Are you wondering how to help a loved one on crystal meth? You may find it particularly disturbing to resort to such. However, if your loved one is caught within the tendrils of crystal meth, you have to do something to help.
Many experts have revealed that helping anyone get out of drug addiction requires deliberate and systematic steps. It also involves getting all the information you can and then applying it directly.
That is what we are here to help you with. In this article, we will dig deep into what makes crystal meth special as a drug of addiction. We will then uncover ways you can help a loved one deal with crystal meth abuse, including interventions and rehab programs. Let’s get started.
What Is Crystal Meth And Why Is It So Unique?
Methamphetamine is otherwise referred to as crystal meth, meth, blue, or ice. It is a highly addictive chemically produced drug that releases dopamine into the human brain. This stimulant appears as a white coloured powder with no taste and dissolves rapidly in water and alcohol.
Dopamine is a chemical released when a person is doing something they love or enjoy. For example, singing your best song, watching your favourite television show, being with someone you love, eating your favourite meal, and so on.
When you take crystal meth, it releases ten to twelve times the normal amount of dopamine in the brain. You may wonder how a person will feel if they have ten times the usual amount of dopamine in their brain. The saying “I feel on top of the world”, is in no way close to describing how meth addicts feel.
Now, you will understand why meth is described as an extremely scary drug. Except in special circumstances, the immense pleasure derivable from meth will most likely make a person ask for more. It is termed to be a “once and forever” drug because it takes professional intervention to help a loved one on crystal meth.
Interestingly, meth is not a natural drug. It is derived from the combination of many other drugs and items. You can purchase the ingredients from a drug store and cook them together to produce meth. Producing meth leads to a very toxic product consumed by sniffing, snorting, or injecting.
Compared to other street drugs, meth has many “benefits” that make it highly consumable. For one, meth is cheap and easy to access. A meth addict can easily go into the production of meth and even start selling it. Of course, this will only help an addict ingrain the habit and even make fast money through it.
This illegal drug originated from the parent drug amphetamine in the early 20th century. The parent drug was originally dispensed for nasal decongestant and bronchial inhaling. However, meth is different from amphetamine in that it is stronger and has a more long-lasting effect on the brain.
Related Article: What is Meth Addiction?
Understanding Why Your Loved One is on crystal meth
Drugs are generally used as a way to escape negative feelings. Your loved one may have undergone some traumatic event that they cannot deal with properly. While this is no excuse to turn to drugs, it might help you understand your loved ones’ state of mind.
Crystal meth use is very common. In fact, according to the NCBI, it is the second most widely used illicit drug after marijuana. This fact implies it is easy to find and also particularly enjoyable to consume. So when you wonder why your loved one has taken solace in crystal meth, this may just be the reason.
Understanding how they got into it will better help you know how to approach them on the subject. Regardless, a general rule for handling a case of addiction is to throw all judgment away. In the subsequent sections, we will discuss how you can do that.
Signs of Meth Addiction
Usually, if you’re considering that someone you love is using crystal meth, it’s because you have noticed a couple of things. Signs of meth addiction range from physical signs to behavioural signs. Like any other addictive drug, crystal meth harms the body and mind of an addict.
Visible physical signs include:
- An untidy and unkempt look
- Dilated pupils with rapid eye movements
- Profuse sweating
- Erratic or twitchy body movements
- High body temperature
- Dental issues like tooth decay (peculiar to meth users)
- Facial twitching
- Talking too constantly and rapidly
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Frequent itching of the body
- Obsessively picking at the hair and skin
- Lack of sleep and inconsistent sleeping patterns
- Sores on the face and skin
- Intense headache
These signs may result from the use and abuse of other drugs, although their likelihood of them surfacing from using crystal meth is very high. They may also be due to other genuine underlying medical conditions.
While you may use these signs to suspect your loved ones of meth use, you should be careful. If they feel accused and wrongly at that, they may feel alienated. This then makes it even more difficult to get them help.
Psychological or behavioural signs are also crucial when considering if someone you love is using crystal meth. You will likely see a strong turn in a person’s behavioural pattern once they start using crystal meth. These signs include:
- Anxiety, nervousness, irritable behaviour, and disability
- Unpredictable aggression and violence
- Anger or mood swings
- Hallucination: Seeing, hearing, or believing in things that are aren’t there
- Hyperactivity, higher energy, and restlessness
- Psychotic behaviour, stress, and bipolar disorder
Whenever someone using meth becomes sober temporarily, he or she will experience symptoms such as:
- Extreme fatigue
- Uncontrollable and intense depression
- Extreme irritability and instability
Consequences of Not Helping a Person on Crystal Meth
You must take steps to help a person with a meth addiction immediately you notice it. Meth is a particularly powerful drug. It has significant effects on the brain because it reshapes the structure of its user’s brain.
