August 30th, 2023
When you think about crystal meth, the first thing that may come to mind is the hit television series Breaking Bad, about a chemistry teacher who cooks and sells the drug to those with crystal meth addiction to provide for his family. While the show may have made for some exciting viewing, it’s important to remember that crystal meth addiction does not always display as it does in these characters.
If you or someone you know is suffering from crystal meth addiction, then don’t give up hope! Banbury Lodge is here to answer all of your questions and provide the treatment you need to change your life.
What is meth?
Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant that is made in illegal labs using a combination of toxic chemicals and over-the-counter medication. Meth comes in three forms: powder, base, and crystal.
Powdered meth is a fine white or off-white powder that can be snorted, swallowed, or dissolved in water and injected. Meth powder is often cut with other substances to increase its bulk, such as sugar or caffeine.
Meth base, also known as speed paste, is a sticky and waxy substance that is made by mixing powdered meth with a solvent such as acetone or ether. It is usually smoked or injected and can also be snorted or swallowed.
Crystal meth is the most potent form of meth that comes in the form of clear crystals or rock-like chunks. It is usually smoked, although it can also be snorted or injected. Crystal meth is often considered to be the most dangerous form of methamphetamine due to its high purity level and potential for abuse. While all meth addiction can cause serious issues, crystal meth addiction is particularly destructive.
How does meth work?
When meth is ingested, it triggers the release of large amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in feelings of pleasure and reward. This flood of dopamine causes the user to experience an intense rush of euphoria and energy that can last for several hours.
Over time, however, crystal meth use can cause significant damage to the brain. It can lead to the destruction of dopamine receptors, which can cause the user to experience an inability to feel pleasure or reward from other activities. This can lead to depression and a lack of motivation, which can further perpetuate the cycle of addiction.
How does meth addiction develop?
Meth addiction usually develops gradually over time as a result of repeated use.
When you start using meth, you will likely experience an intense rush of euphoria and energy which can quickly turn into a desire for more. As you continue to use the drug, however, you will start to develop a tolerance and need to take more meth to get the same rush.
This increased intake can ultimately lead to a dependence on meth where your body becomes accustomed to its presence and you experience withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t used it.
Finally, crystal meth addiction is when you continue to use the drug despite the negative consequences. At this point, you will find it difficult or even impossible to stop using the drug, even if you want to and will likely experience a range of physical, psychological, and social problems as a result of your addiction.
Am I addicted to meth?
If you’re concerned about your levels of crystal meth abuse, here are some questions you can ask yourself which could point to the signs of crystal meth addiction:
- Do I use meth more frequently than I used to?
- Have I tried to stop using meth but been unable to?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I try to stop using meth?
- Do I continue to use meth despite negative consequences such as job loss, financial problems, or relationship issues?
- Have I lied to or manipulated others to obtain meth?
- Do I experience intense cravings for meth?
- Has my meth abuse put me in legal trouble?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are exhibiting common meth addiction signs and should seek professional help immediately.
Who is most likely to become addicted to crystal meth?
Anyone who engages in crystal meth abuse is at risk of developing a meth addiction. However, there are certain risk factors that can make it more likely. These include:
- Genetics: People who have a family history of drug addiction may be more likely to develop an addiction to meth.
- Trauma: Individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse may be more likely to turn to drugs like meth as a way to cope with their feelings and emotions.
- Mental health conditions: People who struggle with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder may also use meth to self-medicate.
- Peer pressure: People who are surrounded by others who use drugs may be more likely to try crystal meth and develop a meth addiction.
- Age: Younger people may be more likely to experiment with drugs including engaging in meth abuse.
- Poverty: Crystal meth addiction has blighted many communities in the US, particularly poor ones. While it hasn’t yet had the same effect in the UK, poverty is a major factor in crystal meth abuse as some people may use the drug to provide temporary relief from their situation.
Health consequences and other symptoms of meth addiction
Meth addiction can have a range of negative health impacts and other effects. Some of these include:
- Tooth decay: Long-term meth addiction and abuse can cause a notorious condition known as “meth mouth,” which is characterised by severe tooth decay and gum disease.
- Skin problems: Crystal meth abuse can also lead to skin problems such as acne, sores, and rashes.
- Psychosis: Meth addiction can cause a condition known as methamphetamine-induced psychosis, which is characterised by paranoia, delusions and hallucinations, all of which can lead to dangerous or suicidal behaviour.
- Cardiovascular problems: Meth addiction can trigger and exacerbate a range of cardiovascular problems, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
- Sexual health problems: Some meth users experience sexual health problems such as impotence, decreased libido and an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.
- Social and legal problems: Crystal meth addiction in particular can lead to a range of social and legal problems, including job loss, financial problems and criminal activity.
Overdose is also a major risk with crystal meth abuse and addiction and can be a life-threatening emergency. Signs of a crystal meth overdose can include:
- Extreme agitation and restlessness
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- High body temperature
- Sweating and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Confusion or disorientation
- Tremors or muscle twitching
- Loss of consciousness
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms after using meth, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
How is crystal meth addiction treated?
Crystal meth addiction is typically treated with a combination of meth detox and rehab. Detox is the process of removing the drug from the body to break physical dependence while meth rehab involves a range of evidence-based therapies to address the underlying issues that led to crystal meth addiction and develop coping strategies which negate the need for the drug.
Myth-busting: The portrayal of crystal meth in Breaking Bad
While Breaking Bad was praised for its compelling storyline and complex characters, its portrayal of meth abuse and crystal meth addiction was also accused of having reinforced negative stigmas and stereotypes. Here are some things about crystal meth that Breaking Bad definitely got wrong:
1. Crystal meth users are violent and dangerous
Breaking Bad portrayed the typical “crystal meth addict” as violent, dangerous and unpredictable. While it’s true that crystal meth abuse can lead to aggressive behaviour in some cases, the vast majority of people who use crystal meth do not become violent. In fact, many people who struggle with crystal meth addiction are more likely to harm themselves than others.
2. Crystal meth addiction is a choice
At times, Breaking Bad also perpetuated the myth that crystal meth addiction is a choice and that sufferers are weak or lacking in willpower. However, crystal addiction is a complex condition that involves changes in the brain and other factors such as genetics, environment, and trauma. It is not a moral failing and people who struggle with crystal meth addiction deserve compassion and support.
3. Crystal meth addiction only affects certain types of people
Breaking Bad also depicted crystal meth addiction as primarily affecting low-income individuals and those involved in the drug trade. However, anyone can become addicted to crystal meth, and it’s important to understand that addiction does not discriminate based on social status, race or background.
4. There is no hope for people suffering from crystal meth addiction
Breaking Bad often portrayed crystal meth addiction as a hopeless situation, with users either dying from an overdose or being killed as a result of their involvement in the drug trade. While crystal meth addiction can have serious negative effects on a person’s health and wellbeing, with the right treatment and support, many people are able to overcome the condition and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
How to get help for meth addiction
If you or your loved one is struggling with meth addiction, then reach out for help today! Banbury Lodge can provide the treatment, guidance and support you need to overcome this terrible condition and look forward to a brand-new future. Contact us today for more information about our meth recovery programmes.