meth addiction

Signs of Meth Use | Meth Addiction | What is Meth?

by Pat Fontana

Are you concerned about a loved one’s behavior? Are you worried that they may be using drugs, to the point where they may be addicted? Knowing the signs of meth use can help you better help someone experiencing the devastating effects of meth addiction. Start with an understanding of what meth is so you can recognize the signs.

What is Meth?

Meth is the shortened name for methamphetamine, an extremely addictive stimulant. Meth typically comes in the form of a powder that can be made into a pill. The powder can be consumed by eating it or by snorting it up the nose. Some users will mix the powder with liquid and inject it with a needle. Meth can also be used in the form of a shiny rock, referred to as a crystal, which is smoked in a small glass pipe.

Developed in the early 20th century out of its parent drug, amphetamine, meth was originally used in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Meth is much different than amphetamine. Even at comparable doses, greater amounts of meth can get into the brain and make it a more potent stimulant. It is also longer lasting and causes more harmful effects on the central nervous system. As such, meth is much more likely to be misused and result in addiction.

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant, which means that it is legally available only through a nonrefillable prescription. The drug may be prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as part of certain weight loss treatments. The drug is rarely prescribed, though, and the prescribed doses are much lower than the doses usually consumed when it is misused.

What are Signs of Meth Use?

When you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be using meth, watch for the signs. Of course, many of these could be attributed to other causes but taken together, they may be an indication of meth use.

The drug can speed up breathing and raise blood pressure in the person using it. An individual misusing the drug can become hyperactive or full of too much energy. They may talk a lot more and move around more than normal, not stopping to sleep or eat. You might also notice them scratching their skin to the point of causing sores. If they use a meth pipe, they can have burns on their lips or fingers.

Rapid mood shifts can also be a sign of meth use. They may feel excited and then suddenly become violent and angry. They may become paranoid, afraid that someone is out to get them. They may even threaten suicide.

Other visible, physical signs of meth use can include:

  • Facial twitching
  • Pupil dilation
  • Increased sweating
  • Jerky or twitchy body movements
  • Tooth decay
  • Constant, rapid speech
  • Increased body temperature
  • Headaches

Signs of Meth Addiction

Meth is highly addictive. When someone is addicted, they have a chronic, relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug use and almost constant drug seeking. Addiction can cause molecular and functional changes in their brain. Meth addiction arises out of a tolerance to the drug’s pleasurable effects when it is taken repeatedly. The addicted individual will usually need to take higher doses, take it more frequently, or change the way they take it to get the same effect.

Long-term use of meth can result in confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, anxiety, and violent behavior. A person with a meth addiction may also display psychotic features, such as auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms can last a long time even after the individual has quit using the drug. The stress caused by these continuing symptoms can contribute to a spontaneous recurrence of psychosis caused by meth use.

Get Help for Meth Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction to meth is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help your friend or loved one get started on their recovery. They deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so they can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want everyone to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help them get the treatment they need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.