Experts have spoken of how crystal meth has the most significant effects on the brain than other illicit drugs. It markedly reduces the number of neurotransmitters in the brain.
This eventually manifests as problems with impulse control as well as focus. Beyond the physical and mental effects, the drug consequently affects social behaviour.
It is not uncommon for meth addicts to be unable to hold down their jobs. This gets compounded since they are compelled to use all their finances to get another fix. There is also potential legal trouble since meth use in Canada is illegal.
If your loved one is caught up in all of these, they may find themselves in a lot of trouble. Generally, the earlier you tackle the problem, the easier it is to solve it. So you should put out all the stops to find them all the meth addiction treatment they need.
How To Help A Loved One On Crystal Meth
Once you have identified your loved one’s problem, the next step is to provide help and support. However, if you do not know how to help them, your efforts may be more harmful than helpful to your loved one.
Research and learn about crystal meth
You cannot offer help to your loved one without knowing enough about their problem. Thus, the foremost step is to learn about crystal meth addiction. This will give a better insight into what your loved one is dealing with, how the person feels, and the reasons for the addiction.
Having gained an understanding of the problem, the next step is the solution. This entails knowing how to help a loved one on crystal meth during, before and after their treatment. On a personal note, this will help you know how much of your time, energy, and care the loved one will need.
Furthermore, discovering that someone you love is using crystal meth can be mentally draining and physically exhausting. The learning process will give you enough time to calm down and recover from your own pain to help the recovering addict.
Work with professionals
You will agree that getting the help of a professional in any task you embark upon can, in many ways, make things easier. The same goes for issues with crystal meth addiction. Talking to a professional is a very important step in helping a loved one on crystal meth.
Aside from the knowledge that can be easily acquired online, talking to a professional can help to get tailored solutions to your loved one. From experience, a professional can dissect the reasons and processes that led your loved one into becoming an addict. From this, you will get specific advice on how to help your loved one on crystal meth.
Also, as mentioned above, crystal meth addicts are prone to violence and aggression. Thus, be it a therapist, psychologist, psychologist, or interventionist, it is essential to speak to someone. This professional will give first-hand tips on how, when, and where to address the addict. It will protect the family and friends of the addict from any harm that can be indirectly caused by the addict.
Most importantly, a professional is a better person to teach you how to persuade the loved one on crystal meth to seek help. Once that is done, a huge part of the problem has been solved.
Talk with compassion — avoid confrontation
Talking to an addict about their addiction is a crucial and delicate step. To an addict, this seems like a form of attack or show of displeasure in their way of life. You have to tread softly, so the efforts don’t go south. A crystal meth addict can easily resort to violence and even severe ties with the persons confronting them.
Consequently, certain tips must be strictly adhered to when talking to a loved one on crystal meth. For one, don’t speak to a crystal meth addict whenever they are high on the drug.
As established, no one is in their right senses after using crystal meth. Thus, that is the worst time to speak to them. Target a time when the drug would have worn off and use that opportunity to address the person.
Also, avoid being confrontational in any way while trying to help a loved one on crystal meth. Confrontations usually lead people to become defensive and divulge little or no information. Speak to your loved one in the kindest possible way. Help them feel safe and comfortable talking to you.
You can achieve this by talking about something completely different for a start. Talk about their favourite television show, songs, food, so they can feel very comfortable.
You can also have discussions around the good memories that were created before they ventured into using meth. This will help them remember what their life looked like before the addiction.
Once this is done, you can proceed to tell them all you’ve noticed in the nicest possible way. Tell them how much you are bothered about them and the signs of meth addiction you’ve noticed. Talk about the particular things you’ve noticed, and remember to reiterate how much you care.
Remember that you are not expecting a response. You are simply trying to remind them of the person they were before the addiction. So, do not push the conversation for too long till a crystal meth addict becomes uncomfortable.
Be Patient and non-judgmental
Remember that it took more than just one sniff or consumption to become an addict. Yes, it starts with a trial, but addiction only happens after several instances of abuse. This is the same way just one conversation cannot change a crystal meth addict.
You must exercise patience while helping a loved one using crystal meth. Give enough intervals between discussions with an addict about their addiction and remain kind. Know that it will take some time before they can open up to you about it.
