Addiction to any substance has the propensity to destroy the life of the individual addicted as well as their loved ones and friend’s lives. Meth addiction, however, is known as one of the most destructive and dangerous addictions today. Fortunately, like any addiction, meth addiction can be treated with the help of a professional addiction treatment center.
Over 21.5 million Americans suffer from some form of substance abuse or addiction. Since addiction is a disease, it is capable of negatively affecting an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical health in intense and permanent ways. Unfortunately, addiction is known as a family disease, meaning the individual’s loved ones can be severely affected by their behavior. In fact, studies have shown that individuals with addicted loved ones suffer from disrupted relationships, attachment issues, “emotional chaos”, financial troubles, and have an increased risk of developing a substance abuse disorder as well.
In order to prevent permanent or long-lasting adverse physical and psychological effects of meth addiction, early intervention is vital. In other words, the earlier your loved one receives treatment for meth addiction, the better. If you are concerned that your loved one abuses or is addicted to meth, continue reading to learn about the 5 common signs of meth addiction.
What is Meth?
Meth, formally known as methamphetamine, is a stimulant drug with similar properties of cocaine. Individuals who abuse meth snort, smoke, swallow, or intravenously inject this substance in order to create the intense “high” that meth produces. To explain, meth causes a surge of dopamine to be released in the brain, giving the user bursts of euphoria and happiness.
Because meth is a stimulant, it causes classic stimulant effects such as:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Feeling alert/wide awake
- Increased libido
While meth users will gain an initial burst of energy combined with feelings of euphoria or superiority, they will also experience a “crash”. The crash, also known as tweaking, is brought about by a sudden absence of dopamine. Dopamine becomes absent, or minimal, in the brain due to the initial dopamine surge that meth provides – severely depleting an individual’s dopamine levels.
This stage of the “meth high” can lead to symptoms such as:
While these symptoms are the most common, each user will experience different effects of the drug. If you or a loved one have been abusing meth, it is important to seek professional treatment as soon as possible.
The Effects of Meth Addiction
Due to the same reason meth is so addictive to individuals, this substance is also extremely dangerous and detrimental to one’s body and mind. When an individual uses meth, their brain releases a large amount of dopamine – leading to feelings of euphoria. However, this also depletes an individual’s dopamine levels, making it hard to function due to side effects such as depression and fatigue.
Additionally, studies have found that meth physically changes the way an individual’s brain is wired. Meth can teach your brain to only release dopamine during meth use, causing individuals to be unable to produce dopamine naturally. Due to this, individuals become addicted to meth very quickly. Individuals addicted to meth often cannot find pleasure or happiness from anything else, leading them to constantly seek this substance.
Meth addiction can lead to adverse health effects including, but not limited to:
- Loss of appetite
- Skin sores/wounds
- Going days without sleeping
- Damaged motor skills
- Difficulty expressing emotions
- Heart failure
If you or a loved one are addicted to meth and have experienced any of the mentioned health effects, a professional addiction intervention may be required.
5 Common Signs of Meth Addiction
After coming to the understanding of how detrimental meth addiction can be, it is important to learn about the signs of meth addiction. If you suspect that your loved one is abusing meth, you must remember that all users will experience different effects and display different signs. Just because an individual has one of the following symptoms, it does not always indicate meth addiction. However, the following signs are the most common signs of meth addiction and should always be taken seriously.
1: An Unusual Amount of Energy or Alertness
Because meth is a stimulant, it will make users feel energetic, euphoric, and happy for long periods of time. However, this can lead to sleepiness, insomnia, and long periods of energy that does not allow the individual to sleep. Additionally, the feeling of alertness can cause individuals to become jumpy, jittery, nervous, and restless.
2: Weight Loss or a Loss of Appetite
Meth use causes a loss of appetite that can be found in users of any form of a stimulant drug. Because meth users typically binge for days or weeks on end, this can lead to rapid weight loss and malnutrition as well as the development of an eating disorder.
3: Severe Mood Swings
The constant cycle of being high and crashing from meth use might lead to intense mood swings. For example, individuals may be happy, energetic, and euphoric only to become anxious, depressed, angry, or aggressive.
4: A Constant State of Anxiety or Paranoia
Meth addicts commonly become twitchy, paranoid, and restless due to a lack of sleep, nutrition, and the effects of this stimulant drug on one’s mood. Meth addicts may also exhibit physical symptoms of this anxiety by scratching their skin, jumping at sounds, darting eyes, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, sweating, delusions, hallucination, etc. In severe cases, paranoia might present itself as stimulant-induced psychosis.
5: Physical Indicators
Not only does meth cause severe psychological effects, but it also causes distinct physical damage. “Meth mouth” is a common issue among individuals addicted to methamphetamine. Meth mouth is characterized by rotting teeth, rancid breath, and overall poor dental hygiene. Additionally, meth users commonly pick at their skin to the point of noticeable open wounds/sores on their faces or limbs.
Other physical indications an individual is addicted to meth:
- Involuntary ticks
- Hair loss
- Repetitive behaviors (twitching, scratching, looking in a certain place over and over, etc)
- Weight loss
- Needle marks
If you notice any of these physical symptoms of meth addiction, it may be time to get your loved one professional treatment for substance abuse. While meth addiction is severe with the ability to cause long-lasting adverse health effects, treatment is available and recovery is possible.
At Agape Treatment Center, we prioritize each individual patient’s needs by utilizing comprehensive and individualized treatment plans. If you or a loved one have been affected by meth addiction, contact Agape Treatment Center for more information on meth detox, inpatient, and outpatient treatment.