Your guide to getting help for a crystal meth addiction in the UK.
* This page was medically reviewed by Dr Robert Lefever, April 2021.
Crystal meth addiction can have serious long term effects on you and your relationships. It is a highly addictive drug which can lead to death if you keep it up. Battling addiction is physically and mentally draining so getting help to quit is the obvious answer. Get in touch with us now if you have already decided to get off drugs.
Otherwise, use the guide outlined below to learn everything there is to know about crystal meth addiction and how you can beat it.
What Is Crystal Meth Addiction?
Crystal meth is short for the term crystal methamphetamine. This means that it is one of the different types of the drug ‘methamphetamine’. Crystal meth is the purest type of methamphetamine you can get. It is methamphetamine in powdered form which is usually snorted for a brief feeling of euphoria.
Other Names for Crystal Meth
Crystal meth is known by several different street names. Some of these include:
And many others.
Crystal meth has a number of different street names. Some of the most common include speed, chalk, crank, and simply meth. While all ages can obviously take crystal meth is commonly viewed as a club drug. This means that a lot of people take this drug while they are at rave parties or nightclubs. The problem is that people take it for recreational fun yet because it is extremely addictive, simply using crystal meth on a one-off basis is not likely.
What is the difference between meth and crystal meth?
Methamphetamines come in several different forms. Crystal meth is one of these forms[ii]. It is the dried out version of methamphetamines which comes in a crystal powder. The Amphetamine family of stimulants tend to be highly addictive. they are usually taken as ‘uppers’, to get the party started. Crystal meth is the strongest known form of amphetamine.
How Is Crystal Meth Taken?
Methamphetamine is a white crystalline drug that people take through injecting with a needle, smoking it, or snorting it. There are some individuals that take this drug orally, although that is rarer[iii].
What effect does crystal meth have on your body?
No matter how this drug is consumed, it is highly addictive because it creates a false sense of well-being and happiness. People experience a rush, they get a lot of energy, hyperactivity, and confidence, and it also decreases appetite. Most people will feel the effects of this drug for around 6 to 8 hours; however, it can last up to 24 hours[iv].
Initially, people often take the drug so that they can feel good and experience a high. It is likely that you may have had your first experience of crystal meth while you were at a party or some sort of social occasion. If you use again, you will develop a tolerance to the drug and, therefore, will need to take more and more to get the effects that you initially experienced from it[v]. This pattern of taking an increasing amount or a more potent level of crystal meth puts you in a state whereby you risk being dependent on the drug.
Eventually your body has adapted in such a way that it needs meth to function as expected. Therefore, you need help to come off meth and get your body back to its normal state. With continued use, the body starts to experience the impact of withdrawal, and this can be uncomfortable both psychologically and physically.
Is Crystal Meth Addictive?
Absolutely. How addictive is crystal meth? Some users can become addicted to meth after just one dose of the drug. This is because the drug creates a methamphetamine high[vi], which is essentially a state of extreme euphoria, and this often draws you back to the drug again and again.
After repeated use, the brain starts to wire in a different way, and this means that dosing on crystal meth seems like a necessity to feel happy. The brain can become dependent on crystal meth in an extremely short space of time.
The reason why crystal meth addiction is not spoken about as often in the UK is because it is much more expensive to obtain. Therefore, one of the huge indicators that someone has a problem with crystal meth is if they start experience financial difficulties.
Common Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction
Some signs a loved one might be developing a crystal meth addiction include:
- Sudden financial problems
- Extreme loss of appetite
- Hyperactivity at unexpected times
- A decrease in fine motor skills
- A sudden shift in social groups
- Hyper Fixation on specific tasks
- A loss of interest and activities or hobbies
In short, any massive changes and behaviour could indicate a drug addiction. Crystal meth addiction is best characterised by a lack of money, an inability to eat, and then increase in clumsiness[vii].
What to look out for if you think your loved one is addicted to crystal meth?
Similarly, if you notice any of the following things, they could mean that your loved one has a crystal meth addiction:
- Syringes or needles lying around their home
- A water pipe used for smoking meth
- Straws, empty pen cases, or rolled up dollar bills.
- Shards, razor-blades, and other items used for cutting the powder.
If you see any of these signs in your loved ones’ home, they may have a brewing crystal meth habit.
What Causes Crystal Meth Addiction?
There are several different factors that can increase your risk of experiencing any type of drug addiction.
