Meth is a synthetic stimulant that creates intense highs while under its effects. Therefore, the elevated sense of euphoria can be very powerful and addictive. Meth can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked. If you suspect a loved one or friend has a meth addiction, it is helpful to know meth use signs.
Dangers of Meth
#1. Meth is Highly Addictive
It only takes using meth once to develop a craving for it. The intense high causes elevated dopamine levels — a natural endorphin associated with pleasure and rewarding behaviors. As a result, it is easy to want to experience these feelings again and become addicted to meth.
#2. Meth is Toxic
Meth contains various toxic ingredients that are not meant for human consumption. These ingredients are found in fertilizers, nail polish removers, and plastics. When these poisonous chemicals are ingested, they can cause severe reactions, including respiratory problems, heart attacks, comas, and death.
#3. Multiple Ways to Misuse Meth
There are multiple ways to ingest meth. Users grind it up into a powder and snort it, mix the powder with water and inject it, or smoke it. In addition, some people even swallow it. Therefore, it is easy to accidentally overdose because a person might use it in different ways at the same time. For instance, a person could swallow meth, but the effects don’t occur right away. Then, they snort it for a quicker high, however, the ingested meth is still in their system. Thus, they could overdose by using in this way.
#4. Increase Risks of Permanent Damage
One risk is when you inject meth and share needles, which can result in exposure to HIV and hepatitis. Another risk you face when using meth is the permanent brain damage it can cause that can affect your motor skills, mental capabilities, and memory. Furthermore, the endorphin system can be damaged and never recover.
#5. It is Hard to Stop Using Meth
Meth is probably one of the most challenging substances to stop using on your own. When you come down off a meth high, you experience a crash. As you continue to use meth, your brain eventually creates cravings so intense that you need meth just to function in everyday life. Additionally, crashing causes a host of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, so once you start to experience them, you use more meth to make them stop.
Signs of Meth Use
Meth use signs can be difficult to detect when someone first starts using meth. However, that does not mean you should not be concerned if a loved one or friend exhibits just a few of the signs.
- Rotting Teeth
- Bad Breath
- Lack of Oral Care
- Lack of Personal Hygiene
- Acne Problems
- Itching and Scratching
- Open Sores
- Extreme Weight Loss
- Increased Illnesses and Infections
- Increased Sexual Drive/Sexually Aggressive
- Problems Breathing
- High Blood Pressure/Heart Rate
- Excessive Talking
- Stomach Pain
- Chest Pain
- Dilated Pupils
- Possessing Drug Paraphernalia
- Memory Problems
- Irrational/Impulsive Decision-Making
Meth use will quickly go from occasional use to a daily occurrence for someone addicted to this drug. Eventually, using meth will be all that matters. The person will not care about work, school, family, or friends. All they will want to do is use meth with other meth users.
They can even get to the point where they have financial problems and can no longer pay for meth. When they reach this point, they may steal money and items of value from friends and family. They might also offer sex in exchange for meth.
List of Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
When someone stops using meth, they will experience withdrawal symptoms as the drug wears off until they use it again. In addition, the longer they go without using meth, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms can become.
The duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms are directly related to how long meth was misused, the dosage amounts, how meth was ingested, and the toxicity of the chemicals used in the drug, including:
- Increased Appetite
- Weight Gain
- Uncontrolled Sweating
- Uncontrolled Shaking
- Transitioning from Insomnia to Excessive Sleeping
- No Energy
- Depressed Mood
- Loss of Interest in Pleasurable Activities
- Meth Cravings
- Problems Thinking and Concentrating
Meth Withdrawal Symptom Timeline
Most of the meth withdrawal symptoms will start to peak within one to three days of last use. When they peak, they will be the most intense and unpleasant. This is why some people start contemplating suicide and self-harm because they believe they are going to die.
Once you get past this peak, the symptoms gradually start to lessen. However, the withdrawal from meth and associated symptoms can continue for up to three weeks. After that, the symptoms slowly go away. However, post-acute withdrawal cravings for meth can continue for several months or a few years, depending on how long it was misused.
How to Help a Meth Addict
The best way to help a meth addict when they want to stop using meth is with medically supervised detox. With medical supervision, the severity of withdrawal symptoms can be lessened using MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and drugs that mimic the effects of meth without being addictive.
After the individual has been detoxed from meth, they are slowly weaned from the MAT medication. Once detox is complete, the next step is to undergo a meth addiction treatment program to address their cravings and learn how to live meth-free.
Meth Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA
Now that you know more about meth use signs, if you suspect a friend or loved one has a meth addiction, help is available at Pacific Sands Recovery in Orange County, California. We can help answer your questions, offer advice, and help you stage an intervention. Our programs offer personalized meth addiction treatment with medically supervised detox and MAT with private rooms available for most of our clients. Our goal is to provide a supportive, safe, and caring environment to overcome meth addiction and lay the foundation for long-term sobriety. Contact us to speak with an intake specialist for more information or to start your meth addiction detox and treatment today.