Methamphetamine, more commonly known as Meth, has an infamous reputation as a uniquely devastating drug, especially to long-term users. With its recent resurgence in the United States, meth is more readily available and often cheaper than it has been in the past. Some states have found meth responsible for more deaths than heroin. With such a dire situation, it is imperative that friends and families of those prone to substance abuse keep a watchful eye out for common signs of meth use.
Behavioral Signs of Meth Use
WebMD offers a number of signs to look out for that can indicate meth use. As with many other substances, one common sign of meth use is a marked change in behavior. Meth users may frequently ask to borrow money to fund their addiction, sell their possessions, or even steal in order to continue using. With meth’s effects on the brain, some addicts may act uncharacteristically euphoric or excitable when high. Meth can destabilize a person’s ability to control their emotions, resulting in mood swings or emotional outbursts. Others may experience psychotic episodes, resulting in paranoia, hallucinations, and dangerous or erratic behavior.
Meth’s Damage to the Body
Meth use can result in a worsening appearance in the form of weight loss, tooth and gum damage (often referred to as “meth mouth”), and a relaxation of general self-care. Individuals may neglect their hygiene or general health, with many of these physical changes compounded by the effects of meth on the body.
Meth addicts may avoid sleep, or be unable to sleep due to insomnia. Meth users often experience a lack of appetite. Extreme users may go so far as to consume meth in “runs,” where concerns of nutrition are neglected in favor of doing more meth. A person’s skin may appear dry or patchy, often to an extreme degree in serious users. Many develop sores from skin-picking, a common response to meth, in which users feel itchiness and may even hallucinate that bugs are crawling over their bodies. Fidgeting, jerky movement, rapid eye shifting, teeth grinding, and generally hyperactive behavior can also be signs to look out for.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth’s damage to the body and mind is staggering. However, despite the strong cravings it may provoke, meth addiction is not insurmountable. With professional treatment, one can beat addiction to meth. Meth addiction is usually severe enough that considering an intensive recovery program is advisable. Inpatient substance abuse recovery programs offer a safe, drug-free environment where patients can receive the care they need in the absence of distractions and temptations. Moreover, patients learn how to manage the cravings meth causes while working towards healthier lifestyle choices and attitudes.