The abuse of illicit drugs is a serious health issue and it causes up to 200,000 lives every year. One of these dangerous drugs is Methamphetamine, which is a stimulant. It has several street names, such as speed, crank or meth. Other similar drugs in this class include levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine (crystal meth).
This crystal meth is often made in illegal home-based labs. It is popular among partygoers and easily found on the streets and in the clubs. It is extremely addictive in nature and can cause dependency after just one use.
When a user takes crystal meth by way of snorting or swallowing, it causes a feeling of rush within 15 to 20 minutes. This effect is immediately following injection or smoking of the drug, causing extreme euphoria and a sense of elation. This effect typically lasts for six to eight hours up to a full day. It may lead one to try more injectable drugs like heroin.
When a user is addicted to meth, it causes a withdrawal syndrome when you take away the drug. There is evidence of psychological addiction manifested by extreme shifts in mood, severe insomnia, intense paranoid and delusional behaviors. Physical symptoms include sickness, hunger, and even seizures. Addiction to meth also leads to anhedonia (inability to find joy in anything), which makes it extremely hard to stay abstinent as they seek that joy in abusing meth. It can take up to two years of abstinence to have restored mood and effect.
Prolonged use of crystal meth has devastating effects on one’s physical and mental health. It causes damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs, leads to hypertension and vascular injury in the brain, increasing the likelihood of stroke and cardiac complications, which can be fatal. The brain damage can be extensive and lead to stroke, epilepsy, and dementia. Smoking it can cause lung abscesses, snorting it damages nasal mucosa, and injecting it increases the risk of HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and infective endocarditis. Addicts of meth also suffer from tooth decay, psychosis, depressed mood, and weight loss as well.
There is now a resurgence of meth-related emergency room visits related to overdose and withdrawals. The most common cause of meth-related death is multiple organ failure. An overwhelming percentage of these patients (86%) have co-occurring HIV infection due to associated risky behavior.
The treatment for meth addiction is extensive and rigorous rehabilitation. While brief stints at a rehabilitation facility can provide short-term benefits, fully recovery warrants a much longer commitment. A treatment period of at least 90 days is recommended to ensure efficacy. The detox process is highly involved and requires close monitoring of experienced staff. The withdrawal process can be challenging and the patients can become violent, which is why a skilled rehab facility should be carefully chosen. With proper professional help, the chances of a successful recovery are fairly high.