Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that has many street names, including crystal meth and ice. It’s often trafficked illegally in the United States but can also be legally prescribed by doctors to treat ADHD if needed.
Symptoms and Warning Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse
Changes in appearance, behavior, and mood are some of the telltale signs that someone is on meth.
If you suspect someone is abusing this drug, look for some of the 7 signs of meth use below:
1. Behavioral Signs and Changes
One sign of meth use can be behavioral change. Meth addiction is often characterized by the fact that even though users may initially take care to try and hide their drug use, it’s common for them to stop being as concerned about what other people think once they’ve become addicted.
If your loved one has been using meth regularly, they may begin exhibiting some behaviors such as the following:
- pulling away from family and friends
- loss of interest in activities
- engaging in risky behaviors
When someone starts taking meth, it can start to consume their life. Neglecting relationships with friends and family as well as obligations is one of the most important behavioral signs of meth addiction.
2. Mood Swings
Unusual mood changes are often a sign of methamphetamine abuse. These changes in mood typically change quickly and can be drastic. These changes may include:
Fearful or anxious behavior, as well as unexplainable mood swings, might be a sign that somebody you love is addicted to meth. As the addiction worsens, so will their mood.
3. Changes in Physical Appearance
Another sign of meth use is often an increase in appetite or weight gain. This may seem like a good thing at first because your loved one has been craving food all day long, but if they are not eating healthy foods, then there is something else going on. If you notice any sudden change in body shape, hair growth patterns, skin texture, or facial features, speak with them about what might be happening.
Physical signs of methamphetamine use may include:
- facial acne or skin sores
- intense scratching
- dilated pupils
- rotting teeth (meth mouth)
- weight loss from loss of appetite
- sagging or premature aging of facial skin
The more severe the physical symptoms of meth abuse, the more likely the person has a serious problem.
Known as “tweaking,” individuals using meth may experience insomnia for up to 15 days. It typically occurs during a binge when they continue using meth to chase the initial high. Someone who is tweaking may speak in a rapid speech pattern and walk in an unsteady manner. People who are tweaking, may be prone to criminal and/or violent behavior.
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5. Crashing from Meth
Another sign someone is using meth is the “crash” phase. After a long period of time spent on meth, the body starts to crash and collapse from constant stimulation. It usually ends with lengthy periods of sleep where they are unable to function properly for days at a time. This is an outward sign that has been noted by those around them as one way in which people can identify someone who abuses this drug.
A person who uses crystal meth for a long time will experience withdrawal symptoms, which include very intense cravings. Along with these desires to use again is anxiety and fatigue as well headaches and depression.
6. Identifying Meth Paraphernalia
The term paraphernalia commonly refers to the items people use to take drugs. They can be anything from a pipe, rolling papers, or an orange juice container with a straw in it that is cut down one side and folded over so you can drink through. Meth can be injected, snorted, or smoked, and all these methods require some form of equipment. There are three main ways that meth is ingested: intravenously (into a vein) using needles; nasally by sniffing it through the nose with straws commonly called “snoots” which have been dipped into a liquid crystal meth solution also known as shabu).
Common meth paraphernalia includes:
- spoons (with burn marks on the bottom from heating)
- glass or metal pipes
- aluminum foil strips
- hollowed-out pens
- drinking straws
- small, plastic baggies
7. Neglecting Responsibilities and other areas of their life
Meth addiction is so powerful that people often stop caring about anything else in the world. They prioritize meth over their job, relationships, and responsibilities to others as a result of this drug’s grip on them. Methamphetamine is one of the cheaper illicit drugs, but that doesn’t stop people from spending all their money on it. An individual with meth addiction may constantly need to borrow money from family members, friends, or acquaintances. They might have a job but they’ll often spend their paycheck on the drug and then come asking for more cash when it’s all gone.
If your loved one stops going to school, risks losing their job, or struggling financially, this may be another sign that they have a problem. Getting them into a residential treatment facility like Riverside Recovery of Tampa could help save their life.
What Should You Do If Someone Shows Signs of Meth Use?
For many people, methamphetamine is a drug that can quickly consume their life and lead to a variety of negative consequences. If you know the early signs of meth use though, you might be able to intervene sooner rather than later and save someone’s life who needs it most.
While we know it’s difficult to see someone you love struggle with methamphetamine abuse, there are many resources available. At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, we know first hand about the struggles of addiction. 75% of our staff is in recovery. We offer a full continuum of care, under one roof. From medically supervised detox, inpatient treatment, and intensive outpatient programs, we are here to help you and your loved one overcome addiction.
To learn more about treatment options for meth abuse and addiction, contact our admissions team today.