Methamphetamine is a potent, highly addictive stimulant that causes serious issues for the person using it as well as for their family members and friends. If you suspect that someone you care about is abusing this drug, watch for the signs of meth use. Meth abuse signs can point to a major health concern both for the short term and in the long run.
The Meth Threat in the US
In some parts of the country, the numbers show that the misuse of methamphetamine, or meth as it is commonly referred to, poses an even greater threat than opioid abuse. Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that over 14.7 million people, or 5.4% of the population, have tried meth at least once. The report also shows that almost 1.6 million people had used meth in the year prior to the survey. In fact, meth is one of the most commonly misused stimulant drugs in the world.
A Highly Addictive Stimulant
Meth affects the central nervous system as a powerful, highly addictive stimulant. The drug was developed in the early 20th century from amphetamine and was originally used as an ingredient in nasal decongestant and bronchial inhalers. Meth differs from amphetamine in that much greater amounts of the drug get into the brain, even in similar doses. Meth also causes longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system.
Classified as a Schedule II stimulant by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meth is only legally available through a prescription that is not refillable. It might be prescribed, in small doses, by a healthcare professional for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as part of a weight-loss treatment.
Forms of Meth Use
When watching for meth abuse signs, it is helpful to know how the drug is used. It can come in several forms that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or taken orally. Smoking or injecting the drugs puts it into the bloodstream and the brain more quickly. This type of use can cause an immediate and intense “rush” feeling, which will then amplify the drug’s potential for addiction as well as the serious health consequences of meth use.
Snorting meth can produce a sense of euphoria within about three to five minutes and taking the drug orally can result in a similar feeling after about 15 to 20 minutes. Meth abuse often occurs in a “binge and crash” pattern as the user tries to maintain the high by taking more and more of the drug. Some people will even go without sleep or food for several days as they continue to abuse meth.
Consequences and Signs of Meth Use
The individual who has been misusing meth will experience serious consequences, socially, medically, and psychologically. Note the signs of meth use, which include aggression, malnutrition, memory loss, psychotic behavior, and severe dental issues. Meth misuse can also contribute to an increased transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Meth abuse signs can also include increased activity and talkativeness in the individual, as well as a decrease in appetite. They will also probably exhibit feelings of extreme well-being or euphoria when they are using the drug.
Signs of Long-Term Meth Abuse
Meth use and abuse often lead to addiction, which is generally characterized by compulsive drug seeking even when the individual realizes the damage the drug is causing. Tolerance to the drug’s effects develops when it is taken repeatedly for long periods of time. The individual will need to take higher doses of the drug and take it more frequently to get the same results.
As a result of this continued meth abuse, the individual may develop difficulty feeling any pleasure other than that delivered by the drug. They might also exhibit symptoms such as insomnia, mood disturbances, confusion, anxiety, and violent behavior. Many people who abuse meth may also experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
Long-term meth users can exhibit physical signs as well, including severe tooth decay and loss, weight loss, and skin sores. They may have a dry mouth and grind their teeth. They may also pick and scratch at their skin, especially if they are hallucinating that insects are crawling under it.
Addiction Treatment in Hemet, California
If you are concerned that someone you care about is using and abusing methamphetamine or other addictive, harmful drugs, we can help. Drug addiction can have serious negative effects on an individual’s mental and physical health. The professionals at Hemet Valley Recovery Center offer the highest degree of medical, psychological, and spiritual expertise to guide them through mental health and addiction treatment and recovery so they can discover their true potential in life.
It is difficult to be in recovery every day, and it can be even more challenging during the pandemic. Should you find yourself struggling at any point, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us at HRVC for more information on our addiction treatment and recovery support programs.