Crystal meth – an SA scourge – Synopsis and symptoms


One of the most widely used and biggest substance abuse drugs in South Africa comes in the form of Crystal Meth – a common name for Crystal Methamphetamine. Other street names, because it looks like shiny blue-white rocks, are ‘Ice,’ ‘blade,’ ‘quartz’ or ‘Glass.’

By any name, however, this is a highly deceptive stimulant. Whether injected, smoked, swallowed, snorted, or inhaled an individual will experience a quick rush of euphoria immediately after usage but, like most street drugs with no legal applications, it is very dangerous and damaging to the body, causing some severe psychological problems.

The immediate effects 

So what is it about this drug that is so attractive to the user? The experience has been described by medical practitioners as “a powerful rush causing many to get immediately hooked.” A chemical called dopamine floods the parts of the brain that regulate one’s feelings of pleasure. Users therefore also feel confident and highly energetic.

Unfortunately, apart from being highly damaging to the brain and body, the long term effects of the drug are dire and the effects and withdraw symptoms can cause many families and spouses great heartache. The best we can do as family or friends of these users is to be aware of the symptoms and effects and try to get users to seek help as soon as possible.

Common symptoms   

  • Behavioural unpredictability
  • Increased physical activity
  • Increased breathing rate and blood pressure
  • Repeatedly carrying out meaningless tasks
  • Diarrhoea, Nausea, vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating heavily
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia or irritability
  • Clenching of the jaw.

Common effects of abuse

Some of the after-effects are dire and permanently damaging:

  • Feeling irritable and depressed as you hit ‘the crash’
  • Over time, the constant use of this drug can kill your brain’s dopamine cells. You feel unable to find pleasure or have symptoms of psychosis and paranoia
  • Heart disease is the second leading cause of death for meth users
  • Fatigue, violent behaviour, having seizures and breathing abnormalities are all also after-effects of prolonged Crystal Meth abuse.

Seek faith-based rehabilitation

If you as a spouse, family member or friend recognise these symptoms and effects of Crystal Meth abuse, do not hesitate to contact us for advice on how to proceed.

Ultimately the drug abuser needs to want to help themselves, but we can assist wherever possible and once an abuser is admitted to our rehabilitation facilities at Transformation Life Centre (TLC) in Sandton, our Faith-based rehabilitation methods could bring permanent healing and change.

Most people who are experiencing drug or alcohol addiction problems are living in a spiritual void or lack a purpose in life. We focus on the root of these issues and the result is a meaningful, totally transformed and fulfilled life. Let us help you.

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