Signs of Meth Use

If someone you knew was abusing crystal meth, would you know? Many people would say yes. While crystal meth is a powerful drug that does cause many people to exhibit clear signs of abuse – this isn’t always the case.

In fact, it’s not unheard of for many users to go years without parents, siblings, spouses, children, and other loved ones having a clue that they’re dependent on meth. As prevalent as the signs might be, meth also produces a high number of functioning addicts.

Crystal meth enhances a user’s production – for a while. They’re able to work, so maintaining a job continuously isn’t a problem. In addition, today’s meth is extremely potent and long-lasting, so it’s less detrimental to the budget of a user.

Someone who abuses crystal meth can easily maintain their habit by spending $50 weekly. This pales in comparison to the $50 per day of a drug like heroin or crack cocaine. If your goal is understanding meth addiction, learn more by reading this article until the end.

If you suspect that someone you loved was abusing this highly addictive drug, would you know what to look for? Understanding the signs of meth dependence is important if you want to help someone you love conquer their habit.

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Background On Crystal Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine, often known as “meth,” “crystal,” and “crystal meth,” is a synthetic stimulant that is extremely potent, extremely harmful, and extremely addictive. Despite its rapid addictive potential, meth may provide its users with a surge of energy, exhilaration, and boosted confidence. Dopamine, one of the brain’s ‘happy chemicals,’ is released when someone takes meth.

After a few hours of feeling high on meth, the user will inevitably sink emotionally and physically, known as the “comedown.” Due to the potency of meth and the unpleasantness of the drug’s comedown, users are often driven to repeatedly take the substance in order to sustain their high and stave off the inevitable crash. However, meth use is associated with serious health risks and even death if it is not stopped.

Meth Abuse: Why Is It So Intense?

Addiction may be triggered by a wide variety of chemicals, some of which are more powerful than others. Crystal meth is one of the most potent narcotics available today, and regular users often suffer from severe addiction. Perhaps you’ve wondered what makes crystal meth so addicting; the answer lies in the drug’s neurological effects.

The abuse potential of crystal meth, a synthetic central nervous system stimulant, is extremely high. It’s also known to perpetuate mental health disorders. Many people assume that crystal meth is a new substance – however, it’s been around just as long as other drugs like cocaine and heroin.

In 1919, a Japanese scientist created the first methamphetamine lab. It had the same stimulant effects as amphetamine but was considerably simpler to manufacture. During World War II, it was widely utilized by the German military to keep soldiers attentive for long periods of time.

In the 1950s, students, athletes, and truck drivers often took it as a stimulant and weight loss aid. Methamphetamine’s addictive properties were recognized in the 1970s, and the substance was eventually rendered illegal as a result of widespread usage.

However, criminal gangs have recently recognized the opportunity to generate substantial profits from producing the drug in massive quantities.  

What Is Meth Addiction Like for the User?

Meth Addict

Crystal meth can have an effect on the brain’s normal functioning, just like any other chemical that alters mood. Due to its potent effects, users may be tempted to take more of the substance in an attempt to re-experience the high.

Crystal meth users report a powerful surge of pleasure because of the abnormal production of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain. Crystal meth profoundly affects the brain region that is responsible for memory and emotion, leading the user to link the drug with positive feelings.

Signs of Meth Use: Self Awareness

With this newfound understanding of crystal meth’s addictive properties, you may be wondering what exactly it’s like to be dependent on this substance. There are warning indicators that you may have a problem with substance abuse.

Tolerance can develop for several reasons, including having to use more of the medicine to have the same effect as before. This may suggest that your current dosage is insufficient to provide the desired effects of the drug, so the only logical step is to increase your use.

You have probably acquired a physical reliance on the substance if you have attempted to stop several times and kept returning. When you really need a fix, you could even start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. When you take the drug, these side effects often vanish.

Preoccupation with the substance is another indicator of addiction. You probably have a problem if you give crystal meth the majority of your attention and energy. If your drug use is interfering with your daily life, you should seek help immediately.

Steps to Take for Meth Addiction Treatment

You can’t just ignore crystal meth abuse and assume it’ll go away. The smartest thing you can do right now if you’re worried about your drug usage and think you could be addicted is to get assistance.

Meth has severe short-term effects, even for users who haven’t engaged in use for a significant period. For instance, the initial effects of crystal meth use are often described as “a rush of great pleasure and a sense of wellness.” These sensations are what cause drug dependence, as users seek to sustain the high for as long as possible. However, it is not uncommon to have a significant crash or comedown when the drug’s effects wear off. Crystal meth can have the following immediate side effects:

  • High blood pressure
  • Raised core temperature
  • Heart palpitations
  • Inability to rest
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Delusions

Crystal meth usage can result in significant weight loss due to appetite suppression. Users are notoriously poor eaters and will also display meth mouth. They could also have trouble sleeping, which would make them more irritable. Aggression and violence may follow in the wake of this in certain people.

Crystal meth, as you can guess, may have devastating long-term effects. Because this substance abuse can cause people to stop eating, it can easily lead to malnutrition. Negative and perhaps permanent consequences on the heart are also possible. Long-term effects include:

  • Brain hemorrhaging due to damaged blood vessels
  • Greater danger of having a stroke
  • Liver issues
  • Renal dysfunction
  • Lung disorders
  • Deterioration of the Memory
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy

Dealing With the Consequences of Meth Addiction

Dealing With the Consequences of Meth Addiction

All of the foregoing negative impacts of crystal meth usage on health are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s the effects of crystal meth on the brain that are the reason why it is so addicting. The brain region that allows for sound judgment is compromised, making it impossible for users to appreciate just how harmful the drug is to them.

