Meth and crystal meth don’t come from a tree or a plant, and in most cases, aren’t made by people with sophisticated degrees in chemistry or pharmacology. Instead, all forms of meth are often made in clandestine laboratories in rural areas by people who know a little about what the drug should do, and who have almost no concern about what the drug might do to the people who take it.
A batch of crystal meth is typically made by combining these ingredients:
- Cold pills containing ephedrine
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Brake fluid
- Hydrochloric acid
Given this nasty ingredient list of chemicals that most people would never take on their own, and given the fact that the drug is considered a community nuisance of the first degree, it’s easy to believe that people wouldn’t take this drug. If people wouldn’t drink brake fluid or pour it into the river, they’d never take meth, right? Unfortunately, people overlook the dangers and choose to take this very powerful drug for the intoxication it brings.
Meth is a powerful substance that attaches to specific receptors in the brain and triggers the release of very powerful chemicals associated with pleasure. People who take this drug often report that it makes them feel confident and incredibly happy. They may also feel very alert and awake, able to take on any challenge that might come their way. People who take this drug for euphoria may not intend to develop an addiction, and they may not set out to develop a problematic life when they first take meth. But soon, they may find that the feelings they experienced while under the influence just seem strong and powerful and too hard to ignore. They may want to feel those sensations again, and they may buy more meth to satisfy that urge.
Meth can suppress the appetite and cause pounds to melt away as people jitter and scramble through the day. For those who want to lose weight, meth can seem like the miracle drug they’ve spent their lives looking for. People who turn to meth to deal with their weight may have genuine weight concerns they’ve been unable to address with conventional diet and exercise programs, or they may have underlying mental health concerns regarding the shape or size of their bodies.
There’s no way to separate the weight changes meth can bring about from the euphoria the drug can bring. People who take this drug experience both side effects, no matter why they’re taking the drug. An addiction also tends to progress in the same way in both sets of people.
The chemical release meth can bring about makes a user feel wonderful in the moment, but there are deeper changes taking place inside the brain with each hit. Receptors are turning off and chemical production decreases. Larger doses of the drug might be required to bring about the same effect. The boost from crystal might also seem smaller and smaller, and users might need to take hits closer together. Life just begins to revolve around the use and abuse of the drug.
The damage that meth can do isn’t limited to addiction either, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that meth has also been associated with:
- Decreased verbal skills
- Reduced motor skills
- Memory problems
- Rotting teeth
- Lack of impulse control
Some of this damage resolves when users get clean and stay clean for a year or longer, according to the NIDA. Other issues can be treated with the help of a medical or dental team. But some of the damage associated with meth use and abuse is so strong and so persistent that it lingers, even when the person is no longer taking drugs.
Some of this damage concerns the heart. Meth can cause the heart to beat in a rapid and irregular manner, and the fragile muscle cells that line the heart can buckle and break under the strain. Meth also seems to have the ability to disrupt the electrical signals that power the heart, causing it to stop beating altogether. Some people have heart attacks while under the influence of meth, as all of this damage works against them, while others die.
People with a meth abuse disorder rarely set out to ruin their lives and develop a compulsive use disorder. But, they may also find it hard to simply stop their behaviors once they’ve started. Any underlying conditions like mental illness or eating disorders can also play a destructive role, keeping a person locked into a poor behavior. Therapy can help, however, as treatment allows people to develop a holistic view of their addictions and their habits.
At Futures Recovery Healthcare, we help people heal from meth addictions. Please call us to find out more about treatment programs and learn how we can help.