictive illegal drug. Many people are attracted to crystal meth for what they see as the short-term pleasures and advantages, but the long-term results of crystal meth use are usually addiction accompanied by serious health concerns.
The Chemistry of Crystal Meth
Crystal meth is a reduction of the drugs ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which may be found in common cold or allergy medicine. The process of making crystal meth involves forcing certain parts of these compounds to hydrogenate, or combine with hydrogen. The result is a crystalline drug that, when smoked, snorted, or swallowed, causes a rapid release of a large number of neurotransmitters in the brain.
The strength and speed of the high generated by crystal meth makes it extremely addictive. The human brain quickly adapts to the flood of neuro-stimulation, and becomes reprogrammed to consider the drug-induced high as normal. When the flood of neurotransmitters fades, withdrawal and severe cravings begin.
Why People Take Crystal Meth
There are a variety of reasons why people begin to take crystal meth. Some people use it as an appetite suppressant, some as a stimulant, and some for the high. In the long term, mot regular users of crystal meth continue to take the drug because they have become addicted.
Crystal meth causes a major decrease in the appetite of people who use it, generally resulting in rapid and significant weight loss. This feature of the drug is attractive to some people who have struggled to lose weight with diets or exercise. However, methamphetamine is not an effective long-term weight loss solution. Users develop a tolerance to the drug, and will regain their appetite and slow their weight loss relatively quickly unless they take larger and larger amounts of crystal meth. Methamphetamine users also tend to gain their weight back as soon as they stop taking the drug, if they are able to stop.
In addition to being an appetite suppressant, crystal meth is also a powerful stimulant. Many people take the drug for the rush of energy and concentration that allows them to pull long hours working or studying, train or compete longer and harder in athletic events, or go many hours without sleep.
Finally, people take crystal meth for the extended high that it provides. The drug induces feelings of euphoria that can last up to 12 hours. It is sometimes taken as part of sexual activity, because crystal meth increases libido and stimulation. Individuals suffering from depressive disorders may also self-medicate with crystal meth because the euphoric high temporarily relieves their symptoms.
Long Term Effects
The long-term effects of regular crystal meth use can be disturbing. The human body quickly develops a tolerance to the drug, requiring larger doses to feel “normal.” Painful withdrawal symptoms can result if users do not satisfy their cravings in sufficient doses. Psychosis is also a common effect of quitting the drug after regular use, and can last for as long as several years. The classic long-term effect of crystal meth is known as “meth mouth,” and consists of rapid and severe tooth decay.
As addicts are forced to increase the amount of crystal meth they take in order to achieve the desired result, the risk of overdose becomes greater. Brain damage, paranoia, muscle atrophy, delusions, hallucinations, and death may result from a crystal meth overdose. Since crystal meth is manufactured illegally on the streets, other health complications can often result from impurities in the drug.
Signs of Crystal Meth Use
Crystal meth use can take over a person’s life very quickly, and there are signs to look out for that indicate a person may be using this drug. The classic hallmark is constant teeth grinding and rapid tooth decay, often resulting in the loss of teeth. Dramatic weight loss and heavy sweating are also very common signs. Some crystal meth users develop open facial sores that they are often unable to leave alone and allow to heal. Regular meth users will often go days without sleeping.
In addition, irritability and aggression are common mental signatures of crystal meth use. The stimulant effects of crystal meth often cause users to speak so rapidly that they become incomprehensible. Delusions and hallucinations may also plague meth users, particularly if they are rarely sleeping.
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