A crystal meth addict may exercise different emotions while talking to you about it. They may display anger, denial, or aggression. They may also pass a few remarks or grudgingly say a few words.
Whichever response your loved one displays, be patient, and don’t be judgmental. Helping a loved one out of crystal meth addiction requires lots of patience, which you must exercise.
Pay Enough Attention and Listen
Addictions generally occur when the addict is at their lowest and needs something to feel better. Often, knowing what led a person into the addiction can be enough of a trigger to snap them out of it. You have to pay attention to your loved one and listen to every word carefully to figure this out.
A loved one using crystal meth may not easily disclose the reasons behind their addiction or unwillingness to stop. But if you pay enough attention while showing you are willing to listen, the chances of an addict opening up increases.
Once a crystal meth addict starts to talk, you must listen. You must listen attentively and not interrupt them while talking. You should neither invalidate their feelings nor give unsolicited advice. Make eye contact and give genuine smiles to keep them talking. By listening, you will better understand your loved one’s special circumstances and how to help.
It is important for a recovering meth addict to learn the importance of getting help with crystal meth addiction. This may not happen immediately because it usually takes a while before a meth addict can realize that something is wrong.
The process of recovering is what brings a meth addict to sobriety. But remaining sober is up to the person. It is a universal truth that no one can love someone more than oneself.
This saying comes to play here as no one can care for the addict as much as they can. A recovering addict should be interested in learning ways to deal with crystal meth abuse.
A recovering meth addict should be ready to put in all the work necessary to heal and recover completely. This requires discipline, perseverance, and self-care. This may mean losing relationships with friends or peers that introduced the person to the habit. It may help to change the environment, live with supportive persons, or join a support group.
In the process of recovering, your loved one can make a lot of progress through listening to the stories of persons who have had similar experiences. A support group offers that opportunity to a recovering addict. Here, a recovering addict feels safe enough to share their struggles, listen to others, and be more inspired to recover.
Thus, no matter how much you wish to help a loved one on crystal meth, this cannot happen without the person’s cooperation. Teaching them to see the need to fight this addiction will go a long way in dealing with crystal meth abuse.
Conducting a crystal meth addiction intervention
An intervention is a vital step in helping a meth addict. Because of how sensitive addicts are, you should make sure you have a professional on hand during the intervention.
You can expect to be in the intervention for many hours. So, you should make plans for a conducive setting. You must also properly consider the timing of the event.
If you can manage, get the family and loved ones together and hold a rehearsal. It may seem trivial, but emotions usually run high at interventions. This makes it easy to get off course.
With a rehearsal, everyone prepares what they will say and how they will say it. So the intervention becomes more effective.
It is also crucial to manage your expectations. You should not imagine a big change right after your intervention. It is even much safer to expect some resistance from your loved one. But you must be ready to try again until you are successful.
Related Article: How To Stop Meth Addiction
Treatment Options for Meth Addiction
We cannot discuss how to help a loved one on crystal meth without considering possible treatment options. Most effective options for treatment involve behavioural therapies.
A hybrid treatment exists, which encompasses individual counselling, family support, and behavioural therapy to counteract the addiction.
You may not see many drugs in use as a treatment. This is because there are no known drugs that can directly oppose methamphetamine or prolong abstinence. However, your loved one may be given drugs to help with the side effects of the drug.
Your Loved One Is Getting Treatment: What Next?
No guide on how to help a loved one on crystal meth goes on without emphasizing support. That is the most important thing in the whole spectrum, from talking to them to getting them into treatment.
Your loved one with an addiction needs to know you are there for them wholeheartedly. This doesn’t stop even after they have agreed to go for treatment.
You may offer to take them to their therapy session if they are on an outpatient basis. If they have to be in the rehab center to get better, you should make frequent visits and always reassure them.
Many recovery programs incorporate family and friends because of their importance in rehabilitating a crystal meth addict. You can take advantage of such arrangements to prove to your loved one that you support them.
However, as much as you provide support to your loved one, you should remember to take care of yourself. Dealing with someone with an addiction has its highs and lows.
So while you are providing support, take breaks as often as necessary. This is to make sure you are in the best position to be the best help to them.
There is no doubt that recovery from crystal meth addiction is possible. All you need to know is how to help your loved one with the addiction. You must also psych yourself up and be determined to get them out of the habit.
If you are ready to begin your loved one’s recovery, you should check out our addiction treatment services. Here at 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre, we have an array of experts who will work round the clock to help get your loved one back into shape and live a drug-free life. Contact us today!