Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use, Abuse, Addiction and Facts

What is Methamphetamine/Meth? How is it Ingested or Used?

man in recovery from meth

Meth Users are of All Ages

Methamphetamine, usually referred to as “meth” for short, is a highly addictive neurotoxic drug that acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system.

It’s often been called “the most dangerous drug on earth” due to its wide availability and ease of use (although recent years would seem to point at heroin as being more deserving of that title). The drug has done a lot of damage throughout urban, suburban, and (especially) rural America due to it’s addictiveness.

Methamphetamine usually comes in two forms, “crystal meth” and “powdered meth.” Both forms cause the same effects on the user. Crystal meth looks like clear (or shaded yellow or pink) crystals and  is usually snorted, injected or smoked. Powdered meth looks somewhat like sale (or with a yellowish tint) and can be smoked, eat, snorted, dissolved in a drink, or heated and injected.

Various forms of meth are known by their street names:

  • Ice
  • Crystal
  • Crystal meth
  • Speed
  • Tweak
  • Tina

What are the Symptoms of Meth Use/Abuse?

The symptoms of methamphetamine use will vary slightly depending on the users. Both forms of methamphetamines mentioned above give users a false sense of well-being and happiness as well as increased feelings of energy and confidence. The high lasts six to eight hours, but can be sustained for upwards of twelve hours.

Meth users will often talk in a stream of words, similar to a run-on sentence.  Users will have dilated pupils. They may be impulsive and sweat a lot. A person on meth may visibly and involuntarily grind their teeth while they’re high. A person on methamphetamine may stay awake for days at a time and lose weight rapidly without explanation. They may focus on a task in an obsessive manner, such as scrubbing a countertop over and over again, long after it has been scrubbed clean.

As with almost all drugs, we think the most ever present symptom of abuse of the behavior of the user when they cannot obtain or ingest the drug. If your loved one seems irritable after spending a long time with you and tries to avoid activities where they will be monitored for extended  periods, there may be a problem. All to often, these clues are overlooked (or attributed to other causes).

What Are the Long-Term Effects and Dangers of Methamphetamine Usage?

A person who has used meth for a long period of time will be likely be socially isolated and often have created a new social circle of others who abuse the drug. The drug will cause them to take risks and participate in risky behaviors. They may have a heightened sense of anxiety, disorganized thoughts, and even suffer from hallucinations and paranoia. Some long-term users have a sensation of bugs crawling under their skin and pick at their skin incessantly.

In addition to these symptoms, crystal meth creates severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies that cause a myriad of health problems. Usage can cause inflammation around the heart, and skin problems such as inflammation and infections. It also takes a toll on a user’s mental health, with many users experiencing dramatic mood swings. Many long-term methamphetamine users go from elation to feelings of deep depression, suicidal and sometimes even homicidal thoughts, especially when “coming down” from days of binging on the drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Addiction

The top symptom of meth addiction is an inability to quit and an increased focus on getting and using the drug. Chronic methamphetamine abusers may have trouble feeling any pleasure other than that provided by the drug. They also experience withdrawal when they cease taking the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug.

A methamphetamine user may easily lose track of time and stay awake for multiple days. A person addicted to methamphetamine may lose jobs and damage family relations. They may steal or commit crimes to support their habit. They may experience increased financial and legal troubles due to their addiction. A person who has been using meth for a long period of time will suffer from many ill effects, including increased paranoia and sometimes-even delusions. Many methamphetamine users lose weight rapidly –  especially around their face. A meth user may have a skin breakout that looks similar to acne, but the user will make it worse by picking at the blemishes and their skin for no apparent reason.

Tooth decay is another common symptom of crystal meth addiction. By the time a user has been consuming the drug for several months or years, they will experience severe calcium and vitamin deficiencies. This is in addition to bruxism, the tooth grinding that meth users experience while on the drug. Many people addicted to methamphetamine lose teeth because of this; a phenomenon that is sometimes unkindly called “meth mouth” by medical professionals.

Methamphetamine addicts may also exhibit anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior due to their drug use. They also may display a number of psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. Psychotic symptoms sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit using methamphetamine.

The long term effects of amphetamine abuse can be shocking. Teeth can fall out and someones looks and behavior can detiorate rapidly. There is a well known website in the treatment industry called “faces of meth” (warning: disturbing images) which is an educational portal that shows the “before and after”  of meth abuse.

Getting Help for a Methamphetamine Problem

Meth abuse and addiction can take their toll on a user. The psychological, physical, and spiritual pain associated with methamphetamine addiction is very real. But so is the peace that people find recovery!

Many meth users have been able to reclaim their lives and find hope in recovery. Because methamphetamine addiction is so insidious, it’s recommended that a user detoxes under medical supervision and seek out the help of qualified recovery professionals.

We can help you or your loved one take the first step to getting clean. All calls are 100% confidential. Get in touch today by calling the number above.