Methamphetamine, more commonly known by various street names as crystal meth or meth, speed, crystal, ice, chalk, crank, etc., is being abused more widely now than ever before and across all age groups. From being a preserve of teens early on, it has now crossed over to the general population. The main attraction of this drug is its ability to maintain wakefulness, help with weight loss, etc. I recently saw a report of this drug being used by certain Asian workers in Asia to be more productive in their work by staying awake and being alert more than they normally would, without using methamphetamine. So, it seems more people are embracing this drug and view it as a good thing, when in fact this drug can do immense damage and spoil the lives of its users, like many other drugs. Admissions to substance abuse centers of meth addicts have been reported to be increasing constantly, and it seems as if this drug has managed to find acceptance amongst all social/age groups. This poses huge health concerns to the individuals concerned as well as the public health system. Along with the damage that comes with usage of the drug, there are also transmissible diseases to contend with like hepatitis and HIV. I think perhaps a lot of folks start using meth because they don't know the damaging effects of the drug beforehand. So, perhaps, this article would help in revealing what meth or crystal meth is all about.
What Exactly is Methamphetamine / Crystal Meth?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that can be very addictive and its main action is on the central nervous system. It is a drug that can be easily manufactured from chemicals that can be found quite easily and this is one of the reasons it is made clandestinely by users. It is also quite inexpensive to make. Because of its addictive nature, methamphetamine has been categorized as a schedule II drug and one needs a prescription to obtain it. Of course, because of the reasons mentioned above, including its ease of manufacture and inexpensive aspect, it continues to be made clandestinely and abused. Ironically, it has its medical uses too, specifically in the treatment of narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). However, for treatment of these conditions, the dosages are much, much lower than what an abuser would take. Meth users typically develop tolerance to the drug easily and develop a requirement for higher doses to achieve the same level of stimulation that they are used to. It is this addictive nature of the drug that makes it so dangerous for its users.
What Are the Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?
Since it is a stimulant that directly affects the central nervous system, the effects of meth abuse are similar to those of other drugs. The effects include:
- Feeling of euphoria.
- Increase in the alertness level.
- Being awake more than usual.
- Increase in the stamina level/physical activity.
- Increased aggression.
- Decreased fatigue.
- A loss of appetite.
- Increased sexual arousal.
Since meth, once ingested, is released into the blood stream quite steadily and gradually, its effects can last up to 12 hours or so. Users of meth feel a sense of euphoria and general well being because of increased levels of dopamine. However, as the effect wears off, users can crash and feel agitated and fall asleep for more than a day. To prevent this, users could resort to excessively binging on the drug to prolong its effects. Since meth can also cause potentially deadly effects such as increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, high body temperature, etc., an overdose could prove fatal. It doesn't take much - as little as 50 mg can cause a negative reaction from the body and could prove deadly.
How Can You Identify An Abuser - What Are the Signs?
Some of the telltale signs of a meth user can be:
- Increased weight loss.
- Being nervy.
- Constant talking.
- Not showing an interest in normal activities.
- Skin or hair pulling.
- Dizzy feeling.
- Severe bout of depression.
- Dilation of pupils.
- Grinding of teeth.
- Some users (younger ones in particular) can exhibit teeth that are black or have eroded down to the gum line.
The Deadly Effects Of Meth On Its Users:
Some of the extremely damaging effects meth usage brings about include:
- Hallucinations, both visual and auditory.
- Increased tendency to be violent and aggressive.
- Anxiety/prone to be depressed.
- Long-term usage can lead to interference with brain function, including problems with learning skills and memory loss.
- There could also be motor damage in the form of tremors and other features that are similar to Parkinson sufferers.
- Long-term usage can also lead to cardiovascular damage due to effects such as irregular heartbeat, stress, etc. Also, users can become more prone to strokes due to the damage on the blood vessels because of high blood pressure and stresses that users go through.
- Users are also susceptible to suicides due to the rapid crash effect that comes after the euphoric state.
What Are the Treatment Options & Can Effects Be Reversed?
Treatment can include programs such as 12-step programs and other measures that can prevent relapse. Abstaining from the drug for a prolonged period can reverse many of the effects that meth brings about. Meth abusers need support and help as quickly as possible to limit the damage they end up doing to themselves. Treatment for young abusers (especially those below 17) is especially challenging since some of the effects of meth abuse may not be able to be reversed in them, especially those related to brain function and behavioral changes. Since the brain of youngsters develops through those crucial years till they are young adults, the negative effects of meth abuse can perhaps impair their brain function and behavior.
