The Physical Effects of Crystal Meth

Physical Effects of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet, and it is only growing in popularity, particularly in rural areas. However, big cities are not immune to this menace, which is comprised of chemicals that can be readily purchased and distilled down into the drug in a kitchen. The manufacture and distribution of crystal meth are dangerous practices in themselves, with long-term toxic effects on the homes in which this production is conducted. By far the worst and most lingering effects of crystal meth occur in the human body, particularly among long-term, chronic users.

The active ingredient in crystal meth is known chemically as n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine, also known as methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. Because many popular diet drugs were used to include a variant on this compound to suppress appetite and boost energy, they were also dangerously addictive. On the street, crystal meth is known as speed, bungee, crystal, ice, Tina, meth, or glass. There are also other regional street names, many of them directly linked to the method of production or properties of the finished product. One variant, which has a strong gasoline odor and is popular in the Southwest, is known informally as gasolina, the Spanish word for gasoline.

How Is Crystal Meth Used?

Crystal meth is one of the most versatile drugs on the illegal market because of the plethora of ways in which it can be ingested. It can be snorted, swallowed either with an alcoholic beverage or dry, injected, inserted into the anus or urethra, or smoked with a glass pipe similar to a crack pipe. Crystal meth typically comes in rocks of varying colors, from perfectly clear, which is the crystal or ice version and is a purer, higher grade version of the drug, to deep yellow or dull orange.

Why Use Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth use is more popular among females than males because it causes rapid weight loss. However, this weight loss is often misleading. The losses plateau after about six weeks, and stopping use results in gaining all the weight back one has lost. For this reason, methamphetamine is not typically prescribed for the purpose of weight loss. Other common reasons to use it are for enhanced alertness, focus, and concentration, being able to get more done while ignoring fatigue. Crystal meth also causes a feeling of euphoria which comes on quickly and commonly lasts from two to twelve hours, depending on how the drug was taken and the purity of the drug.

The Physical Effects Of Crystal Meth

Users of crystal meth report a quick, intense “high” characterized by euphoria. This is because crystal meth stimulates key neuroreceptors in the brain which release endorphins, the same chemicals that are released after a good meal, sex, or a period of intense physical activity. These chemicals produce a feeling of euphoria or well-being. Users also report an ability to focus intensely or even obsessively on one thing to the exclusion of all else for days at a time. Crystal meth also stimulates the production of adrenaline, which interferes with sleep, and suppresses the release of serotonin and melatonin, chemicals in the brain that regulate the human diurnal cycle. Many users say that crystal meth can allow them to fend off sleep for upwards of a week, but once they “crash” or come down from the meth high, they sleep for anywhere from twelve to twenty-four hours.

Crystal meth use often results in rapid weight loss, which is more noticeable in very thin or very heavy people. Meth functions as an appetite suppressant, and users will often eat sparingly or not at all while under the influence. However, once the user “crashes,” they are likely to eat highly unusual quantities of food as the body attempts to regulate itself and make up for the energy used while the user was high. Meth also causes a highly accelerated pulse and can, in many cases, cause symptoms of hypertension, such as granular formations on the kidneys. In addition, meth interferes with the elimination of waste products from the body, which can lead to blood poisoning.

Signs Of Crystal Meth Use

There are a number of crystal meth addiction signs, many of which by themselves are not enough to provoke alarm. However, when taken as a whole, they are a strong indicator that someone is using crystal meth.

One of the most insidious properties of crystal meth is the fact that the body builds a tolerance to the drug over time. This means that a dose sufficient to get a person high in one week will be wholly inadequate the next, causing the person to spend more money to feed their habit. This can often lead to crimes such as theft, strong-arm robbery, and prostitution as addicts attempt to generate enough money for their next fix. Household items, jewelry, or power tools with a high dollar value may disappear inexplicably. The user may have difficulty obtaining or holding a job, making the situation all the more desperate.

The user may become secretive or begin to act paranoid. If the user is typically a morning person and is suddenly staying up all night, only going to bed when the sun rises if at all, this is a particularly strong warning sign. The user may be very quiet for long periods of time, but speak very quickly when spoken to, as if trying to terminate the conversation before anyone notices something amiss. Darting eyes, obsessive habits such as picking one’s fingernails or engaging in repetitive, uncharacteristic motions may also indicate addiction.

Among physical crystal meth addiction signs are weight loss, sudden changes in mood or behavior unlinked to any apparent external stimulus, and the appearance of needle marks on the user’s body. A user may lose interest in or concern for personal hygiene and appear depressed or irritable when not using. This is especially noticeable when the user has been “tweaking” for prolonged periods.

Crystal meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market, and its dangers are only increasing. Inexpert cooks, improper ingredients, or attempts to “cut” the drug to make it more lucrative can result in impure versions which can readily kill users. Additionally, lack of sleep or food for too long or intense physical exertion under the influence can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, brain damage, or death. If you see these signs in a loved one, it is imperative to seek help immediately. It could literally be a matter of life and death.


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