Crystal meth addiction sets in relatively quickly and can cause users to develop a near-instant tolerance. The “rush” from meth usually only lasts up to 30 minutes. However, the “high” produced by crystal meth side effects can last anywhere between 4 and 16 hours. Many meth users try to sustain their highs for as long as possible. They will consume meth for several days at a time or weeks on end.
Meth has had a long and sordid history as a drug of abuse. It was originally used to help troops stay awake during WWII. During the 1950s, meth was marketed as a diet pill, and antidepressant in the U.S. Meth became illegal during the 1970s after the U.S. government realized the dangerous and addictive effects of this substance.
What Can Crystal Meth Do to Me?
Crystal meth side effects are often particularly gruesome. Studies have found that animals that are given crystal meth react by using the drug repeatedly until it kills them. Meth produces similar effects in people. Those who use crystal meth are immediately putting themselves at risk for addiction. Recognizing physical signs of crystal meth use is a great first step toward overcoming addiction.
Meth mouth, which is the rotting of teeth caused by the sustained use of meth, is just one of the negative crystal meth side effects associated with crystal meth addiction. Meth users can also develop large, visible sores on their faces and skin. Users suffer serious health problems such as weight loss, hyperthermia, heart attack, and stroke. The serious health consequences of meth use become more likely the longer people use meth.
Here are seven more chilling facts about crystal meth addiction:
#1: Crystal Meth Is Popular Among Younger Individuals
College, high school, and middle school students are at particularly high risk of meth abuse. This is due to the way this drug triggers intense hallucinations, focus, and concentration.
Meth is used by roughly 0.6% of 8th graders, 0.7% of 10th graders, and 1.2% of 12th graders. Additionally, 0.3% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 admitted to having used meth at least once in their lifetime. While 3.3% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 have admitted to meth use (2015).
#2 Crystal Meth is Often Made with Toxic Chemicals
Crystal meth is one of the easiest synthetic drugs in the world to make, which makes it a popular street drug. Meth labs have been found in cars, hotels, homes, apartments, campgrounds, and many other places. Meth can be made out of highly toxic chemicals including lye, lighter fluid, brake fluid, liquid drain cleaner, and battery acid. Many of these chemicals can be dangerous to touch, let alone to breathe, inject, smoke, snort, or eat.
#3: Crystal Meth Addiction Can Lead to Both Acute and Chronic Overdose
People who use meth are at high risk of experiencing a sudden overdose. When used in high doses, meth can lead to overheating, stroke, and kidney failure. All of these crystal meth side effects can be deadly and will require immediate medical care.
Chronic, repeated use can also lead to overdose. Meth can stay active in a person’s system for much longer than other stimulants, including cocaine. The delusions caused by meth can last as long as fifteen hours. Chronic meth use can also cause the drug to build up in a person’s system and lead to many serious crystal meth side effects. Batches of meth vary in their purity, creating higher overdose potential.
#4: Crystal Meth Addiction Can Lead to Malnutrition
Crystal meth increases energy and suppresses appetite — causing users to eat poorly or not at all. Over time, these behaviors can lead to severe weight loss, malnutrition, and eating disorders.
Rapid, unexplained weight loss is one of the top signs someone is abusing stimulants like crystal meth. When left untreated, malnutrition can cause dizziness, muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, and permanent disability.
#5: Crystal Meth Addiction Leads to Permanent Brain Damage
Over time, meth use can permanently change a person’s brain structure and function. Meth use can also lead to an increased chance of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Doctors are still uncertain as to whether this type of brain damage can be reversed.
#6: Crystal Meth Addiction Causes Behavioral Problems and Psychosis
When someone is using crystal meth, there will often be behavioral signs of meth use, some of which are quite dangerous. People who abuse crystal meth for prolonged periods of time often experience severe, unpredictable behavior, paranoia, irritability, and violent outbursts. Those who experience psychosis caused by meth withdrawal are often treated using antipsychotics. Withdrawal from meth can also lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.
#7: Crystal Meth Abuse Doesn’t Just Harm the Abuser
Over time, crystal meth can harm other people in addition to the user. Crystal meth can trigger violent outbursts, along with toxic secondhand smoke that can lead to lung problems and disease. Chemical contamination, abuse and neglect, meth lab explosions, booby traps set up by owners of meth labs, and dangers related to police raids are other potential harms associated with crystal meth that can hurt non-users.
If you believe someone you love is struggling with crystal meth addiction, there is no time like the present to find safe, effective care at an addiction recovery center. Learn about the different crystal meth treatment options available today.