© 2009 Shil1978
Isittolate on January 18, 2017:
Greg Sereda from Sandomierz, Poland on January 19, 2012:
Very good information about the dangers of meth. I really enjoyed it the accuracy of it. I was once a meth user myself. You can check out my story on it entitled, "The Raod to Ruin: Drug, Crime and Prison - Pt. 2 - The Meth Demon".
Danielle on January 01, 2012:
Wow, my heart goes out to all who are suffering from this terrible drug. I used Meth for four years everyday, when i wasn't sleeping. I couldn't picture my life without it. I had given up. My parents did an intervention on me and I accepted. I knew that if I didn't take that opportunity, I would die. I am so proud to say that in three days I will be four months clean. I attend aa and na meetings everyday, have the best friends in the program that i could ask for. My cousin recently passed away which was drug related and i know that that could easily have been me. I am able to handle life now. I laugh more than I ever did before. If you are struggling, know that if you want it bad enough, help is just waiting for you. So is life. Good luck and god bless.
Shil1978 (author) on December 18, 2011:
Ryza, thanks for sharing your story. I hope you see better days ahead of you! Hopefully, you'd be able to find the right people and resources to help you! Good luck my friend and I hope others can learn from your mistakes - thanks again for sharing your story!!
RYZA on December 17, 2011:
I JUST WANTED TO POST A COMMENT IN THE HOPE OF AT LEAST 1 PERSON USE IT TO THEIR ADVANTAGE AT SOME STAGE?
I BEGAN TAKING SPEED WHEN I WAS 17 AS I KNEW FRIENDS WHO HAD LOST A lot OF WEIGHT AND QUTCKLY AFTER TAKING UP THE ADDICTION.
I WAS DESPERATE TO START LOOKING BETTER AND ENJOY LIFE AS MUCH AS MY FRIENDS WERE.....
WITHIN A FEW MONTHS ID LOST 25 KILOS AND WAS FEELING GREAT AND WAS ENJOYING LIFE LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
I FOUND MYSELF IN A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH WHO I THOUGHT ID MARRY ONE DAY AND THOUGHT OK NOW IS THE TIME TO SETTLE DOWN AND LOOK AT BEGINNING THE NEXT STAGE IN LIFE BEING HUSBAND/FATHER/MORTGAGE ..etc.
AS MUCH AS I WANTED TOO AND AS MUCH AS I LOVED MY PARTNER I COULDN'T GO A DAY WITHOUT THINKING HOW GOOD IT WOULD BE TO SMOKE SOME METH AND RUN AMUCK WITH THE BOYS AGAIN ONCE MORE.
WELL THAT ONCE MORE SNOWBALLED AND I BEGAN LYING TO MY MISSES TO GET OUT AND ALSO STEALING TO MAKE UP FOR LOST FINANCES WHICH PUT A MASSIVE STRAIN ON OUR RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE I CHANGED SO MUCH JUST SO I COULD CONTINUE TAKING METH WITHOUT MY PARTNER KNOWING.
THINGS GOT UGLY QUICKLY AND AFTER PUTTING MY GIRL THRU HELL SHE HAD TO LEAVE ME WHICH DIDN'T SINK IN AT THE TIME TO ME AS LONG AS I HAD MY FIX EACH DAY WAS ALL I CARED ABOUT FOR THE NEXT YEAR OR SO.
TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT ITS BEEN 5 YEARS SINCE MY GIRL LEFT ME AND I USE MORE THAN EVER, IM DOUBLE THE SIZE IN WEIGHT AS I CAN EAT WHILE ON METH NOW AND I CAN EVEN SLEEP ON IT, I HAVE BLOWN IT WITH MY FAMILY TOO MANY TIMES AND LIVE WITH FRIENDS WHICH IM LUCKY TO HAVE, I OWN NOTHING AND WAKE UP EACH DAY (MORE LIKE EVERY 2ND DAY COZ I DON'T GO TO BED EVERY NIGHT) SO MISERABLE I JUST WANT TO STAY IN BED AND LOCK MYSELF IN MY ROOM AND NOT TALK TO ANYBODY.
I CANT GET OVER THE FACT OF HOW MUCH I STUFFED MY LIFE UP EVEN THOUGH DURING THE GOOD TIMES I WOULD ALWAYS REMIND MYSELF OF WHAT NOT TO DO AND REMAIN FOCUSED EVERYDAY AND STILL FIND MYSELF IN THIS POSISTION I AM TODAY JUST BEDAZZLES ME.
NO MATTER HOW MUCH U THINK U ARE IN CONTROL AND WONT LET IT HAPPEN TO U THE CHANCES ARE THAT U WONT EVEN REALIZE THAT THE DRUG IS IN COMPLETE CONTROL UNFORTUNATELY.
THE LITTLE RING I WAS IN WITH 6 OTHER MATES WHERE ILL ADMIT WE HAD A BALL FOR 2 YEARS IS ONLY 6 SAD LIFE STORIES NOW WITH 2 NOT ALIVE TO EVEN TELL IT DUE TO SUICIDE.
THAT'S NOT TO MENTION ALL THE HEART BREAKING STORIES OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED US THAT WE PUT THRU HELL.
I DON'T EXPECT PITTY AS YOUR LIFE IS WHAT U MAKE IT OUT TO BE SO I AM WHERE I DESERVE TO BE BUT JUST WISH ID NEVER THOUGHT I WAS IN CONTROL AND I VERY WELL MAY BE HAPPILY MARRIED WITH KIDS IN MY OWN HOME WITH A GOOD JOB AND CAR AND STILL HAVE STRONG FAMILY TIES TO WHICH I HAVE NONE OF THESE, THINGS CAN GET UGLY SO QUICKLY SO GRAB HOLD AND GET OUT BEFORE YOU EVEN THINK U NEED TO.
GOOD LUCK AND HOPE U CAN LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES???
Shil1978 (author) on November 24, 2011:
Lisa, you've gone through much. I can't even begin to imagine. I can only hope that you can overcome this and make the right decisions going forward. Best of luck!!
Lisab126 on November 24, 2011:
I am suffering now it's been off and on since 14. I've lost my husband then entered into two abusive relations ships that have consumed the past 7 years of my life. This one I'm trying to get away from may cost me my life be by death or prison. I was a fitness model/instructor not one scar or skin issue until 3 yeas Ago. I have caused problems for my family and lost amazing friends. The years I've Been sober I attended church worked at the kids school was a recognized volunteer and coach. No I am looked at with judgement and sadness. I always went extreme on everything but ended up falling in love with my best friend since 14 who is beyond extreme. If it could or should kill you he is first in line. His drug consumption was unreal and free with no money exchanged. I am now at that level. I stopped less than a day and thought I'd die, I never ached so bad in my life I can't quit or I won't beable to functionabd can't afford help. I've lost my bf / future husband I'm beat bruised unemployed and was homeless. I called Casa de esparanza for battered woman and slowly am gaining independence and self worth. I've aged 20 years in 1lost 40 years of dreams and hard works rewards. My children stand by me but there's no trust or respect and my x in denial of his part or problem has destroyed my name and has people to destroy me day to day i have restraining orders police on High alert and increase patrol at my house. I'm broke little food and god blessed us with beds blankets refrigerator washer and drier until then we were in an empty home sleeping in hardwood floors. Meth is devestating I see it but I see it as if I'm a third party looking in and even as I type this I think I'm ok and want to call my x and go to him. I know my reality but I don't process it like I see it. I guess I glamorize the life idk but i do know i would give my life to turn back time and take the pain and damage this selfish decision has caused so many
Shil1978 (author) on July 27, 2010:
Thank you Cassandra for stopping by and commenting. I hope you can overcome and stay away from your addition, and stay sober. Wish you the best Cassandra, stay healthy!!
Cassandra from SoCal on July 27, 2010:
I myself am a struggling addict and I found your article to be very helpful. Great information...thank you for reminding me!
Shil1978 (author) on July 16, 2010:
Steve, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Meth causes its users, for some reason, to feel as if something is crawling on their skin (or under their skin), and they try to pick their skin in a hopeless attempt to remove that nonexistent thing.
This picking and scratching is what causes those marks. It is quite sad, but meth does make its users do some crazy things!!
Steve on July 15, 2010:
How does meth cause the terrible effects on users' faces that we see in those well known before and after pictures? Why do their faces have all those bloody marks and blotches?
Shil1978 (author) on May 29, 2010:
Thank you Valerie for stopping by this hub, glad you liked this article!
Yes, its a very destructive drug indeed - perhaps the worst drug there is!!
valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on May 29, 2010:
Very good article; very destructive drug. (: v
Shil1978 (author) on December 12, 2009:
Sad to hear that Warren. Its awful for sure!! Hope more people out there become aware of the dangers of meth!!
Warren Curtis Daniels Jr from Buffalo, New York on December 12, 2009:
So true... I had family that used it was awful and the effects are still apparent today.