Understanding Meth Addiction Symptoms

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How can you tell if you’re addicted to meth? Or, how do you know if someone you love is addicted to it? There are tell-tale meth addiction symptoms and other physical signs that may forecast a dependency or show you there is one already present.

This is because addiction takes over the whole body. It can feel like it happens slowly, and then, suddenly all at once. You won’t go from using meth one time to automatically becoming addicted, but the span between the two often isn’t that far off. Meth is a drug that makes you feel euphoric, while you’re riding the high. Once you’ve experienced this, it’s hard to pass up the chance to feel it again. Experience it enough and the choice to use or not is taken from you.

In the beginning, you are the one deciding. But over time, as the addiction takes over your mind and body, you have less control over the decision making. Your body will begin to react differently. Your behavior may become unrecognizable. Something you might have felt you had at least some hold over will suddenly take over every aspect of your life. Meth addiction isn’t a fun realization to come to grips with, but there is good news and hope around the corner. Addiction doesn’t have to define your life or who you are.

What to Expect from Meth Addiction

Much like other illegal substances, meth is a highly addictive drug. When you shift between dependency and addiction, you no longer want to have the drug, you have to have it or your body will suffer harsh reactions.

When you use meth for a long period of time, your body learns to adapt to it in a way, which leads to needing more of the drug to receive the same kind of pleasurable high as before. This means that it will take more doses at a faster rate to reach the level you might be after, which is the primary cause of overdose.

An overdose can result in heart problems, seizures, coma, and even death. But it can be hard to consider what could potentially happen when you know what is sure to happen when you don’t feed your craving. No one wants to go through withdrawal symptoms, which is what happens if you suddenly stop taking meth after your body has become used to functioning with it.

Withdrawal symptoms can include: fatigue, anxiety, deep depression, and psychosis. These symptoms are tough to face, especially when the “easy” solution is to continue to use. The pain and discomfort of these can lead to repeated use or a cycle of recovery and relapse. This is why going through withdrawal which the support of medical staff is so crucial. You do not have to go through withdrawal alone, help is available.

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How to Tell If You’re Addicted

When the symptoms are staring you in the face, you may have to admit to yourself that you are addicted. Addiction is a disease. But the disease can be treated. The following are a few, major symptoms that may signal an addiction to meth. Can you identify with any of these?

  • You pick at your skin due to the feeling of bugs on your body
    You have rotting teeth, often referred to as “meth mouth”
    You have experienced significant weight loss as a result of a suppressed appetite
    You suffer regular nosebleeds due to snorting the drug

If you suspect someone you know is using meth, look for these symptoms of meth addiction, but also be aware of the way they act around you. Are they suddenly secretive? Do they have an out-of-character surge of energy? Has their behavior drastically changed? These kind of signs should have you concerned. Any paraphernalia you might spot or discussions referencing meth or using its slang you might overhear are indicators that someone you know may have a problem with drugs.

If that person is a friend or family member, share your concerns with them. Although you may be scared or angry or worried about them, they may not see the problem. Try to approach the topic in a way where they don’t feel attacked or defensive. But keep in mind that if they are using, most likely they will deny it or lash out.

Asking still doesn’t hurt. And, offering a helping hand is even better. You may not be able to see them through their meth addiction treatment, but you can lead them to where they can receive the resources and help they need.

How Is Meth Used?

Meth comes in the form of a bitter, white powder or pill. Crystal meth, specifically, looks like glass-type, bluish-white rocks. It can be inhaled, swallowed, snorted or injected. Snorting meth is what can lead to bloody noses and problems with the nasal cavity.

Injection comes with its own set of risks as well, including blood-transmitted diseases like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Sharing needles or using dirty needles can cause toxicity in the blood, which could cause additional harm to your health and damage to your body.

Being in the presence of a meth lab is dangerous in and of itself. The mixture of toxic chemicals presents the chance for an explosion. This not only puts you in harm’s way, but it also puts those in your house and your neighbors at risk as well.

Related – The Most Common Signs of Signs of Meth Use

Short-Term Side Effects of Meth

To know if you are someone you know is addicted to meth, look for the early signs. Some people might think if you’re addicted, you automatically realize it, which may not be the case. You may not be able to see as clearly or objectively at the situation for what it is. You may think you only use once in awhile, when in reality, you have developed a serious addiction.

Short-term effects to look out for that may lead to meth addiction symptoms include increased blood pressure, increased stimulation and physical activity, and a decreased appetite. These health effects on their own could be symptomatic of any number of ailments or diseases, but when added to other more long-term, physical side effects or tracking of actual drug use, there’s no denying there’s dependency at the least, addiction at the worst, going on.

