Crystal Meth Addiction

Crystal meth is a crystalline form of amphetamine mostly known as "ice" or "glass", known to induce a long lasting effect upon the brain and nervous system, such as 'seeing' more clearly and a heightened feeling of self-confidence and euphoria. Methamphetamine in different forms can be swallowed, snorted or injected and, unlike amphetamine, can also be smoked.

Crystal meth users experience a powerful rush as the chemical, dopamine, floods the pleasure centres of the brain. First time users can become strongly addicted to the experience, quickly building up a tolerance and creating the need for higher doses to achieve the same high.

As a purer form of methamphetamine, crystal meth, produces a very intense 'high', which is similar to crack cocaine but can last a very much longer period time –between 4 and 12 hours – but often followed by a severe 'come-down'.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Following the initial "rush," there is typically a state of high agitation, which can lead to violent behaviour. As use of crystal meth continues, noticeable changes in behaviour develop, including:

  • Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement
  • Rise in body temperature
  • Jerky, erratic movements - twitching, facial tics, exaggerated mannerisms, constant talking
  • Feeling anxious, confused
  • Angry outbursts or mood swings

  • Not caring about personal appearance or grooming - obsessively picking at hair or skin
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Strange sleeping patterns -- staying up for days or even weeks at a time
  • Judgment affected - more likely to engage in risky, dangerous behaviours
  • Borrowing money often, selling possessions, stealing

  • Skin appears dull – with hard-to-heal sores and pimples.
  • Dry mouth and stained, broken, or rotting teeth.
  • Higher risk for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C – from injecting and sharing needles, syringes.
  • Veins may be damaged - abscesses or clots developing.
  • Psychotic behaviour - paranoia and hallucinations
  • Overdosing - result in stroke, lung and kidney damage, coma and death.

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