Signs Someone is on Meth
Meth is a potent form of stimulant drug that causes users to feel euphoria and hyperactivity. However, it is a dangerous drug that can cause both physical and mental health problems as well as lead to relationship breakdowns. Methamphetamine abuse can destroy a person’s life so it is important to know the signs of meth use so that you can help someone you love if they are suffering.
This article will help you in understanding meth addiction. Learn how to recognize both psychological and physical signs of meth use so that you can help your loved one to accept they have a problem with meth and get support.
What is Crystal Meth?
Meth, also known as methamphetamine, is a synthetic compound that is usually made by mixing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with other chemicals. Both compounds are found in over-the-counter medications. This makes meth a comparatively easy drug to make which is why it is often made in a home meth lab.
Meth acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing the release of dopamine and adrenaline which act in parts of the brain involved in reward, learning, and motor function. This means that it causes euphoric feelings in high doses, but it also increases attention in lower doses. Meth was developed in the early 20th Century and was used during the Second World War to keep soldiers alert. In the 1950’s it started to be prescribed to treat severe attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
Meth is typically found in two forms: meth and crystal meth. Meth is a powder that is usually white but can be yellow or brown depending on impurities. Crystal meth is usually a clear or blue coarse crystal. These forms are chemically the same, they only differ in their appearance. It is also possible to find meth as a pill, but this is far less common.
Meth can be cut with prescription medications such as antidepressants and opioids which can cause dangerous interactions. It is also sometimes cut with fentanyl which is a very potent opioid with the potential for causing overdoses after taking just two milligrams.
Meth Abuse and Addiction
In the 1970’s it was recognized that could easily lead to dependency and addiction and it was classed as a Schedule II stimulant. Psychological dependency can develop quickly particularly if you inject it as this leads to the high starting quicker and being more intense. Dependence occurs because your brain is good at adjusting to situations so that it can maintain balance. When you take drugs your brain makes chemical changes to adjust. This means that when you stop taking meth you disrupt the new balance and experience withdrawal symptoms.
Methamphetamine addiction often follows dependency. Addiction is a disease that causes you to lose control over your substance use. It can be very difficult to quit without support once dependence and addiction have developed. This is partly because your brain feels that you need it to function normally. You are more likely to develop an addiction if you have particular risk factors. These include underlying mental health disorders, genetics, exposure to other drugs, and previous substance abuse problems. Whatever situation you are in, however, long you have been taking meth, there are addiction treatment programs that can help you recover.
Signs of Meth Use
It is useful to understand the signs of meth use if you suspect that a loved one is using it. They may experience both mental and physical symptoms including:
- High blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Damage to skin, mouth, teeth, and gums
- Tremors and twitching such as facial tics
- Increased libido
- Anxiety and depression
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory loss
- Intense mood swings including aggression
Meth use can lead to severe damage to your mouth including tooth decay and gum disease. This is known as meth mouth and is characterized by stained, black, crumbling, and rotting teeth. It can occur due to a lack of dental hygiene and grinding and clenching of teeth.
Using meth causes your skin to feel dry and uncomfortable. You may scratch it enough to develop sores. Some people hallucinate that their dry and uncomfortable skin is due to insects crawling on or under it.
Increased Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections
Meth use increases your libido and risk-taking behaviors. This means that you are more likely to have more sex and take risks such as not using protection. It is therefore more likely that people who use meth contract diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
Tweaking can occur when you go on a meth binge. A drug binge can last for days in which you do not sleep. Tweaking occurs due to lack of sleep and can look like psychosis. It can be dangerous causing you to hurt yourself and others.
Memory Loss and Trouble Creating Memories
As mentioned, meth use affects the release of dopamine which is involved in memory and learning. With continued use, you may start to experience memory loss and difficulties creating new memories and learning things.
Behavioral Signs of Meth Addiction
While there are physical signs of methamphetamine use, signs of addiction tend to be behavioral. Meth is a highly addictive drug that affects both a user’s brain and their body. Common signs of addiction include:
- Social withdrawal
- Obsession with getting the next dose
- Trying and not managing to quit
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Feeling like meth has taken over life
- Not meeting personal responsibilities
- Loss of control over meth use
- Neglect of personal hygiene and self-care
- The home smells of ammonia (a possible sign they are cooking meth)
Long-Term Effects of Meth
Chronic meth use can lead to even more severe mental and physical health problems. Long-term signs of meth use include:
- Extreme mood swings
- Memory loss
- Psychosis and depression
- Severe tooth decay
- Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
- Liver and kidney damage
- Lung disease
- Collapsed blood vessels (from injecting)
- Chronic nosebleeds (from snorting)
While you may feel like it is too late to live a healthy life once it has gotten to this point, it is never too late to seek treatment for meth addiction. While treatment may be more difficult, you always have the chance of recovery.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose
When you take meth there is always the chance of overdosing. Recognizing the signs of a meth overdose could help to save someone’s life. Signs include:
- Problems breathing
- Chest pain
- Intense stomach pain
- Changes in personality
- Loss of consciousness
If you see someone experiencing an overdose you should call 911 immediately so they can get the medical support they need. If possible, it is helpful to have information such as the person’s approximate age and weight, how much meth they took and in what way they administered it, and how long it had been since they took it.
Meth Addiction Treatment
The first step of substance abuse treatment is detoxing. This is when you experience symptoms of withdrawal that can be unpleasant. Withdrawal symptoms tend to last for seven to ten days depending on factors such as your physical and mental health as well as how heavily you have been using meth. It can be very difficult to detox alone and it is common to relapse if you do not have professional support. It is therefore recommended that you undergo detox in a treatment center.
Addiction recovery is a long process but worth the effort. After detox, you should receive ongoing treatment through therapy and support groups. Many find that twelve-step programs such as that offered by Ebb Tide, are very helpful in managing substance abuse. They can help you to understand the reasons you started taking crystal meth and work through these reasons so that you do not need to take drugs to cope with them. They also help you understand your triggers so that you can prevent relapsing. It is important to know that many people relapse at least once before they achieve long-term sobriety, so do not lose hope if this happens to you.
Contact Us Today
At Ebb Tide, we understand that recovery is different for everyone and offer addiction treatment tailored to your needs. Our drug detox program can help you recover from the effects of meth addiction while you receive holistic treatment that takes into account any other substance abuse or mental heal issues.
Our treatment options include:
- One-to-one therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy
- Physical activities such as gym workouts, yoga, swimming, and team sports
- Balanced and nutritious meals
- Group Therapy
If you or a loved one has a drug abuse problem please visit our website or call us at 561-931-4944. We look forward to welcoming you!