The Difference between Methamphetamine (Meth) and Crystal Meth (Ice)

Methamphetamine, or meth, a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug is known for its euphoric effects and the energy it triggers in users. Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a pleasurable sense of well-being or euphoria. However, methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that, in comparable doses, with methamphetamine much greater amounts of the drug get into the brain thus making it a more potent stimulant. It also has longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system.

These characteristics make methamphetamine a drug with high potential for widespread misuse. Though intended for medical purposes, it is used recreationally by many for its euphoric effects and long-lasting highs, which stimulates users for up to 12 hours. Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, comes in a number of forms including pills and an odorless powder that can be snorted or dissolved in liquid. As a fast-acting drug with more than double the potency of cocaine, a quality that dangerously increases the likelihood of addiction and overdose, meth is usually cut with other additives and substances to increase product sales.

Crystal meth is one form of the drug methamphetamine. Also known as Ice, this drug is a distilled form of meth and is more potent than meth. It is in the shape of crystals or ice pieces. Rather than being snorted, crystal meth is commonly smoked which gives an amplified version of euphoria to users. This version can also be injected as the “ice” turns to liquid once heated. Because it is purer than regular meth, ice is more addictive and creates an extended high that can last up to 24 hours after use.

Using methamphetamine in any form can result in a number of harmful side effects and health risks. Some of the most common symptoms of meth abuse include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety
  • Teeth grinding
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Meth sores
  • Meth mouth
  • Kidney failure
  • Bacterial infections
  • Malnutrition
  • Overdose
  • Death

Getting Help for Meth Addiction

Individuals who abuse meth will experience a “crash” period after they stop using the drug, which can last a few days; however, addicted or dependent users will experience methamphetamine withdrawal which can last up to several weeks. The symptoms of meth withdrawal vary from person to person and the severity of the side effects depends on a number of factors such as the length of time the individual used meth, the amount of meth used, the frequency of use, and whether he or she engaged in polydrug use. Additionally, other factors such as the method used to consume the drug (s), can affect withdrawal. Those who inject meth will typically experience a longer, more intense withdrawal process than those who don’t.

Withdrawal symptoms of meth are debilitating and painful which causes the user to take more of the drug to avoid the unpleasant symptoms, therefore, perpetuating the cycle of addiction. In most cases, and specifically in the case of methamphetamine, detox should be done under medical supervision which can provide relief to lessen withdrawal symptoms while removing meth from the body. Once detox is complete, recovering individuals can seek counseling and other treatment and learn to maintain long-term sobriety.

Florida Center For Recovery, a drug and alcohol rehab facility established in 2002, offers on-site medical detox under the experienced professional medical staff who provide care to make detox as comfortable as possible.

If you or someone you know is addicted to meth, medical treatment is available. To learn more about how treatment can help you or someone you love to manage their addiction to meth or other drugs, please contact us at (800) 851-3291 or click on the link below to send us an e-mail.

Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment