How Addictive Is Crystal Meth?

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Crystal meth is a street drug that is highly addictive, according to the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus. Whether it is injected, snorted, eaten or smoked, users can develop a dependence within weeks of their first use. Called “crystal,” “ice,” “tina,” “glass,” “crank” and other slang terms on the street, the drug is used by those who enjoy recreational drug use and by those who attempt to harness its stimulant properties in order to be more successful in their pursuits.

The high produced by using crystal methamphetamine can grab some users immediately. In others, it can take time. Both the body and mind can crave that euphoria created by the drug; in some cases, the physical dependence can develop first and in other cases, psychological addiction is the primary issue. No matter which begins first, however, crystal meth addiction is a life-altering problem and one that can quickly result in serious chronic health problems and/or death.

A comprehensive addiction treatment program is the best way to deal with crystal meth dependence. Learn more about the best way to address the disorder when you contact us at Axis at the phone number listed above.

How Fast Does Crystal Meth Addiction Develop?

How quickly your loved one develops a dependence upon crystal meth is determined by a combination of factors, including:

  • The existence of co-occurring mental health issues, especially depression, eating disorders, and other disorders that are characterized by symptoms that are addressed by crystal meth use
  • The use of other addictive substances
  • The amount of the dose(s)
  • The length of the binge(s)

Any use is dangerous, and if you find that your loved one seems like he or she needs to get or stay high, then addiction is likely an issue and one that requires your intervention.

Physical Dependence

When the body builds a tolerance to crystal meth, requiring larger and larger doses in order to trigger the euphoric high, a physical dependence is on its way. This is solidified by the experience of withdrawal symptoms when the patient attempts to stop using the drug abruptly for any reason. Many users report experiencing issues related to physical dependence that include:

  • Headaches
  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Restlessness
Emotional and Psychological Dependence

The emotional and psychological addiction to crystal meth is arguably the most difficult part of the experience. It begins almost immediately after the drug begins to wear off and remains intense for days and even weeks after the last use. Many patients report that the psychological issues they experience during detox are far more overwhelming than the physical symptoms, and the knowledge that they can stop the discomfort by getting high again makes it impossible for them to weather the storm until the symptoms subside. Some reported psychological issues related to crystal meth dependence include:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations (auditory and visual)
Relapse and Cravings

Many patients report that even if they can initially conquer their cravings during rehab and begin the process of rebuilding their lives in treatment, the cravings become an issue again six months, nine months, or a year or more after they return home from treatment. This sparks a craving/relapse cycle that is far longer than any other drug of addiction and makes dependence upon crystal meth particularly difficult to treat. Few patients have the resources or desire to stay at an inpatient program for the first two years of recovery in order to ensure that they safely bypass these cravings without relapse. So how can you help your loved one manage when the cravings to get high appear? You can:

  • Recognize and accept that the cravings will come back no matter how solid your loved one seems after drug rehab
  • React as soon as you seen the first signs or a return of interest in being or getting high
  • Not fall for justifications of indulging in “just one drink,” a single night out getting high, etc.
  • Help your loved one return to treatment if necessary

Effective Crystal Meth Treatment

Intensive rehab followed by long-term psychotherapeutic care and aftercare services are the keys to long-term sobriety when crystal meth addiction is an issue. If your loved one has been overwhelmed by addiction, you can help them begin their long road to recovery with one phone call. Contact us at Axis today at the phone number listed above and speak to a counselor about the treatment services that are available options for your family member. Get started now.