Meth Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Learn about meth addiction signs and symptoms, the dangers of meth use, and what addiction recovery options are available to you.
Meth Addiction Health Conditions

Meth Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Learn about meth addiction signs and symptoms, the dangers of meth use, and what addiction recovery options are available to you.

Table of Contents

Understanding Meth

In 2020, it was estimated that 2.6 million people over the age of twelve had used methamphetamine within the past twelve months. The same study showed that around 1.6 million people in the United States had a meth use disorder, including meth addiction.

Meth and meth use are serious topics of discussion, especially when it comes to loved ones suffering from addiction. Learning more about meth and its effects on the brain and body can be beneficial in helping the ones you love receive proper care.

What is Meth?

Meth is a type of central nervous stimulant. This means that it can cause the processes in the brain and body to occur rapidly, which can negatively impact brain chemistry. One of the most notable effects of meth is its ability to increase certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine.

What Does Meth Look Like?

Meth can come in many different forms, with one of the most common being a white powder. When in this form, meth is odorless, although it does have a distinct bitter taste and is easily dissolved in liquids. This property allows it to be mixed with alcohol or water, making it easier to abuse.
Meth can also be found in different colors or in pill forms. Crystal meth is chemically the same as meth, but it has a completely different form. Unlike meth, which is usually in powder or pill form, crystal meth gets its name from its distinct rock-like appearance.

How is Meth Used?

There are two uses for meth: prescription use and illicit use.

When meth is received through a prescription from a doctor, it is more often known as methamphetamine hydrochloride rather than just meth or methamphetamine. Medicinally, meth is related to amphetamines, which are used to treat disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy.2

Illicit use of meth includes anything outside of this range of treatment. This includes abusing a prescription dose. There are several different ways meth can be abused, with one of the most common ways being through snorting. However, other common methods of abuse include injection and smoking. While meth abuse on its own is dangerous, each method also comes with its own unique risks.

Is Meth Addictive?

Meth is considered a Schedule II substance. This means that it has a high level of abuse and dependence, including addiction. Other Schedule II substances include other types of stimulants, including amphetamines.

Meth is so addictive because of how it works in the brain. Like other stimulants, meth causes the brain and body to work faster. This means that it causes more dopamine to be produced, which is a “feel good” chemical. Although dopamine is naturally found in the body, in excess, it can result in feelings of euphoria that are addictive to the brain.

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

There are many different meth addiction signs and symptoms. There are several factors that may cause symptoms to vary, including age, weight, and history of drug use.

Some of the meth addiction signs and symptoms that be experienced include:
  • Sores
  • Meth mouth (decaying teeth)
  • Poor hygiene
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep schedule
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety

Meth Addiction Effects and Dangers

Meth addiction can have many short-term and long-term effects. These often grow in severity with increased use, and some may not be reversible depending on the severity.
Some of the effects and dangers of meth abuse include:
  • Increased blood rate
  • Feelings of euphoria or grandeur
  • Impulsivity
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Injuries as a result of the method of abuse
  • Overdose

Dangers of Overdose and Withdrawal

One of the most dangerous aspects of meth abuse is the elevated risk of overdose. A meth overdose happens any time the body undergoes too high of a dose of a substance. An overdose is a medical emergency that can result in permanent side effects or death.

Due to these risks, it is important to seek treatment for meth addiction. One of the first steps in recovery is undergoing withdrawal. Withdrawal, or detoxification, is a period of time following the end of meth abuse. It is recommended to undergo withdrawal while under medical supervision due to the negative side effects of withdrawal and the high risk of relapse.

Meth Addiction Diagnosis

meth addiction signs
Substance use disorders, including meth addiction, are serious medical conditions that can be diagnosed with the help of a healthcare professional. Oftentimes, meth addiction is diagnosed by examining medical history and ruling out co-occurring or similar disorders that may be causing the symptoms.
Because meth addiction is a form of a substance use disorder, an official diagnosis does require a professional, although anyone may be able to observe the initial meth addiction signs. Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction can help decrease the time it takes to seek recovery.

Meth Addiction Recovery

Although meth addiction can be difficult, recovery is possible. Treatment can help reduce symptoms and restore day-to-day quality of life.5

What to Do if Someone is Showing Signs of Meth Addiction

If someone you love is showing meth addiction signs, then it is important to lend a helping hand. While taking care to not come off as patronizing, express your concern and offer to help find treatment options. Be aware that the first conversation is often not the last.

Meth Addiction Recovery Options

There are several meth addiction treatment options. Some of these may include:
  • Medical detox
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups

Find Treatment for Meth Addiction at Arrow Passage Recovery

Meth addiction can be difficult to navigate, especially alone. However, at Arrow Passage Recovery, you’ll find a team of dedicated healthcare professionals prepared to help you at every step of the way. From managing meth addiction signs and symptoms, to undergoing detox and withdrawal, to the later steps of recovery, Arrow Passage Recovery is prepared to meet you wherever you are in your recovery journey.

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