Also, keep in mind, these kind of side effects of meth don’t happen in the same manner or at the same rate for everyone. You may not feel them as harshly in the beginning, but over a longer stretch of time, they may become more and more apparent. If you already struggle with high blood pressure or other health conditions, this will only add to the stress on your body. Just because you don’t feel like the drug is affecting you, it is.

If you are using for the first time, your body may not react the same as someone else who’s been using for months. There’s no way to predict how the body will react. Think of how different people’s metabolisms are; how some run faster than others. It’s often similar for how drugs are processed. Some may have them clear through their system faster than others. You may have a stronger reaction than others. There are a variety of factors that can come into play.

Your age, weight, general health, and history with drug use are all factors. The amount you use and how often you use it also will determine how your body processes and reacts to the drug. You shouldn’t compare one experience for the next. Because even if you did not experience any harsh reactions the first time you used meth, it doesn’t mean that will be the same for the second or third time. Every time you use it, your body is at risk.

Long-Term Side Effects of Meth

If you use meth on a long-term basis, you will likely become dependent on the drug. It will change the way you think, act, and behave. It will also change your outward appearance as well. Long-term health effects include skin lesions caused by constant scratching, rotted teeth and other dental problems, paranoia and, in some cases, violent behavior.

By injecting meth with needles, you also make yourself susceptible to blood-related diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Sharing needles or using dirty needles increases the likelihood of transmitting the disease.

Also, the more you use, the increased likelihood of a stroke or heart attack. Any meth addiction symptoms and signs are severe, to say the least. But they can be overcome. An addiction doesn’t occur overnight and neither will recovery, but there are steps you can take now to become healthy and create a more positive outlook for your future sans drugs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Meth Addiction

In addition to the side effects and symptoms of meth addiction, there are several frequently asked questions about what meth is, how it’s produced, and how intensely it affects the brain. Learning more about the drug and addiction as a disease can help you learn how it negatively affects you and show you reasons to dedicate yourself to achieving sobriety.

How is Meth Made?

Meth labs can be made in nearly any area with everyday ingredients bought at the grocery store or drugstore. Typically, meth labs are started in a basement, old toolshed, or any place where chemicals can be hidden and manufactured.

You can create meth with ingredients found in cold medicine, such as pseudoephedrine. That is why there’s a restriction on certain products where you must either show an ID and/or will be limited to how much you can buy. By “cooking meth,” you are susceptible to chemical burns, poisoning, and the whole batch quite literally blowing up in your face.

Can I Overdose on Meth?

Yes. When you take too much of any drug too fast, you are at risk for an overdose. This reaction can cause heart problems and can affect other organs of the body, including kidney failure. It can cause damage to your brain and the rest of your body may suffer as a result.

Time to Seek Help

Deciding to become sober is a life-changing choice. It can be a difficult one because of your battle with addiction, but also because you’ve become accustomed to that lifestyle. Although it’s not healthy for you, the addiction is a constant in your life. The sudden removal of it can be a shock. However, even with the challenges you might face during detox and rehabilitation, it’s worth it for the sake of your health.

There may be roadblocks. You may have setbacks. But it’s not anything you can’t overcome. We recommend you seek treatment at a professional facility. You’ll be part of a safe and secure environment. There will be medical professionals and support staff available for you around-the-clock. Plus, you shouldn’t have to face the hardship of going through the process alone.

With the help of others, you have a better chance of success with sobriety on a long-term basis. You have people to hold you accountable and those same people will be by your side to help you battle through the tougher times.

The longer you choose to use meth, the more lasting damage it does to your body. It can take months or even years for your body to resume back to its normal state pre-drug use. In some cases, it may never be quite back to the same and you may have symptoms that occur even after you’ve become sober.

This isn’t to be disheartening, but rather to encourage anyone who is thinking about quitting, who wants to become sober, to start today. The path to recovery can be difficult, but there are people ready to stick by your side.

Choose a treatment center with a meth addiction treatment program that will contribute most positively to your health. Is it an inpatient facility where you can concentrate solely on the steps it will take to help you rid your addiction and start a new life? Maybe it’s an outpatient facility that has the same medical support and counseling staff you need, but also the flexibility to let you remain at home.

Discuss your options and select a path that will work for you. You deserve the opportunity to get healthy, become drug-free, and find peace and happiness in your sobriety.

If you are concerned for a loved one keep an eye out for these commons sign of meth use and be informed and ready to offer support.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Addiction Science. July 29,  2015, Accessed Feb. 23, 2016.
  2. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Methamphetamine.  Nov. 7, 2018, Accessed Feb. 15, 2016.
  3. Addiction Center. Meth Withdrawal and Detox. Accessed March 4, 2016.
  4. NCBI. Withdrawal Symptoms in Abstinent Methamphetamine-Dependent Subjects. Accessed Feb. 7, 2016.
  5. NCBI. The Need for Speed: an Update on Methamphetamine Addiction. Accessed Feb.19, 2016.
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