In 2019, 11,000 people in the UK took crystal meth. This is a relatively small number when compared with the rest of the world. It’s also not a huge number when compared to the other drug problems that are prevalent in the UK.
But if you or someone you love is personally affected, then it can have a huge impact on your life. Just 1 person’s addiction can turn your life upside-down.
Drug addiction is never easy to overcome, especially if you don’t know much about it. It may sound cliche, but knowledge is power. This is especially true when it comes to combatting a difficult addiction.
In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide to crystal meth so you can understand the drug better. We’ll also give you information on how to overcome your dependence and get sober.
What Is Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth is a commonly used name for the crystal state of methamphetamine, a strong lab-made central nervous system stimulant. It is used as a recreational drug throughout the world but also in controlled doses as a prescription medication for attention deficit disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and obesity. According to studies, Methamphetamine is the fourth most harmful recreational drug in the UK. Although its score for harm to other people is low, it is one of the most damaging to the people who use it, on par with heroin and crack cocaine.
Its scientific name is crystal methamphetamine, but it’s rarely called that on the streets. You may have heard people call crystal meth ice, crystal, quartz, or even “poor man’s cocaine.”
In the UK, it’s a Class A drug, which is the highest possible.
This means that if you’re caught while in possession of the drug, you can face up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or even both. So not only is this substance harmful to your health, but it can also ruin your life with imprisonment and financial ruin if the fine is high enough.
|Crystal Meth Glass
|Poor Man’s Cocaine
Crystal Meth: UK and Worldwide Use
As we’ve said above, crystal meth usage really isn’t all that high in the UK. This may come as a surprise, especially since this drug is highly used in all parts of the world.
For example, 12.3 million Americans claim they’ve taken methamphetamine before. In fact, half a million use it every week! This is due to the fact that Mexican cartels bring a steady supply of this drug across the borders.
Other places where crystal meth usage is prevalent are Asia and Australia. In Asia, this is the case because Myanmar is actually one of the world’s largest producers of this substance. And in Australia (and New Zealand), they don’t have good access to better stimulants, so they took to cooking up crystal meth on their own.
Now, on the other hand, take the UK. It’s halfway across the world from Mexico. Plus, it’s right next to the Netherlands, which is well-known for producing high-quality drugs such as cocaine and MDMA. These 2 factors meant that the British had no reason to get into “poor man’s cocaine.”
How Is Crystal Meth Taken?
Most people take crystal meth by smoking it through a glass pipe. This is a very quick way of getting high.
Some prefer to inject it, which gives almost an instantaneous high.
Other methods people use to take crystal meth include snorting, swallowing, or even inserting it into their anuses.
What Are the Crystal Meth Effects?
Crystal meth’s drug effects are very apparent. As we’ve mentioned before, this substance is a stimulant. This means the user will experience various energetic feelings.
For example, they’ll have a higher heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. If you look into their eyes, their pupils will be dilated.
Other effects you’ll experience include euphoria, sweating, loss of appetite, insomnia, jaw clenching, and tremors. If you abuse the drug for long enough, you’ll experience more unpleasant effects, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and even seizures.
As you can see, it can be quite dangerous to take crystal meth.
Crystal Meth Side Effects
When people smoke crystal meth constantly, they usually end up with a condition called “meth mouth.” This is where they get dry mouth so much that their teeth and gums are completely ruined. This is compounded by the fact that crystal meth ingredients may include other impurities, which can be harmful to your health.
In the case of injecting, it can lead to ruined blood vessels. Not only that, but it may lead to other diseases from sharing needles, such as hepatitis and HIV.
Snorting may cause you to get a deviated septum. This may result in a constantly runny nose.
Long-Term Side Effects
If you take crystal meth for long enough, it can cause you to have both emotional and cognitive side effects. These can include:
- Violent behaviour
- Delusions of grandeur
- Obsessive behaviours
- Psychosomatic disorders
In most cases, these side effects can be reversed if you stay off crystal meth for long enough.
Why Is Crystal Meth So Addictive?
Crystal meth is so addictive because it makes you feel extreme happiness. This is because it causes a flood of dopamine in your brain. This is the neurotransmitter that’s responsible for pleasure.
All good things end, so when the crystal meth wears off, your brain wants more of that “feel good” feeling. But because this substance prevents your brain from naturally reabsorbing the dopamine, it can change how your brain functions.
Essentially, you cause your brain to become rewired. Over time, you’ll need more and more of the drug to even feel a little bit high. Because of this, you can quickly get caught up with addiction.
What Are the Signs That Someone Is Using Crystal Meth?
A few signs that may indicate that someone is using crystal meth include:
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Obsessive picking
- Dilated pupils
- Abnormal sleeping patterns
- Mood swings
- Shady behaviour (such as stealing)
- Talking more than normal
Some of these signs may overlap with signs of usage of other drugs. However, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for these.
