People who use illicit drugs like meth are at high risk of addiction. They abuse meth in several ways. Smoking and injecting are the most common methods because this moves the drug very quickly into the brain and blood stream. The user gets a pleasurable rush. Some users snort or ingest it and experience a less intense euphoria. Either way, meth has an effect on the central nervous system and brain chemistry. Experts say the rapid release of dopamine in the brain fortifies the desire for the drug and makes people want to continually do it again.

As an Illegal drug, meth is known on the street by many names including:

  • Speed
  • Ice
  • Yank
  • Zoom
  • Crunk
  • Glass
  • Shards
  • Pink
  • Rails
  • Crystal
  • Crystal Meth

The impact of methamphetamine drug abuse, similar to that of crack cocaine, is that it dramatically alters a person’s brain. It creates an uncontrollable need for more of the stimulant. Meth users become addicted to meth very easily. It is important to seek meth addiction treatment at a rehab center to recover.

If you are using methamphetamine, or you have a loved one you suspect is involved with meth abuse, there are some tell-tale warning signs and symptoms to look for.

Signs of Meth Abuse

Short-Term Signs

When you use a mood-altering substance repeatedly, the brain adapts and may eventually rely on the drug’s presence. Drug dependence can first be noticed by the short-term effects. These symptoms can be signs of meth abuse:

  • Lack of sleep and spending more time awake
  • Increase in physical activity
  • Less desire for food
  • Accelerated or irregular heart rate
  • Breathing fast
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Feeling jumpy
  • Dilated pupils

Physical Addiction

Within a short amount of time, meth can begin to take over a person’s life. They can’t “just stop” taking the drug. Physical addiction sets in when you notice these signs:

  • Tolerance to the drug
  • No longer having control over the situation
  • Need for more of the drug to get the same effects
  • Thinking about how to obtain meth as a priority each day
  • Extreme cravings if you don’t use meth

Long-Term Impact of Methamphetamine

Infectious Diseases

Long-term meth use can destroy your health. Injecting the drug can leave you open to infectious diseases, such as:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

It can also lead to risky sexual behavior, which can increase your risk of infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases.

Physical Symptoms and Effects of Meth

People who use meth go through extensive physical changes. There are many negative physical consequences associated with long-term use of methamphetamine, including:

  • Extensive weight loss and odd eating habits
  • Issues related to lack of sleep
  • Serious dental issues and rotted teeth (meth mouth)
  • Ongoing confusion
  • Poor hygiene
  • Severe itching that results in sores caused by scratching
  • Blood vessel constriction
  • Damage to the liver
  • Heart disease

Behavioral Symptoms of Meth Abuse

  • Intense anxiety and agitation
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Cognitive problems
  • Memory loss
  • Erratic behavior
  • Violent reactions and behavior
  • Hallucinating, paranoia and psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

Signs of Meth Addiction

Doctors classify meth addiction as a stimulant use disorder. Addiction signs may include:

  • Hiding drug use through secretive behaviors
  • Career problems or job loss
  • Financial problems
  • Legal issues
  • Relationship issues and problems at home
  • Risky behaviors
  • Disconnecting or isolating from friends and family

Meth Detox and Withdrawal

A meth addict becomes a slave to their physical and mental dependence on the drug. The brain comes to expect a repeat of the chemical experience it has grown used to. When the drug levels fall below what the brain is expecting, you are thrust into withdrawal syndrome. Although addiction specialists have been trying to find a detox protocol, there is no specific meth detox method yet.

Medical experts can help you through meth withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms should be managed through an addiction center that is equipped to help you or your loved one cope with the effects of meth withdrawal. Meth withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis and hallucinating

Find Help for Meth Addiction

The Ranch treatment center can help with meth addiction. We offer residential treatment that includes medical care and a range of behavioral therapies. We also address dual diagnosis so that substance abuse and mental health issues are treated simultaneously. This combination helps manage meth withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring disorders. Reach out for help and reclaim your life.

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Krisi Herron

Medically Reviewed by

Krisi Herron, LCDC

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