Crystal meth is an illegally produced methamphetamine used as a narcotic throughout the world. It is known by street names like crack, ice and meth. Methamphetamines are a category of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) by triggering a flood of the brain hormone known as dopamine. While prescription methamphetamines are used as scheduled medication in the treatment of certain behavioral disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), crystal meth is a crude and concentrated narcotic.

How does crystal meth work?

Crystal meth targets the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. By triggering these cells to suddenly release a large amount of dopamine, the user feels a euphoria, often termed as a “high”. Dopamine is produced and released by the neurons in the brain”s pleasure centers and is released in moderate quantities during pleasurable activities like sex and eating. However crystal meth triggers such a flood of dopamine that it induces an altered state.

How is crystal meth used?

Crystal meth comes in different forms – powder, crystal granules and yellow chunks – and these can be used in a number of ways. One of the more popular methods of administration of crystal meth is smoking it in a “bong”. However the powder form can be snorted through the nose or dissolved in water and injected into the blood. In some cases, crystal meth is eaten although it takes longer to feel the effects of ingested meth.

What are the effects of crystal meth?

Typical of any narcotic, crystal meth creates a sense of euphoria, where the user feels as happy, excited, energetic and full of confidence. This may last for several hours and is followed by a “comedown” as the effects of the drug wears off. The comedown may be experienced as severe depression, fatigue and irritability, often prompting the user to seek another “hit”. Crystal meth increases the heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, leading to excessive sweating and palpitations. Some of the more nasty effects of using this drug may include insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and may even induce a mild coma.

How do I know if somebody is using crystal meth?

Initially, it may not be obvious that a friend or family member is using a narcotic because they tend to hide it. However tell-tale signs of crystal meth use include poor dental health, baggy eyes, darkening lips and a loss of weight. Insomnia, irritability and even aggression may become evident and an addict will often abandon their daily activities. Depression, especially in teens, may often be missed as a symptom of crystal meth use but any case of depression should be taken into consideration with other signs and symptoms before ascribing it to drug use.

How to treat a crystal meth addiction?

Using crystal meth even once can be dangerous as it is highly addictive. Once a person is addicted, it is very difficult to get off the drug and proper rehabilitation is necessary. Meth addicts tend to display a wide array of antisocial behavior as a means of supporting their habit and also as a result of the physical and psychological effects of using this drug. Many cases of theft, murder and domestic violence is associate with drug use and meth users are no different. If you suspect that a loved one is abusing any drug, seek advice from a medical professional before confronting the addict. In mot cases, a crystal meth addict has to be kept in a rehab center where trained staff can manage the detox period. Counseling and appropriate support is ongoing, often for a lifetime.