Drug and Alcohol

5 Signs of Meth Abuse

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What are 5 signs of meth abuse? Mood swings, "meth mouth," and aggressive behaviors are just some of them. Learn more in our blog.

Meth abuse is a rapidly-growing form of drug abuse

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports as many as 2 million American people have used methamphetamines. Among them, almost 1 million people are suffering from methamphetamine use disorder. Similarly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has also mentioned that according to their data, overdose rates from meth have quadrupled in the years between 2011 to 2017.

Most of the world has been jolted awake by abuse and addiction to various drug substances. Breaking all the geographical and other differentiating barriers, substance use and misuse has become one of the leading health problems the world and its governments are dealing with. Half of the American population above 12 has already used an illegal drug substance once in their lifetime. The complexity of this chronic health disorder is that it can happen to anyone. From teens and underage kids to older adults, addiction can afflict anyone.

On top of that, it is not easy to recover from a full-blown addiction. Ironically, it does not take much time for someone to get hooked on drugs, but when someone tries to escape the vicious cycle of abuse, they have to face many difficulties. Generally, many teen abuse cases start with simple experimentation and peer pressure. It does not take much time for this experiment to become an addiction. Although not every drug user is guaranteed to become an addict, they are still in a risky position. 

Nowadays, prescription medications and opioids are becoming a great threat. Looking at the statistics, 2.702 million Americans aged 12 or above can be qualified as having opioid use disorder. Hence, this article will discuss the use, abuse, and methamphetamine addiction. The increasing numbers and people affected tell us that not many people know the ill effects and how much this drug can damage someone's life.

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine is also known by various names such as meth, crystal, crystal meth, ice, and more. It is a potent stimulant whose abuse can even turn fatal. Like many other drugs that are used for medication, meth is also used to treat patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

It is also used in many other weight-loss treatments. Meth was first developed in 1919 in Japan from its parent drug, amphetamine. Meth is an addictive stimulant that directly affects the working of our central nervous system. Talking about the essential characteristic of meth, it is white and is a bitter-tasting, crystal-like powder that is odorless. It is easily soluble in water, so many people hazardously try to combine it with alcohol.

In the early years, meth was famously used in nasal decongestants and inhalers too. Like other stimulants like amphetamine, Methamphetamine also increases talkativeness, lowers inhibition, decreases the user's appetite, and gives them euphoria-like feelings. But this does not mean amphetamine and meth are the same. There are a few distinctions between the two, including that if we take the same doses for both of these; meth is more potent as more of this drug reaches the brain.

Similarly, with more amounts reaching the brain, this drug has a dangerous effect on our central nervous system. It is also more lasting than the parent drug. Hence, it is widely misused in America. Meth is classified under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II stimulant. This means it is legally available via prescriptions that cannot be refilled. Also, the chances of getting a prescription for meth are very less as even though it is sometimes used as a controlled medication; it is rarely ever prescribed to anyone. 

Different Forms of Meth

  • Powder: Meth in powder form is generally known as speed. It is a white or off-white colored powder and is considered the least potent form of all. This powder can be used when combined with other substances to increase potency, such as glucose. Speed can be made into pills and snorted, swallowed, or injected into the body. 

  • Crystal: Meth in crystal form is generally known as ice. It is a crystalline form of substance that is either white or translucent in appearance. It is usually smoked or injected into the body. The crystal form of meth is the most potent one of all.

  • Base: The base form of meth goes by terms such as paste, wax, and pure. It is more potent than meth in powder form but less than crystal. It is a sticky and oily substance in appearance and looks white, brown, or yellow. It is either swallowed or injected into the body. Most addicts use the latter method of injection. 

What Is Meth Abuse?

Meth is an addictive stimulant that can even cause the development of addiction after a single use. It does this by producing a high concentration of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that is responsible for feeling and perceiving things like pleasure, motivation, the rewarding process, learning, and memory retention.

Meth produces more dopamine than the natural amount, which gives people a heightened feeling. This is why people continue to seek that same pleasurable feeling through meth abuse

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5 Major Signs of Meth Abuse

From the above information, you must be able to grasp that meth is a hazardous drug that can have a severe impact on your health. But due to the subtle and complex makeup of meth, it can be difficult to decipher when misuse becomes a full-blown addiction. If you suspect that someone close to you might be dealing with meth addiction, there are various signs that help you guide further. Recognizing these signs is essential as they can save someone's life. To educate you about these signs, we have listed five crucial warning signs that someone might be in trouble with this drug.

