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Signs Of Crystal Meth Use In Teens and Treatment Options


crystal meth

Methamphetamine, also referred to as meth, is an extremely potent, central nervous system stimulant. It is a highly addictive neuro-toxic, synthetic chemical. Meth is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is defined as a drug “with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Meth is available in two forms: a crystalline form or in a powdered form. “Crystal Meth” is the name used when referring to the crystalline form of methamphetamine. It comes in clear crystal chunks or shiny blue-white rocks. This form is usually melted and then smoked out of a glass pipe. The way meth works is by acting on certain neurotransmitters; it simultaneously increasing one’s dopamine levels while decreasing one’s serotonin levels. The presence of methamphetamines in one’s system creates a surge of dopamine in one’s brain, which produces a feeling of excess pleasure; this is described as the rush of euphoria that is experienced by crystal meth users. The effects of methamphetamine use usually subsides within six to eight hours after ingestion but can last up to twenty-four hours. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms that could be exhibited by a teenager abusing crystal meth. A user could display any combination of the following examples, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Obsessive hair or skin picking
  • Dialed pupils
  • Facial tics
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Twitching
  • Constant talking
  • Constantly borrowing money
  • Stealing 
  • Staying awake for days or even weeks on end
  • Angry outbursts
  • Hallucinations

The half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of crystal meth is between 9-24 hours. Every teen is different and will exhibit a unique set of signs and symptoms when it comes to crystal meth abuse. Prolonged crystal meth abuse can exponentially increase a teenager’s risk of overdose. 

Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatment options available for a teenager struggling with crystal meth abuse. When a teenager habitually abuses crystal meth, his or her body will become accustomed to functioning with it present in its system, and to begin the treatment process it must be cleansed of the abused substance. This process is called detox. After a teen has successfully completed the detox process attending a formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program is recommended. High quality substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment programs provide its participants with tailored treatment plans. Depending on one’s needs, these treatment plans are made up of a wide variety of distinct therapeutic modalities, some of which could include any combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness-based therapy, creative arts therapies, and more. Any teenager that successfully completes a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program will leave with an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan is a co creation between the teen and his or her clinical treatment team that is developed during treatment. It is personalized document that acts as a resource with which to refer after one’s treatment program is completed that is filled with suggestions and guidance to help with continued sober success. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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