What is Crystal Methadone?
The term crystal methadone is a common mistaken identity because of the similarity in lettering between methadone and methamphetamine. The reason is that they are in the same chemical group, although they are different types of drugs. Methadone is an opioid painkiller, and methamphetamine is a stimulant for the central nervous system. They are used for very different purposes and affect the body and mind in their own ways.
How Can I Overcome a Crystal Meth Addiction?
The first step to overcoming a crystal meth addiction is to cease the use of the drug. This gives your body a chance to process all the remnants of it and for it to reset itself.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Often, withdrawal comes with very nasty side effects; this is what drives people to start using again. They feel it’s better to feed the dependence rather than suffer the withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal starts just a few hours after your last hit, and it can take up to 5 weeks before you feel completely normal again. As you can see, that’s a very long journey to take on your own.
The best idea is to go through detox at a rehabilitation facility.
Medical professionals can help monitor your symptoms and prescribe antipsychotic drugs if needed. Some people may go through psychosis as a side effect of withdrawal. You may also be prescribed some other medications to make the withdrawal process more comfortable and safer.
Just the fact that you’re going through detox in a monitored facility rather than doing it alone significantly increases your chances of success. It’ll be much harder to get a hold of crystal meth while you’re under the care of professionals.
Your Choices for Crystal Meth Rehabilitation
Meth effects may be very difficult to deal with. Detox is only half the battle; to overcome addiction for good, you need to go through the proper steps to deal with your triggers and the root cause of dependence.
Mainly, you’ll have 2 choices for rehabilitation: inpatient and outpatient. Read on to find out more about each option.
Inpatient rehab is where you live in a facility for the entire duration of treatment. This means you have a complete interruption of your normal life, which may be a good thing for some people while bad for others. In any case, you’ll wake up and go to sleep at the rehabilitation centre; you’ll devote your entire day to getting sober.
In the facility, you’ll work with professionals who will help you with various aspects of your addiction.
For example, therapists will help you address triggers and find out what drove you to substance abuse in the first place. They can also teach you healthy ways to deal with these triggers so you don’t relapse as easily.
Or you may work with a nutritionist to figure out wholesome foods to eat so you can keep your body in the best shape possible. You may even attend things like yoga and meditation to address the mental aspect of health as well.
Another important part of rehab is attending group therapy. Here, you’ll meet others who are going through the same process as you. Together, you can build a good support group so you won’t feel alone as you progress in your journey to recovery.
As we’ve said above, inpatient rehab takes up your entire schedule. While this gives you the best chance at getting and staying sober, it’s not always feasible. Some people are single parents who have no one to rely on, and others have a rigorous university schedule they need to stay on top of.
In this case, there’s outpatient rehab available. You can still reap the same benefits as in inpatient rehab, such as therapy (both individual and group), alternative therapies, and taking any medications if necessary. However, you just make an appointment with the centre, and you’ll come to get their services and then leave to continue your daily schedule.
While this is a great alternative, it may not be suitable for everyone. For instance, if you have a poor home environment where others partake in drugs and alcohol frequently, being around that can increase your chances of relapse, especially while you’re still in the beginning stages of rehab.
However, it’ll be a lot cheaper than inpatient rehabilitation. Consider that you don’t have to eat and sleep there; the costs are considerably lower.
Whether you’ve gone through inpatient or outpatient rehab, aftercare is always a great idea. Rehabilitation is an ongoing process, and it can be tough to transition straight back to normal life, especially if you were in inpatient rehab before.
In aftercare, you go through a lot of the same things you did while in rehabilitation. For instance, you’ll still have the help of individual and group therapy. This can be vital to your success, as it’ll be easier to resist temptation if you have the support of others.
With your counsellor, you’ll also outline a relapse prevention plan. By continuing your sessions with them, they’ll be able to help you keep on track with the path to being sober for good.
In the group therapy sessions, you’ll get to make friends who are also transitioning back to normal life. You’ll be able to discuss your struggles and what everyone’s coping mechanisms are. It’ll be constructive to explore the challenges of rehab and figure out wholesome ways to stay in the right direction.
Beat Your Crystal Meth Dependence With Professional Help
While crystal meth isn’t as big a problem in the UK as other drugs are, there are still people who struggle with it. Whether you or a loved one have a dependence, it can feel like the world’s come crashing down on you.
But there are ways out of addiction, especially if you get professional help. With the support of experts and others who have been in your position (or currently are), you’ll be able to overcome all the challenges of addiction. As a result, you’ll get a path to sobriety and have the best chances of success for the rest of your life.
If you or someone you love need help with crystal meth addiction, please get in touch with us now. We can check you into our detox and rehab programmes. We’re happy to provide you with free advice, too.