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Crystal Meth Dependence

Dependence on Meth = Problems!

Quitting crystal meth is difficult; the process can be extremely unpleasant and even dangerous for your health. That’s why it is advised that you treat crystal meth dependence under the supervision of a qualified doctor and a team of medical professionals.

Here, we’ll review the signs and symptoms of crystal meth dependence. We’ll describe when it occurs and how can you end the dependence cycle. Learn more in the text below. At the end, feel free to send us your questions. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries of our readers.


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What is Dependence…Really?

Physical dependence on any psychoactive drug is characterized by two primary signs: withdrawal upon cessation and an increased tolerance for the drug over time. Dependence is actually the brain’s way of adapting to a chemical. In the case of meth, the brain has to trigger “slowing down” processes in order to balance out the stimulant effects of the drug. So, when you remove the drug, it takes time to return to a balanced, pre-meth state.

Methamphetamine has an extremely high potential for abuse. It has certain physical and mental qualities that can encourage dependence. Dependence may develop even after the first-time use. However, serious addictions usually occur with prolonged cases of crystal meth use. Prolonged use of crystal meth interferes with the chemical compounds in the brain that are linked to pleasurable feelings. By changing the brain’s chemistry, crystal meth changes the way you experience any type of pleasure.

Does Dependence = Crystal Meth Addiction?

Technically they are different…but close.

1. Dependence is characterized by the occurrence of two (2) conditions:

a) Tolerance. With chronic and longer-term use of crystal meth it is likely that your body will build up a tolerance for the drug. This means that the effects of meth are “weaker” with continued use. Over time, people tend to have to take a larger dose at intervals that are more regular in order to experience the desired effect.

b) Withdrawal syndrome. After cessation of use or skipping doses, withdrawal symptoms are triggered in someone who is dependent on crystal meth. Withdrawal is a cluster of physical, less severe effects, and psychological effects which are far more harsh and risky. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts

2. Addiction is defined by the intense cravings for the drug, obsessive and compulsive drug seeking behavior, and continued use even when meth ruins your health, home, and finances. In addition, a person addicted to crystal may display symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. The following may be observed in someone who has an addiction problem to crystal meth:

  • Loss of control over drug use
  • Decreased school or work performance due to crystal meth use
  • Legal troubles related to possession or use of crystal meth
  • Legal troubles related to performing illegal activities to be able to purchase meth
  • Loss of interest in social life, hobbies, and once enjoyable activities
  • Periods of insomnia followed by sleeping for a long period of time
  • Spending a great deal of time recovering from the effects of crystal meth
  • Inability to explain where money (or other possessions) go missing
  • Becoming secretive and socially withdrawn

Addiction is a kind of psychological dependence. It is characterized by an intense need to reproduce the feelings of happiness that the brain can no longer feel naturally. This leads to a constant need for crystal meth, as the only only thing in life that can make you feel happy again.

But you’re chasing the dragon.

The constant and obsessive search for that first rush can never be satiated. It is nearly impossible to achieve initial euphoria as you become more and more dependent on meth. Your life starts to spiral out of control.

Signs of Crystal Meth Dependence

If you or a loved one have been using crystal meth, you are facing a great risk of developing dependence and addiction. This is simply because meth is highly addictive. But crystal meth dependence can become a reason to stop.  You can reconsider your actions and seek professional help. These warning signs may include:

1. Loss of appetite and weight loss. Many start using the drug for the weight loss and boost of metabolism it provides. In many cases it ends badly, with extreme malnutrition and eating disorders. Plus, crystal meth loses its weight loss properties after about 6 weeks and doesn’t have that effect any more.

2. Meth mouth. Those who chronically abuse crystal meth face some serious dental problems. Tooth erosion is a common side effect, followed by tooth grinding (while under the influence) and poor dental hygiene. Together, these effect cause severe damage also known as “meth mouth”.

3. Skin damage. Skin problems come from picking and scratching the skin while a user is under the influence. Some people see bugs crawling on the skin or under the skin tissue. Compulsive skin irritation results in sores, scratches, and scars.

4. Dilated pupils. Crystal meth users always have dilated pupils when under the influence of the drug. This is a clear indicator someone has been using a drug.

5. Full wakefulness that lasts for days. Crystal meth can keep users awake even after the effects start to wear off, and even if a user is tired and wants to sleep.

6. Talkativeness. Usually users are chatty, friendly and outgoing right after they take a dose of crystal meth. As the effects wear off and they get tired and become quite the opposite: quiet, introverted,and even depressed. These kinds of mood swings are often a clear indication of crystal meth dependence.

7. Clues and tools for drug use. Depending on the route of administration, people may keep a glass pipe for smoking it. Rolled up bills, cut drinking straws, ID’s or credit cards with white residue may indicate that a user is snorting crystal meth. If a user is injecting it, they will be in the possession of needles and a cook kit.

8. Hallucinations. Frequent crystal meth users start seeing and hearing things, usually displaying paranoid behavior, checking rooms and places, looking behind doors and furniture.

Is Crystal Meth Dependence Risky?

Crystal meth abuse and dependence are a serious problem that requires immediate medical and psychotherapeutic interventions. If you are hooked on crystal methamphetamine, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. If a loved one is suffering from dependence and addiction, do everything you can to help and support them. Professional help is crucial, mainly because cravings for meth are intense…and can resurface even after initial detox. You need to get to the root of the problem, and someone trained in addiction treatment can be your guide.


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How to End Crystal Meth Dependence

Ending dependence is not easy.

The process of withdrawal from crystal meth is unlike any other illicit drug withdrawal. In some cases, it may take up to two years (or more) for the brain damage that occurs from prolonged use of crystal meth to heal, and for normal dopamine functioning to return.

BUT it can be treated!

Doctors can address the withdrawal symptoms that occur shortly after cessation of crystal meth. Crystal meth detox usually requires the use of medications to ease the severity of the symptoms.

Talking to a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist is another important aspect of crystal meth addiction treatment. These medical professionals are in the role of counselors, and work to help you get to the root causes of why you started using crystal meth in the first place. Individual or group therapy sessions, can also help you understand the consequences of crystal meth use and dependence and teach you how to prevent future addictive behaviors and avoid relapse.

Got Any Questions?

We welcome you to share your thoughts and personal experiences. Also, if you have any questions and concerns on this subject, feel free to ask us in the comments section below. We try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIH: Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction
MedlinePlus: Methampthetamine
U.S. Department of Justice: Crystal Methamphetamine Fast Facts
NCBI: The burden and management of crystal meth use
SAMHSA: Methamphetamine Addiction, Treatment, and Outcomes: Implications for Child Welfare Workers

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Leave a Reply

4 Responses to “Crystal Meth Dependence
11:53 am November 26th, 2017

When my friend is coming down and knows he can’t buy more meth he wants suboxin to come down is that normal also he is always saying someone owes him or stole his meth

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:10 pm November 30th, 2017

Hi Brain. Your friend seem to have serious problem with meth addiction. Maybe, it’s about time to stage an intervention for him/her.

2:41 am June 8th, 2018

I’ve been addicted to Crystal for roughly 2 years. I do about a half gram a day intravenously. I’ve been using all kinds of drugs since I was 14. I need help. I need someone to show me the way. Please help me

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
9:02 am June 8th, 2018

Hi Antoinoeia. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

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