What Is Crystal Meth?

crystal meth

Methamphetamines are a highly addictive human-made stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Meth creates a powerful high that causes people to get hooked soon after their first use, seeking increasingly larger doses to achieve the same euphoria every time.

Meth’s recent resurgence has taken a toll on millions of Americans’ health and well-being. Depending on the technique used to produce it, meth might resemble rock salt or chipped ice – also known as crystal meth.

Where Does Meth Come From?

Most crystal meth enters the U.S. from Mexican “super-labs.” However, there are also many small, at-home labs scattered throughout the country. The primary ingredient in methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, which comes from inexpensive over-the-counter decongestants. People who cook meth combine cold medicine ingredients with easily obtainable household chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze.

Usually, people smoke crystal meth with a small pipe, but they may also swallow it, snort it, or inject it into a vein. Whatever method people choose to use it, crystal meth takes effect almost immediately because it’s so highly concentrated. A chemical called dopamine floods the parts of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure, making people feel confident and energetic.

Problems With Long-Term Crystal Meth Use

While all illicit stimulants are dangerous, meth is especially harmful because it remains unchanged in the body and brain for up to 24 hours, causing ongoing side effects like a racing heart rate, chest pains, paranoia, irritability, hallucinations, muscle spasms and repetitive skin picking.

Besides addiction, prolonged crystal meth use causes many physical and mental problems. Chronic abusers develop symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, mood disorders, weight loss, tooth decay and impulsive or violent behavior. They may also experience psychoses such as paranoia, delusions and hallucinations that can continue for months or even years after they get clean and sober.

Crystal meth abuse has severe ripple effects beyond the people who use the drug. A few of the most significant concerns associated with meth use in the U.S. include:

  • Rising crime rates and death toll
  • Increased homelessness and incarceration
  • Higher incidences of health conditions like hepatitis C, stroke and psychosis

Where to Get Help for a Meth Addiction

If crystal meth use is causing problems with your health and relationships, professional help will let you make a fresh start. At New Found Life, we have helped thousands of people turn their lives around with our California treatment program. Our evidence-based, comprehensive continuum of care will teach you how to cope with life’s challenges as you work toward recovering your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Contact us today when you’re ready to learn more about breaking the cycle of methamphetamine abuse. We are here to talk to you 24/7.