methamphetamine crystals

What are the Signs of Meth Use?

woman suffering from meth side effects

Meth is an extremely addictive and powerful drug that wreaks havoc on people’s lives. Yet still, half a million Americans use meth every single week.1 If you think a friend or loved one may be using meth, you are right to be concerned. Understanding the dangers of this drug and knowing the signs of meth use may be the first step to getting your loved one the help they need.

About Meth Use and Addiction

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant drug that delivers a powerful high. A person can quickly become addicted after just a few uses and may also develop other substance use problems with alcohol or other drugs. The physical and psychological effects of meth use can be severely damaging, leaving many people to wonder why their friends or loved ones choose to use it anyway. Drug addiction is a complex disease and people may initially use meth for several different reasons, such as:

  • To lose weight
  • To fit in with friends
  • To feel good and get high
  • To enhance a partying experience

Although it is usually used as a powder or pill, meth can also be illegally manufactured in a crystal form, called crystal meth. Crystal meth looks like fragments of glass and is an altered version of the prescription drug form of meth, Desoxyn.2 Meth users typically smoke, snort, or inject meth. Depending on the user’s method, the euphoric high can last up to 12 hours. This makes meth an ideal drug for many users. As a person continues to use meth, they will need more and more over time to achieve their desired effects. This is called tolerance and it’s a warning sign of physical dependence and addiction.

What are the Signs of Meth Use?

Learning the signs of meth use early on can help you recognize the problem and get help for a loved one or friend before it’s too late. Unfortunately, recognizing when someone is high on drugs isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Here are some of the most common signs of meth use to watch for.

What are the  Physical Signs of Meth Use?
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Thinning hair
  • Skin sores, scratches, and/or rashes
  • Rotting teeth
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Long sleeves in hot weather
  • Injection marks on arms (also known as “track marks”)3
What are the Behavioral Signs of Meth Use?
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Going several hours or days without eating
  • Insomnia
  • Twitching
  • Picking at skin
  • Pulling on hair
  • Talking very fast
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Borrowing money frequently
  • Selling possessions or stealing valuable items
  • Violent behavior3
What are Meth Paraphernalia?
  • Glass pipes
  • Aluminum foil or cans
  • Single razor blades
  • Spoons with burn marks on the bottom
  • Empty pen casings
  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Homemade tourniquets
  • Small, self-fastening baggies
  • Small triangular baggies fastened with twist ties
  • Short straws4
What are Evidence of a Meth Lab?
  • A strange chemical smell
  • Aluminum foil or sheets over the windows
  • A large number of cold medication packages or containers
  • Glassware fitted with hoses, clamps, or duct tape
  • Gas cylinders or tanks that may contain anhydrous ammonia
  • Rubber tubing
  • Dust or respiratory masks and filters
  • Funnels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Containers of multi-layered liquids5

Consequences of Meth Abuse

If a friend or loved one is using meth, family members are often the first to suffer the consequences. If the meth abuse continues, the drug abuser will likely begin having run-ins with the law and behave irrationally or violently, which could also lead to criminal consequences.6 Job loss, strained relationships, unplanned pregnancies, and financial problems are also very common, especially once the meth use has become compulsive and habitual. A person who regularly abuses meth will also suffer physically and may experience cognitive problems, increased heart rate and blood pressure, cardiovascular collapse, stroke, increased risk of HIV and hepatitis B and C, or even death. Severe psychological problems like paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, or homicidal thoughts may also occur.2

Help for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction can maintain a very tight grip a person and leave them feeling like there is no way out. However impossible it may seem, it is possible to overcome meth addiction with the right help. At Nova Recovery Center, we provide a full continuum of care to help addicted people not only get physically sober but also address the deep-seated issues that have contributed to their addiction. No one sets out to become an addict but you and your addicted loved one are not alone in your suffering. By addressing the root causes of meth addiction, we can help people make positive life changes that will have a lasting impact on the way they think, behave, and live out their lives. Call Nova Recovery Center today to learn more about our 90-day drug rehab program and continuum of care for addiction recovery.   References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1199019/
  2. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/methamphetamine
  3. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/crystal-meth-what-you-should_know#1
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/drug-paraphernalia-photo-gallery-4020396
  5. https://ncdoj.gov/getdoc/72a0bddf-2fec-45b2-97b5-449c7d89bdc6/2-0-1-1-3-2-Signs-of-a-Meth-Lab.aspx
  6. http://policelink.monster.com/training/articles/12184-recognizing-methamphetamine-use

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