Five Signs of Meth Abuse

#1: Physical Appearance

Physical appearance is one of the most notable and significant changes in a person who abuses meth. It is among the glaring give away whether someone abuses drugs or not. You will not only notice that they appear exhausted, tired, worn,  and have stopped maintaining their look but also a deterioration of teeth.

Meth abuse can lead to tooth decay; you can see the deterioration of gums and teeth. Their grooming will also take a blow, and you will notice them being less hygienic too. Also, there will be trace marks or sores on their body. Finally, their eyes will look red, swollen, and sometimes glassy. In some cases, people have noticed that meth abusers have massive hair fall and sudden weight loss. 

#2: Social Problems

Another telltale sign of abuse includes the deterioration in the areas they were once thriving. For instance, one may notice someone suddenly getting low grades or an employee failing to meet deadlines once the quick decision-maker struggles to meet even basic expectations, etc. Meth abuse can also lead to money-related problems. A person abusing meth is financial difficulty as they will be busy putting money into their stash.

#3: Mood Swings

Generally, in most drug abuse cases, close relatives and friends have witnessed a sudden change in mood. Extreme mood swings are another sign of meth abuse. This is especially more recognizable in the once cheery and optimistic personalities.

However, their enthusiastic personality will be taken over by meth abuse, and they will start behaving erratically. Their volatile mood can range from sudden outbursts, shouting matches, irritation, etc. The reason is that meth can make a person increasingly annoyed, paranoid, and anxious. 

#4: Behavior Issues

We talked about mood swings, but meth abusers can behave in a way that might be totally out of their character. For instance, a person with a lot of self-esteem and pride can end up begging, borrowing, or stealing from someone. The first priority of someone who is abusing Methamphetamine is the drug only. Due to this, there is a strong possibility that they would put everything else behind the need to get high. You will also notice they prefer isolation over mingling with friends and family. 

#5: "Tweaking"

Lastly, you will also notice something that is known as tweaking. This is a behavior that meth abusers will exhibit. When a person binges and consumes methamphetamine for a prolonged time, they will not be able to achieve the same desire of being high. Due to this, they might feel severe symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, irritation, insomnia, and more.

Long and Short-Term Symptoms of Meth Abuse

People also face short-term and long-term symptoms besides the initial warning signs of meth abuse. These symptoms can have mild to severe impacts on the user. Let's talk about both of them in detail.

Some main symptoms of meth abuse:

  • Short-Term Symptoms: These short-term symptoms of meth abuse include lesser appetite, faster heart rate, increased breathing, high body temperature and blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, and more. 

  • Long-Term Symptoms: These long-term symptoms of meth abuse include massive and sudden weight loss, some serious dental problems like tooth and gum decay, and constant itching that can leave scratches and skin sores. 

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Common Meth Abuse Side Effects

Similar to the signs and symptoms of meth abuse, various health hazards and side effects are associated with them. These side effects can be severe, and the long-term effects of meth abuse can negatively impact your health. So let's talk about them in detail.

Side effects of meth abuse and addiction:

Some immediate side effects include increased attention span, decreased fatigue, higher respiration rate, rapid heartbeat, hyperthermia, euphoria, lower diet, alertness, increased activities, etc.

There are a few long-term effects of meth abuse, including increased incoordination, paranoia, hallucinations, violent outburst, extreme mood swings, insomnia, confusion, memory loss, impaired verbal learning, weight loss, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, and others

Meth Abuse Treatment & Recovery

Meth abuse is a highly addictive drug that self-medication cannot treat. A person has to seek a drug rehab center to get comprehensive treatment. This treatment may not be easy for the patient, but a future with a drug-free life is a dream every addict would love to achieve. The treatments that are available for meth abuse are

  • Drug Detox

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

  • Contingency Management (CM)

  • Matrix Model

  • Aftercare recovery problems like support groups, group therapies, etc

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The Edge Treatment Center Provides Expert Care for Meth Abuse

Meth abuse is devastating ... and in the case of meth overdose, deadly. Don't risk a meth overdose or the other terrible outcomes of untreated meth addiction. If you're struggling with meth abuse, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

Our meth addiction treatment program starts with us matching you with a drug detox center. We maintain trusted relationships with many of the country's leading drug detox centers, and we'll find one perfect for your needs. When you enter the care of our outpatient drug rehab, we'll continue to build on your successes in recovery. At The Edge, you'll have every resource you need to build a life free from meth addiction.

Life with meth abuse isn't really a life. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today to leave meth abuse behind.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

March 11, 2023