Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful drug. As a stimulant, it speeds up your central nervous system, causing a surge of energy and alertness. It can be snorted, smoked, injected, or cooked into smokeable rocks called crystal meth.
All forms of methamphetamine use pose serious health risks, including methamphetamine addiction. If you think someone you love might be using the drug, look for these 10 signs.
1. Sudden Shifts In Energy
One of the most common effects of meth is hyperactivity. This condition causes symptoms such as:
- extreme energy
- inability to sit still
- increased talkativeness
- euphoria (intense joy)
A period of meth-induced hyperactivity is usually called a “rush.” It’s often followed by a period of excessive sleepiness called a “crash.”
A crash typically occurs after meth leaves the person’s system. In addition to sleepiness, it may also cause depression, loss of motivation, and trouble concentrating.
2. Weight Loss & Malnutrition
Along with causing hyperactivity, meth can suppress appetite. Also, even when they do eat, people who abuse meth may struggle to prepare healthy, well-balanced meals. All of these side effects can cause drastic weight loss.
A person with meth-induced weight loss may also show signs of malnutrition. For example, they might frequently feel weak, sleepy, and cold. They may also get sick more frequently and take longer to recover.
3. Poor Hygiene
Methamphetamine abuse can quickly lead to addiction. When a person is addicted to meth, they often find it difficult to focus on anything besides getting and using the drug. As a result, they may start neglecting their personal hygiene.
They may then display physical symptoms of meth abuse, including:
- unwashed hair
- dirty clothes
- untrimmed nails
- bad breath
- body odor
4. Skin Sores
Meth can make you hallucinate, which means you see, hear, or feel things that aren’t really there. Many people who use meth hallucinate that bugs are crawling on or under their skin. This sensation is often called “meth mites.”
To get rid of the sensation, a person may scratch their skin excessively, leaving sores.
Depending on their severity, the sores may resemble dots, cuts, scars, scabs, or rashes. They can occur anywhere on the body. However, they most often appear on the arms and face. When left untreated, meth-induced sores can become severely infected.
5. Dental Problems
Meth can cause poor hygiene and eating habits. It can also cause dry mouth and teeth grinding. In addition, meth often contains acidic ingredients, such as lithium and sulfuric acid, that can weaken your teeth.
That’s why many people who use meth experience dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and stained, rotting, or missing teeth. Meth-induced dental problems are often described as “meth mouth.”
6. Poor Mental Health
Because meth affects your brain, it can cause mental health issues such as:
- mood swings
Some people who use meth also experience psychosis. Psychosis is a temporary loss of connection with reality. It usually involves hallucinations, delusions (beliefs that aren’t based in reality), paranoia (irrational distrust of others), and extreme anxiety.
A person experiencing psychosis may also have trouble communicating clearly. If your loved one is suddenly experiencing mental health concerns and has no history of mental illness, they could be abusing meth.
7. Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the most common signs of meth addiction is physical dependence. That means your body starts relying on meth to function properly. If you don’t use it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)
- intense cravings for meth
8. Loss Of Interest In Activities
Like other types of drug abuse, meth abuse overloads your brain with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) associated with pleasure and reward.
With continued meth use, your brain will stop producing dopamine during healthy activities, such as eating your favorite foods or spending time with friends and family members. You will then become less interested in those activities.
If your loved one is using meth, you may find meth paraphernalia in their home, car, or other personal spaces. The term meth paraphernalia refers to any items associated with meth use. For example, items associated with injecting meth include:
- shoelaces, rubber bands, or other objects that could act as tourniquets
Items associated with snorting meth include:
- hollowed pens
- rolled up papers or dollar bills
- razor blades
Items associated with smoking meth include:
- glass pipes
10. Financial Issues
Meth typically costs between $3 and $500 per gram. Most people with meth addiction use multiple grams a day, which means they could spend thousands of dollars per year on the drug.
To cover these costs, they may frequently borrow money. They may also sell their belongings or even steal from friends and family.
If your loved one is displaying these symptoms, please reach out to a Recovering Champions specialist. Our substance abuse treatment programs offer mental health counseling, group therapy, and other forms of personalized, outpatient addiction treatment.