There are several telling signs of meth use, which can be detected by your actions, reactions, and overall appearance. For long-time meth users, it’s usually more obvious than if you’re new to using the drug. Methamphetamine is a serious drug that’s not only harmful to you, but to those around you, especially if you’re manufacturing it and/or using it in your home.
If you’ve used meth, then you know how strong its effect can be. Even when taken in small doses, it automatically causes the body to “perk up.” But along with these heightened feelings, there are plenty of physical meth use signs that are harmful to your health and well being. It’s important to be aware of meth addiction symptoms if you are concerned a loved one may be a meth user.
Methamphetamine can contribute to an increased or irregular heartbeat. It can make your blood pressure skyrocket, and can even lead to convulsions, especially, if you’ve suffered an overdose. When you think of what goes into making meth, it’s no wonder that it has the negative effects it does on the body. Many of the ingredients are labeled toxic or not for ingesting. So, why would anyone consider taking meth to begin with if the dangers are so great? Also, other signs of methamphetamine abuse include a sudden loss of interest in important parts of your life like relationships, career goals and hobbies to name a few, all get neglected to meth.
As someone who has used meth or been around someone who’s used, you know all too well how great the high can feel and how easy it is to get addicted to the feeling. The rush of euphoria seems well worth it when compared to the risk. But once the drug has a hold on you, it’s not up to if you want it or not; an addiction means you have to have it. It takes over your decision making. Other signs of crystal meth use in a meth addict may include:
- Lack of appetite
- Increased wakefulness
- More alert attention span
- Less fatigue
- Heartbeat irregularity
The euphoria that comes from meth use is hard to match up against the risks you face when using it. After all, not everyone is affected in the same way. And, you may not even feel all of the crystal meth symptoms mentioned. However, there’s no about doubt it; the longer you use, the more the likelihood of irreversible damage to your body. This is why breaking your cycle of addiction is so important. It won’t happen overnight but recovery is possible.
Long-Term Effects of Meth
In the short-term, meth has a big affect on your heart’s functioning. But it also changes the actual makeup of your brain the longer you use it. If you’ve become dependent or addicted to the drug, you run the risk of developing a tolerance. This means it will take more of the drug to give you the same euphoric feelings as before. Therefore, you’re liable to take more in less amount of time, making your chances of overdose higher.
But the thing is: once you’re addicted, it becomes even more difficult to get pleasure from anything else besides meth. This can lead to harsh withdrawal symptoms when you go without. This is how the cycle continues, one that can be broken with treatment.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with meth use include:’
- Mood disruptions
- Violent behavior
- Hallucinations and other psychotic episodes
These serious meth side effects aren’t anything anyone wants to (or should have to) go through. These symptoms can last for months or even years after you’ve quit using meth. It’s at this point the drug has taken over your brain and how you act, feel, and function. It also effects your mental health. These aren’t risks that can possibly happen; they’re probable. It can affect the way you are at home, at work, and in the presence of your friends and family. You pose a danger to yourself and others, which is all the more reason why to seek out treatment.
There are also physical signs of meth use to be aware of. These may include tooth decay, tooth loss, weight loss, and lesions of the skin. Since meth makes you lose your appetite, it can lead to improper nutrition and lack of attention to dental hygiene. It can also cause you to grind your teeth and/or pick at your skin. Over time, if you use frequently enough, it will be obvious just by looking at you that you are addicted to the drug. If you’re trying to hide your use, your physical appearance may give it away.
Both the short-term and long-term side effects are startling. Meth can take control of your life without you even realizing it. But there’s a bright side among all these facts. Don’t give up on yourself. There is treatment available to help you with your methamphetamine addiction.
There are medical professionals ready to help you ease through the withdrawal symptoms and into recovery to ensure your health is well taken care of. There are counselors and support staff who are willing to lend you the kind of emotional and psychological assistance you will need during this time. You don’t have to face the disease alone and you don’t have to feel like there is no hope to get better. There is hope and there is help.You don’t have to feel alone. Speak with a meth treatment specialist today.
How Is Meth Abused?
Like other drugs, meth can be used in several forms. It can be inhaled, injected, ingested, or smoked. Typically, smoking is the most popular way it’s used. This and injection allow the drug to enter the bloodstream automatically. It’s what causes the immediate rush of euphoria, which is why the method is used most often. Most likely, you’re after the high.
But you might also be familiar with snorting, which causes the high within five minutes of ingesting, still a relatively short period of time. Due to the short-lived duration it takes to get high and how long it lasts, it’s not uncommon to binge with several doses of meth at once. If this sounds familiar, do not be discouraged. Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. With the right support system in place recovery is within reach.Speak with a treatment specialist today if you need help with meth use.
How Meth Differs From Other Drugs
If you’re looking at the chemical makeup of methamphetamine, it’s structured similarly to amphetamine and dopamine, the brain chemical that creates pleasurable feelings in the body. But when compared to cocaine, meth is quite different and has side effects which aren’t commonly associated with cocaine use.