Most people who use crystal meth for the first time are making a conscious choice. That choice is “made” in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. However, long-term drug abuse has a wide-ranging impact; eventually, the choice to use the drug migrates to the region of the brain that controls basic survival functions.

Because of this, the brain of a crystal meth user is led to feel that continued drug use is necessary for survival. Therefore, there is no rational alternative to continuing drug use. They can’t stop using despite the devastating effects drug abuse has on their lives.

The use of crystal meth may wreak havoc on more than just the user’s body and mind; it can also have a profound effect on the user’s appearance. Relationships, for instance, will be significantly impacted by crystal meth usage.

Crystal meth addicts are known for their unpredictable and disorderly behavior. While under the influence of the drug, the user may exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity and euphoria, but as the drug wears off, the user may become irritable and agitated.

Some people will become hostile and violent, and their capacity to maintain positive connections with those close to them will inevitably suffer as a result of their erratic behavior.

The Rapid Progression of Meth Use

Dependence on crystal meth may be extremely distressing and rapidly progressive. When the drug’s effects are diminished, users frequently combine it with others, such as opiate medications and alcohol. Damage to the brain’s dopamine receptors is a common side effect of crystal meth usage, rendering users unable to feel the drug’s intoxicating effects. Attempts to get the “perfect high” can lead to polydrug usage, which carries its own set of potentially fatal risks.

Crystal meth addiction causes an ever-increasing craving for the substance, to the point that it can overtake the user’s life. They are completely preoccupied with the substance, much like any other severe dependence.

Now that we’ve gone over ways for a user to identify if they have a user let’s go over signs that someone on the outside looking in should be aware of. If you suspect someone you love is dependent on meth, you should be aware of the following behaviors.

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Identifying the Signs of Meth Use

If someone close to you is using meth, they’re likely to display any of the following mental and physical signs.

1. Obvious Physical Symptoms

Physical signs are often the first clue that they’ve been using meth. Methamphetamine has a reputation for producing rapid and dramatic changes in physical appearance. Outward manifestations of meth usage might include:

  • Teeth decay and gum inflammation (meth mouth)
  • Skin damage from meth use, such as cuts or sores
  • Emaciated look
  • Loss of hair volume or thickness
  • Lips and fingers with burns or black marks

2. Shifts In Behavior and Attitude

One’s conduct can be profoundly altered by drug usage, particularly if dependence has set in. Indicators based on someone’s behavior include:

  • Overly alert, constantly awake
  • Obvious decrease in appetite
  • Developing an affinity for lying
  • Stealing
  • Harmful or unpredictable behavior
  • Spending less time with family
  • Suddenly stopping their most cherished hobbies

Meth usage becomes all-consuming for the user over time. At some point, their entire existence will revolve around their drug use.

3. Beginning to Display Severe Mood Swings

An altered state of mind is another symptom of meth use. These alterations are frequently dramatic and can occur rapidly. Specifically, meth usage can cause mood swings like:

  • Sudden spurts of hyperactivity
  • Frequent irritability
  • Bouts of violent aggression
  • Random episodes of paranoia
  • Displaying signs of anxiety

Someone you care about may be abusing meth if you observe a change in their mental state or general disposition. In many cases, the user’s disposition worsens as their substance abuse worsens.

4. Constantly “Tweaking” from Meth Addiction

Tweaking from Meth Addiction

One of the most noticeable signs of meth addiction is “tweaking,” a drastic shift in mood that occurs when someone has chronic sleeplessness and/or anxiety for three days or more. When a person comes down from a meth high, they might tweak because they are still seeking that high. Over the course of several days, the person may not be able to sleep, leading to a slew of negative side effects like paranoia, anxiety, and irritability.

Tweaking also includes repeating the same behavior over and over. Users may start a task and constantly repeat one portion of it and never actually complete the entire process.

5. Finding Meth Paraphernalia

The use of methamphetamine is generally guaranteed by the presence of meth paraphernalia in the home. You’ll need various tools to inject, snort, or smoke meth. Look out for the following items:

  • Glass “bubble” pipes
  • Syringes
  • Rolled up money, ink tube removed, straws cut in half, etc.
  • Burnt foil or aluminum cans, light bulbs, etc.
  • Small Ziplock bags
  • Corners of bags

These items don’t need to be lying in visible areas. Look for them in the tops of trash cans or tucked on top of dressers or shelves.

6. Events Happening In Their Life

Paying close attention to the events occurring in a person’s life is another technique to detect meth use. Those who develop a dependency on meth will begin to put their usage of the drug ahead of everything else in their lives due to the substance’s powerful addictive properties. Therefore, they will have setbacks in other aspects of their lives. A meth user might:

  • Loss of gainful employment
  • Dropping out of school
  • General financial issues
  • Problems with your spouse
  • In trouble with the law

It’s important that you make a user feel comfortable with the idea of receiving addiction treatment. However, it’s important that you don’t force the idea on them, as this may push them further into substance abuse.

Immediate Placement for Meth Treatment

Find Long Term Recovery from Meth Use

Entering addiction treatment as fast as possible should be a number one priority. If someone you know is exhibiting these signs, you should calmly approach them to talk about it. Don’t belittle them or accuse them, but instead engage them from the point of concern.

Talk to them about potentially attending an addiction treatment facility like Emerald Isle Health and Recovery for methamphetamine abuse. At our facilities, we take a comprehensive approach to recovery and give each client a treatment plan 100% based on their unique needs and history.

We’ll work with them to craft a personalized treatment plan that works for them specifically, giving them the highest odds of achieving success. To find out how we can help you or a loved one on the road to recovery, contact a member of our admissions team today.