Learn About The Symptoms & Signs of Meth Addiction

The signs, symptoms, and effects of meth addiction can be different for every person impacted. Learning about meth addiction is one of the first steps towards getting better.

Understanding Meth Addiction

Learn about meth addiction and substance abuse

Methamphetamine is a dangerous, addictive substance. Also commonly referred to as meth, crystal meth, or crystal, this illicit drug can cause an individual to become addicted after just a few uses. In addition, since meth contains highly toxic substances, an individual’s health and other aspects of his or her life can be significantly damaged if he or she becomes dependent on the drug.

Whether an individual smokes, snorts, or injects meth, the high that he or she experiences can be intense. Sensations of euphoria and pleasure, accompanied by a surge of energy, can overpower the individual’s body after he or she consumes this substance. Once these effects fade, an individual is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings for more meth, and might resort to extreme measures to obtain and use more of this substance. With increased use, an individual might spend more time ingesting meth in larger amounts in order to develop the high that is required. After a short while of this pattern of increased use, an individual can find him or herself in the throes of meth addiction, or methamphetamine use disorder, which often requires the help of professionals to defeat.

Thankfully, there are effective options for care that can help women and men free themselves from their meth addiction. In choosing to obtain treatment, the devastating effects of prolonged meth abuse can be minimized and allow those who are suffering from meth abuse to live happier, healthier lives.

Statistics

Meth addiction statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly five percent of the population in the United States has used meth at least one time. Researchers have determined that more than one million women and men have abused this substance within the past year, with nearly half a million of those abusing meth within the last month. Also, more than 100,000 emergency room visits each year are attributed to the use of meth.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for meth addiction

For close friends and loved ones, it might not been clear as to why or how the person they care for has come to abuse this dangerous substance. Research suggests the following causes of meth abuse:

Genetic: Experts have uncovered certain gene clusters that might make an individual more vulnerable to meth abuse at some point in their lives. In addition, addiction experts have determined that when a person possesses a family history of meth abuse, other substance abuse, and/or mental illness, there is a strong likelihood that that individual will also battle similar concerns.

Environmental: Researchers strongly believe that the environment that an individual lives in can impact whether or not meth abuse will occur. Exposure to meth or other substance abuse, living in an impoverished area, ongoing stress, or residing in an unstable home can all add to the development of meth addiction. Lastly, addiction experts believe that if an individual associates with peers who use and distribute meth, they are more likely to abuse this substance.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of other substance use
  • Personal history of mental health conditions
  • Being of younger age
  • Family history of meth abuse and addiction
  • Family history of mental health conditions
  • Exposure to ongoing stress and chaos
  • Lack of coping skills
  • Poverty
  • Being Caucasian American
  • Personal history of trauma

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of meth addiction

A meth addiction can dramatically affect how an individual looks and behaves. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the signs and symptoms of meth addiction listed below may or may not be obvious to others:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Poor performance at work
  • Frequent absences from work
  • Being deceptive about one’s activities and whereabouts
  • Acting with uncharacteristic energy
  • Prioritizing meth use over time spent with family and/or friends
  • Being unable to control one’s meth use
  • Attempts to borrow or steal money in order to acquire meth
  • Obsessive, repetitive behaviors
  • Continuing to abuse meth after experiencing negative effects from prior use
  • Spending a great deal of time acquiring, using, or recovering from meth use

Physical symptoms:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Hypertension
  • Increased pulse
  • Experiencing withdrawal
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gum and tooth damage and decay
  • Experiencing tolerance
  • Scabs and sores on face, arms, and other body parts
  • Increased heartrate

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic shifts in mood
  • Agitation
  • Irritability

Effects

Effects of meth addiction

Obtaining treatment for a meth addiction is critical. If care is not obtained, the effects listed below are likely to occur and decrease an individual’s overall quality of life:

  • Suicide attempts
  • Brain damage
  • Drastic changes in appearance
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Loss of muscle tissue
  • Financial distress
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lung problems
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis B or C
  • Legal problems leading to incarceration
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Loss of bone density
  • Weakened immune system
  • Family discord
  • Job loss
  • Deterioration of relationships

Co-Occurring Disorders

Meth addiction and co-occurring disorders

Abusing meth can agitate pre-existing mental health symptoms or trigger the onset of specific mental disorders. The following conditions are among those that are known to affect the lives of those who are struggling with this type of substance abuse problem:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Gambling disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of withdrawal and overdose

Effects of meth withdrawal: Since long-term abuse of meth can cause an individual’s body to become dependent upon it, an individual must keep abusing it in order to go about everyday functioning. However, if an individual stops using this substance, the symptoms and effects below will develop:

  • Hypersomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings for meth
  • Anger
  • Agitation
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Effects of meth overdose: One of the very real risks linked to meth abuse is overdose. A meth overdose occurs when an individual consumes more of this drug that his or her body can safely metabolize, which then causes the individual’s body to respond with a number of symptoms and warning signs. If any of the following overdose effects show up after the use of this dangerous substance, emergency medical attention should be obtained as quickly as possible:

  • Stroke
  • Increased body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Respiratory distress
  • Seizure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

This was the best place I could have ever chosen to go get help at! Unlike other behavioral health places in the Memphis area, Crestwyn is a very nice facility staffed with the kindest and most helpful people ever!

– Former Patient