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Meth Use: What to Know

Recognize the Signs of People on Meth

Recognizing the signs of people on meth is not extremely difficult.

This is mainly because meth is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug that shows obvious effects on its users.

In 2017, 1.6 million Americans reported using meth in 2016, which equals 0.6% of the United States population.

One million of these users ended up developing methamphetamines use disorder.

Meth has a very damaging effect in our country because it causes such an impact on society.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a drug known by many different names. It is often referred to as ice, chalk, meth, or crystal.

Because meth is a stimulant, it is very similar to amphetamines in terms of chemical composition and effects. Meth is an extremely addictive substance that impacts the central nervous system.

It is found in a white powder or crystal form, and it can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected. It is essential to understand the risks of meth to prevent addiction in your own life and the lives of people around you.

How Do People on Meth Feel?

When people use this drug, dopamine in the brain increases. This neurotransmitter is linked to feelings of happiness and a "high."

People on meth may feel incredible, full of energy, and extremely happy.

The effects of meth last anywhere from eight to 24 hours, significantly longer than other stimulants -- such as cocaine. This can lead to people on meth staying awake for many hours or even days.

Tolerance builds rapidly with meth use, allowing dependence and/or a substance use disorder to form quickly. There are two main phases that characterize people's behavior on meth, which include the "tweaking" phase during use and the crash phase after use.

Common Signs of Meth Abuse:

Have you ever seen someone on meth?

Here are some of the most obvious signs of a meth-related problem. Some common physical signs of meth abuse include:

  • Burns on lips and fingers
  • Dilated pupils
  • Odd sleeping patterns
  • High body temperature
  • Hyperactivity and paranoia
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Lack of appetite
  • Rotten teeth
  • Furious scratching and/or skin sores
  • Extreme and quick weight loss
  • Twitching

Common Psychological Signs:

People on meth may also display psychological signs including:

  • Trouble in school or work
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Motor skill issues
  • Paranoia
  • Unpredictable behavior and violence

Meth Crash

A meth crash can last up to three days and occurs after periods of meth usage.

A meth crash often includes sleeping for long periods of time. This occurs because your body attempts to normalize itself after the prolonged awake state involved in meth use.

When a meth crash occurs, it can be difficult to hide these symptoms. If you are going through a meth crash, your friends and family will likely notice these symptoms.

Short-Term Side Effects of People on Meth

If you notice someone you care about is using meth, you may be able to confirm the existence of some or all of the short-term side effects listed below:

  • Aggression
  • Animated body language and excessive talking
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain and increased heart rate
  • Red skin
  • Teeth grinding
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperactivity
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle twitches
  • High body temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of appetite

Withdrawal Symptoms

Although meth withdrawal is different for everyone, some common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, depression, psychosis, and intense cravings for the drug.

Meth withdrawal symptoms will typically appear within 12 to 24 hours of non-use. Meth withdrawal can also lead to an increase in appetite.

This will also often show up in the form of cravings for carbohydrates and sugary foods from the beginning of withdrawal symptoms and can last for up to two or three weeks.
Meth Use: What to Know BriteLife Recovery - A woman is sitting on her couch and is very uncomfortable as she is starting to experience meth withdrawal symptoms after a prolonged usage of the drug, which occurs to people on meth between 12-24 hours of non-use.

Long-Term Side Effects of Meth Use

After a prolonged period of use, people on meth begin to show more intense side-effects.

These occur because the brain has become dependent on the drug. Long-term physical effects of chronic meth use may include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia and/or heart disease
  • Black or rotting teeth
  • Delusions and psychosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Premature aging
  • Depression and memory loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney and/or liver failure
  • Reproductive issues and birth defects for pregnant users
  • Respiratory issues
  • Seizures
  • Skin infections and acne
  • Sudden death

Meth Use Disorder

When someone is diagnosed with meth use disorder, it is considered a mental illness. As with any other mental illness, mental use disorders have criteria for diagnosis.

In order to be diagnosed with meth use disorder, at least two of the following criteria must be met within the preceding 12 months:

  • Using meth, even if you are aware of its dangers
  • Placing responsibilities on hold
  • Social or interpersonal problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms appear when you attempt to quit using meth
  • Noticeable tolerance is built
  • An increase in the amount of meth used
  • Multiple failed attempts to quit or decrease meth use
  • A large amount of time devoted to using, thinking about using, and obtaining meth
  • The appearance of physical and psychological problems
  • Rejecting everyday activities
  • Craving meth when not using

If you have met only two of the above criteria, then you would be considered to have a “mild” meth use disorder. If you meet four to five of these criteria, then your use disorder would be considered "moderate," while an individual affected by six or more signs is deemed to be a “severe” use disorder.

If you have noticed these signs in yourself or someone you love, it is time to seek help for a meth disorder.

Treatment For People on Meth

Because meth addiction is one of the most severe forms of addiction, medical detox is usually the necessary first step.

After medical detox, therapy is the next step. Depending on the severity of the addiction, users may need to attend an inpatient rehab program following medical detox.

Although some people may overcome their meth addiction by participating in an outpatient program, this is not usually the case. Meth is one of the strongest drugs with one of the highest addiction potentials, and recovery can be challenging.

If you have a loved one who is resistant to meth treatment and believes that they can beat their addiction on their own, you should remind them of the aggressive and damaging side effects of meth withdrawal.

The discomfort of withdrawal means that recovery should occur in a structured program such as inpatient treatment.
Meth Use: What to Know BriteLife Recovery - A group of individuals who used to be considered people on meth due to their meth addiction are attending an inpatient treatment program where they are participating in a group therapy session to help support one another on their path to recovery and long-term sobriety.

Next Steps

If you are concerned about your meth use or the meth use of someone you love, please contact our team at BriteLife Recovery.

We will help you every step of the way through your medical detox and through our inpatient and/or outpatient programs.

Call today to learn about our free insurance verification as well.We will do all of the hard work for you.

We are ready to help you move past your meth addiction and regain control over your life.

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