Cocaine is short-lived in the body. The high comes and goes quickly and it doesn’t take too long for it to be metabolized. Meth, on the other hand, remains in the body for a longer period of time with breaking down. Because of this, it stays in the brain longer and gives off more of the stimulant effects craved during use. Cocaine’s half-life is approximately one hour; meth’s half-life is an estimated 12 hours.
Meth is also made by mixing together different, non-illegal substances, while cocaine comes from the coca plant. Both are used sparingly for medical use, but the majority of use is for recreational purposes to get high. Also, as with any drug, there’s no telling for sure how your body is going to react to it. If you’ve experimented with other substances before, it doesn’t mean that you will have the same reaction to all of them.
Withdrawal Signs of Meth Use
Other signs of methamphetamine use may be noticeable in the withdrawal stage. If your body has become acclimated to using the drug, it can have a strong reaction to being without it. The first 24 hours are the most intense, but with time, the severity of the signs and symptoms of meth will slowly subside.
During the withdrawal period, it’s likely you’ll feel extra sleepy. It’s the crash after the high and you may even experience hypersomnia, where you’ll feel like sleeping at least 11 hours a day. During this stage, you may have vivid dreams and continue to feel lethargic overall.
Other signs of meth withdrawal are cravings. They are intense and can last several weeks. The challenge of battling cravings is one reason why it can be hard to quit meth use on your own. In theory, it may sound easily achievable, but when the physical pain and discomfort of the withdrawal period begins, it can quickly become difficult. We don’t recommend going through the withdrawal period alone, especially if you’d like to stop using meth for good. Allow those in position to support you to help you through this challenging time. You don’t have to do it alone.
Depression as a result of withdrawal is another sign of meth use. In the first few weeks without the drug, you may experience anxiety and/or symptoms of depression. Others may notice this dramatic shift in behavior. Typically, depression symptoms will subside after the first two weeks, but for some, they may continue for longer. You may also experience hallucinations or have delusions, two side effects which can also affect you when high on meth. The signs appear no matter what stage of meth use you’re in.Speak with a meth treatment specialist today.
Signs of an Active Meth Lab
The Department of Justice has outlined common characteristics of meth labs. If you suspect someone you know is taking part in a meth production, watch out for these signs:
Unusual, chemical odors
Frequent visitors throughout the day
Secretive activity and private, blocked areas of the outside of the house
As mentioned before, there is a possibility of an explosion, which can affect those in direct proximity of a meth lab home. As of 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported over 9,000 meth lab incidents across the nation. Fortunately, these numbers have been decreasing over the past five years, but meth use is still considered an epidemic affecting the U.S.
Being near a meth lab is a danger even if you don’t use the drug. Due to the toxicity of the drug, if you consume anything that’s been contaminated by chemicals or meth, you’re at risk. You could become subject to fatal poisoning, chemical burns, organ damage, or damage to neurological functioning, all by unknowingly ingesting any part of the ingredients that make up a meth lab. This makes it especially harmful to children who may not realize they have stumbled upon toxic materials and products.
After all, ingredients used to supply a meth lab may look like your everyday household items, which is why the need for restriction on certain products being sold in high quantities.
Where to Seek Treatment
Withdrawing from meth can be just as difficult as going through any other kind of substance abuse withdrawal. When drugs become such a big part of your life, it can be difficult to quit. It’s never as easy as just wanting to be sober. We understand the power addiction has over you and want you to feel like there’s a chance for a healthier future.
There’s no way around it; meth can cause damage to your mind, body, and spirit. But treatment can help you heal. There are several options available to you, since recovery isn’t a cookie cutter plan. Maybe you prefer to detox and receive treatment at an inpatient facility where you can temporarily be removed from the rest of the world. The benefit of this is the chance to disconnect from all the stresses of your current life and focus on healing without distraction.
You won’t have to confront temptation day in and day out, while you’re trying to recover. You’ll learn methods to help combat these temptations and cravings with time, but in the beginning, it’s important to focus on yourself.
However, you may feel like inpatient care isn’t for you. And that you’d find better success by going through an outpatient program. This is beneficial if you have supportive family and friends in your life that you will rely on to help you get through the process of recovery and hold you accountable for showing up and going through the different stages.
While the decision to get sober is completely up to you, it’s always nice to have the support of others in a comprehensive meth addiction treatment program. Whether you decide to pursue inpatient or outpatient care, you will have access to around-the-clock help to face any challenges or setbacks with others. All you need to do is take the first step and see what kind of opportunities you have for a healthier future. You deserve a chance to explore what’s possible. If you notice the signs of meth addiction in a loved one to to a treatment specialist.
- PBS. Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed February 14, 2016.
- Australian Government Department of Health. 6. Specific Types of Methamphetamine Users and Behavioural Contexts. Accessed February 3, 2016.
- NCBI. Withdrawal Symptoms in Abstinent Methamphetamine-Dependent Subjects. Accessed March 6, 2016.
Board of Occupational Therapy. Recognizing the Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms. Accessed March 9, 2016.
- Macquarie Street. State Library of NSW, Ice, Speed & Other Methamphetamines. October 20, 2017, Accessed March 15, 2016.