Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive central nervous system stimulant. Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug that can be made from household medications and liquids. Referred to on the street as ice, glass, crystal meth, or simply meth, it is a growing problem in rural areas of the United States. Meth is considered one of the most addictive substances known to mankind, and several studies have claimed that after nicotine and before crack cocaine, methamphetamine is the second most addictive substance available. Meth destroys the lives of the user and their loved ones, as dependency develops very quickly. However, there are several stages of crystal meth addiction, and seeing the warning signs of a developing addiction may save somebody’s life.
The first stage of crystal meth addiction is experimentation. During this stage, the user is trying methamphetamine for the first time. The most common way for a first time user to ingest it is nasally, although meth may be smoked or injected as well. Due to its addictive properties, this stage does not generally last very long in comparison to other drugs.
During the habitual use stage of crystal meth addiction, the potential addict begins using methamphetamine on a regular basis. As the user begins ingesting the drug more frequently, tolerance begins to develop. In this phase of methamphetamine addiction, the increased tolerance causes the user to need more of the drug in order to achieve the desirable effects, leading them into the next stage.
As tolerance increases and the user begins to feel as if they need meth in order to feel normal, dependence arises. In the dependence stage of crystal meth addiction, the user develops a psychological dependence upon the feelings created by the drug. Without the presence of methamphetamine, the person may have difficulty experiencing pleasure. At this point, they may begin to choose methamphetamine use over daily obligations, and problems may begin to appear.
Once crystal meth addiction has fully taken hold, it is a tough road to recovery. The strong physical addiction created by the brain’s adaptation to having meth present makes it very difficult to quit. Immediately after the effects wear off, the addict feels like they need another dose. Serious problems with priority begin to be apparent, as methamphetamine use becomes the main motivating factor for the person. Problems with anger, unstable emotions, paranoia, and delusions may occur.
As one of the most addicting substances, methamphetamine is extremely difficult to stop using. Without proper help, almost all addicts return to meth use. A detox facility can help curb drug cravings, as well as ease withdrawal symptoms. Although detox will successfully cleanse the body, more action is required to avoid relapse. Inpatient and outpatient drug treatment offer cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques in order to help prevent relapse and sober living houses offer a method of reintegration back into everyday life.