As mentioned, one of the main reasons why people become addicted to crystal meth is because they take the drug in a social environment and then they find that they cannot help but seek the euphoria that it gave them. Your environmental upbringing and surroundings can have a massive impact on your likelihood of becoming addicted to crystal meth.
We live increasingly stressful and hectic lives, and so a lot of us can resort to coping mechanisms to try and get by. You may find that you are experiencing a lot of stress in the workplace, and it is pushing you towards drug use.
Genetics can also play a role in addiction. If you have parents with a drug problem or a close relative who has been addicted to drugs in the past, you may have a higher risk of developing an addiction yourself.
Mental health disorders
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you may find that crystal meth helps you to feel better. You get a sense of euphoria that you simply cannot experience for the day-to-day life. In the short term, it gives you a happiness that you never felt was possible. However, relying on crystal meth rewires your brain and, therefore, it can make the symptoms of any sort of mental illness a lot worse.
Stressful life events and Traumatic Incidents
Life tends to throw curveballs our way that can be extremely difficult to come to terms with. Examples include breaking up your partner, being made redundant, experiencing money troubles, and losing a loved one. A lot of people turn to drugs like crystal meth as a coping mechanism.
The Physical and Psychological Side Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction
Those concerned that they may have developed a crystal meth addiction should look out for the following physical and psychological side effects.
The physical side effects of crystal meth use
- Premature ageing of the skin
- Bad breath
- Broken teeth, which occurs due to meth-induced tooth grinding
- Blackened, rotting teeth
- Track marks on the arms
- Burns, particularly on the fingers or lips
- Dilated pupils
- Sores that are slow to heal
- Irregular breathing patterns
- Extreme perspiration
- Severe or sudden weight loss
The psychological side effects of crystal meth use
- The belief that there are insects crawling under your skin (this can lead to meth sores)
- Mood swings
- Fidgeting or agitation
How Do You Treat a Crystal Meth Addiction?
The Detox Process
During the detox process your rehab facility will provide you with medical assistance to monitor the intense crystal meth withdrawal symptoms you will go through. This is necessary for you to break free of drugs.
The Rehab Process
After you have detoxed from crystal meth, you will be able to move on with the rest of rehab. Rehab will focus on using different therapies to enlighten you as to the cause behind your addiction. Understanding this will help you to better avoid addiction in future.
There are several different treatment programs are available to help you overcome your addiction to crystal meth and the program that you adopt all depends on your level of dependence and the abuse that your body has already taken. Experts usually find that a mixture of different therapies are the most effective when determining how to overcome crystal meth addiction. Some examples of how to right crystal meth addiction are as follows:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy: this involves examining the role that substance abuse has on your life and helping you to develop the skill to avoid a relapse.
- Contingency management: this uses positive reinforcement to keep you abstinent[ix].
- Counselling: sometimes counselling can be beneficial if the addiction has been linked to a traumatic event in your life or your mental health has been impacted. A counsellor will help you to talk through these tough times.
- Online therapy will help you attend sessions even if Coronavirus measures are in place.
Secondary Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction
Secondary treatment for crystal meth addiction is also known as aftercare. It should be provided by your rehab clinic to smooth the transition back into normal life. Secondary treatment often includes some forms of therapy and online and telephone support.
How long should I stay in rehab for?
You should stay in rehab until you feel able to manage your symptoms on your own. We would advise a seven day period for detox. But you should do a minimum of two weeks in rehab, with 28 days being preferable[x].
Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment Timeline
If you are suffering from a crystal meth addiction you should expect the detox period to last up to 10 days. After this, you will need to spend the appropriate amount of time in rehab, which is why we always recommend a 28 day treatment timetable at minimum.
Can I get help to recover from crystal meth addiction for free in the UK?
Private rehab facilities usually charge £1000 a week for their residential programs. However, you may find that you are entitled to treatment on the NHS. If you are worried about the cost of drug rehab, please do not let this deter you from seeking help. Simply give us a call and we will provide you with all your options that fit your budget.
Free Consultation Crystal Meth Addiction
If you are worried that you mate has a crystal meth addiction, we want to hear from you. We run an impartial advice helpline and can even offer you a free consultation to help find the right rehab for you. There are no obligations attached.
what Help 4 Addiction can do for you?
If you have decided that it is time to seek help for crystal meth addiction, and you would like to find out more about crystal meth rehab, we can help you to find the right facility for you. We have a huge network of contacts all over the United Kingdom, as well as connections with different rehab centres around the world, and we can make a recommendation based on your budget, your location, and your needs. Feel free to request a call back or call us now on 0203 955 7700.