Methamphetamine is a powerful drug that can have physical, mental, and emotional consequences when abused. Due to the intense euphoric rush it provides, many people who start off experimenting with the drug end up chasing the initial high and becoming addicted.
With continued abuse, a person’s life will start to fall apart. Knowing the signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use can help you get someone you love meth addiction treatment before their addiction spirals out of control and potentially even save their life.
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Use
Methamphetamine use can quickly escalate to addiction, but with it comes a lot of noticeable signs someone is on meth including changes in physical appearance, behavior, and mood.
If you suspect someone you care about could be abusing this drug, look for these 6 signs of meth use:
1. Noticeable Changes in Physical Appearance
The easiest way to know if someone is on meth is typically by changes in their physical appearance. Methamphetamine is known for the drastic effect it can have on someone’s looks even after a short amount of time.
Physical signs of meth use can include:
- rotting teeth and inflamed gums (meth mouth)
- meth sores or scratches on the skin
- track marks
- drastic weight loss
- hair that is thinning or falling out
- red, swollen eyes
- burn marks on the fingers or lips
The more severe the physical signs of meth use, the more severe the abuse, so it is important to try to get someone’s help at the first signs of trouble.
2. Changes in Behavior
Drug abuse can drastically change someone’s behavior, especially if they become dependent on the substance.
Meth addict behavior may include:
- Not sleeping
- Not eating
- Frequent lying
- Taking dangerous risks
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- No longer doing activities they love
As a person continues to abuse meth, it starts to take over their life. Eventually, everything they do will surround their addiction.
3. Changes in Mood
Abnormal changes in mood can be another sign someone is on methamphetamine. These changes are typically extreme and may shift quickly.
In particular, changes in mood from meth use can include:
- violent outbursts
- mood swings
If you notice that someone you love seems to be especially emotional or something about their mood seems off, it may be a sign of meth addiction. As the severity of the addiction increase, their mood will often get worse.
In particular, one of the more obvious meth addiction symptoms is something known as “tweaking.” Tweaking is an extreme change in mood when someone experiences insomnia and/or anxiety for an extended period of time – often three days or longer. Tweaking occurs because the person is coming down from a meth binge and can no longer achieve their desired high. The person may not sleep for several days and as a result becomes paranoid, anxious, and irritable.
5. Meth Paraphernalia
A tell-tale sign of methamphetamine use in your loved one is the presence of meth paraphernalia. Meth can be injected, snorted, or smoked, and all these methods require some form of equipment.
Methamphetamine paraphernalia can include:
- glass pipes
- rolled up dollar bills, empty ink pens, or cut straws
- aluminum foil, spoons, or cans
- little baggies
A person abusing meth may try to hide these items or leave them hidden in plain sight. If you find any of this meth paraphernalia in their room, home, or car, it is likely time to intervene.
6. Problems with Several Areas of Their Life
Another way to tell if someone is on meth is to pay attention to what is going on in their life. Because meth is so addictive, people who become dependent on this drug will start to prioritize it over everything else. As a result, other areas of their life will suffer.
Someone on meth may:
- Get fired
- Drop out of school
- Struggle financially
- Have relationship problems
- Face legal issues
Getting someone into inpatient treatment sooner rather than later could help them salvage some of these aspects of their life before too much damage is done.
What to Do If Someone is Showing Signs of Meth Abuse
Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that can quickly consume a person’s life and lead to a variety of negative consequences. If you can learn to recognize the early signs of meth use, you can intervene sooner rather than later and potentially even save their life.
If someone you know is abusing drugs, there is something you can do:
- Confront them calmly
- Express your concerns for their well-being
- Do your research on meth addiction
- Don’t enable their addiction
- Try to get them into a drug rehab
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself
While knowing someone you love is abusing methamphetamine is overwhelming, we are here to help. At Vertava Health Massachusetts, formerly Swift River, we offer a variety of personalized treatment programs to help individuals overcome addiction and live a clean and fulfilling life.