When someone you love is addicted to anything, it can be hard to know what the best course of action is to take, especially when that addiction is to a substance as dangerous as crystal meth. As a stimulant, crystal meth induces intense happiness and euphoria as well as increased energy and motivation. It is so dangerous because of how addictive it can be, and the long-term use of crystal meth can lead to irreversible and lifelong changes to the brain. Knowing the signs of meth use may enable you to ask them if they are ok and can open the door to your loved one getting help.
Know The Signs of Meth Use
The signs of crystal meth addiction manifest themselves both physically and behaviorally which can make it easier to determine whether or not someone is abusing this specific drug. Most of us can identify some symptoms due to the way that the media (mostly crime shows or documentaries) portrays crystal meth addiction, however seeing it in person and having to admit that someone you know and love is struggling with a crystal meth addiction is an entirely different story. Being able to pinpoint these symptoms and being aware of what both addiction and overdose look like can save your loved one’s life.
Physical Signs of Methamphetamine Use
When someone is addicted to crystal meth, there are many associated physical symptoms that could potentially lead to lifelong health concerns and permanent changes to the body and brain. The physical signs of meth use are precursors for the more severe and long-term strain that the drug places on the heart, lungs, brain, liver, kidneys, and muscles. Some of the physical signs to look out for if you believe someone you know has a crystal meth addiction include:
- Pupil Dilation
- Quick, Jerky Eye Movements
- Facial Twitching
- Increased Sweating
- High Body Temperature
- Jerky or Twitchy Body Movements or Tremors
- Decreased Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Tooth Decay
- High Energy and Excitement
- Scratching or Picking at the Hair or Skin
- Sores on the Face and Skins
- Constant, Rapid, and Sometimes Nonsensical Speech
How Do Meth Users Act?
Crystal meth use and addiction alter the structure and function of the brain, so it makes sense that there are mental and behavioral changes associated as well. These changes can include:
- Hyperactivity or Restlessness
- Impulsive or Unpredictable Behavior
- Aggressive or Violent Reactions
- Anxious, Nervous, or Irritable Behavior
- Paranoia or Delusions
People abusing crystal meth may also feel extreme exhaustion, depression, or irritability when experiencing a low as the effects of the drug wear off. This crash from the stimulant effects of the drug and the brain’s need for those feelings of euphoria again is what causes the cyclical nature of the drug use, thus leading to addiction.
Social Signs of Meth Addiction
Social signs of meth use include:
- Selling Possessions for Money
- Theft or Robbery
- Increasingly Erratic Family, Work, and Social Presence
- Open Hostility to Friends, Coworkers, or Family
- Unexplained Wounds or Illnesses such as Nosebleeds, Pneumonia, Abscess, or Necrosis (from snorting, smoking, or shooting meth)
Someone struggling with meth addiction may begin to lose touch with family and friends fairly quickly after they begin using heavily. Aside from possibly scaring their family and friends, their schedule usually becomes more and more unusual. They may disappear for days or weeks at a time, and since sleep is no longer as much of a priority, there is no telling how long a binge could last. The more sleep-deprived someone becomes, the greater the risk for delusions, hallucinations, and paranoid behavior. It is not uncommon for someone to stay up for days while using meth to experience daylight hallucinations, as well as the possibility for psychotic episodes and delusions.
A Life and Death Matter
Long-term effects of crystal meth addiction can be psychosis, permanent brain damage, deficits in thinking and motor skills, memory loss, aggressive or violent behavior, and mood changes. Seeking treatment as soon as possible for crystal meth addiction is the only way to try and reverse or prevent some of these longer-term side effects from creating lifelong problems for the person who is using. Knowing what to look out for can help you better understand crystal meth addiction so that you can offer some level of support in getting someone the help they need.
Understanding the signs of crystal meth addiction is critical in looking out for the signs of an overdose. By knowing what it looks like, you can potentially save your loved ones’ life if an overdose occurs. A meth overdose can lead to brain damage, coma, heart attack, and death.
Approaching Your Loved One
It is important to become as educated as possible about addiction, crystal meth, and what resources are out there to help your loved one get sober and stay sober. By researching this disease, you can enter into the conversation prepared and steer clear of accusing, diagnosing, or blaming. Though it can be difficult, try to approach this subject when they are sober or at least in a positive mood, and make sure to voice your worries and concerns in a way that shows you care about them.
When approaching someone about their addiction, it is important to understand that they have to decide whether or not they are ready to get help, and you have to listen. You don’t have to enable their addiction or support their decision not to seek help, but forcing them or establishing ultimatums may drive them farther away from you and farther into their addiction. You should avoid trying to place blame on them (or yourself) and it won’t help to criticize their actions or try to make them feel worse.
Because crystal meth causes a variety of physical and mental health concerns, it is important to address each of those during treatment. At The Summit Wellness Group, we combine medical and therapeutic care with holistic treatments to provide the most effective dual-diagnosis care possible. We also offer aftercare programs to help our clients even after leaving our programs to support their continued growth and recovery. If you believe your loved one is using crystal meth we’re here to help with the treatment and rehabilitation process to get them back to a sober lifestyle.