While on meth, people are hyper, feel invincible and don’t sleep. As the dependence on meth starts, expect mood swings and apathy. Physical signs (like meth sores, meth mouth and extreme weight loss) signal meth addiction and long-term meth use. Finding meth is also a clear sign of meth use.
What are the Signs of Meth Addiction?
Anyone that uses meth even though they want to stop or cut back is diagnosable as Methamphetamine Use Disorder (the official name for crystal meth addiction).
Before changes in physical appearance are obvious, you may notice:
- Mood swings
- Disinterest in hobbies / social isolation
- Irritability and anger
- Sores from scratching
- Weight loss
- Life consequences (jail time, loss of parental rights, job loss, theft, damaged family relationships, divorce)
Nearly half of meth users become meth dependent.
Faces of Meth
Many meth addicts look like executives or truck drivers. It’s not always the shocking “faces of meth” we see in the media.
That said, meth addiction is associated with disturbing physical consequences like:
- Pale skin, skin sores from scratching
- Sunken eyes
- Rotting Teeth
- Low body weight
- Facial Tics
- Brain damage
- Problems with coordination and movement
Meth is notorious for causing tooth and gum decay and other dental problems, known as meth mouth or meth teeth.
The dental problems associated with methamphetamine use are quite severe and can progress rapidly. Some of the common oral health issues observed in individuals who abuse methamphetamine include:
Tooth decay: Methamphetamine use often leads to a condition called rampant tooth decay. This is characterized by widespread cavities and decay throughout the mouth. The drug’s acidic nature, reduced saliva production, poor oral hygiene, and sugary cravings contribute to this dental decay.
Gum disease: Methamphetamine use can cause gum inflammation, infection, and ultimately gum disease. The gums may become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress to more severe forms, leading to tooth loss.
Teeth grinding and clenching: Methamphetamine use can lead to bruxism, which is the clenching and grinding of teeth. This habit puts excessive pressure on the teeth and can result in tooth wear, fractures, and even tooth loss.
Dry mouth: Methamphetamine abuse can cause a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth. Reduced saliva production leaves the mouth without its natural defense against bacteria and acid, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Poor oral hygiene: Individuals who abuse methamphetamine often neglect their oral hygiene due to drug-induced changes in behavior and priorities. This lack of oral care, combined with the drug’s effects on saliva production, accelerates the progression of dental problems.
It’s important to note that these dental issues are not exclusive to methamphetamine use, as other factors like poor nutrition and hygiene can also contribute to oral health problems. However, the severity and rapid progression of dental issues associated with methamphetamine use are particularly notable. If you or someone you know is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, seeking professional help is crucial for both physical and oral health.
Meth Mites / Meth Sores
Meth mites are a term to describe the hallucination of crawling on the skin.
The crawling sensation causes meth users to pick or scratch at their skin, resulting in sores and lesions, usually on the face and arms. Meth face sores are one of the more shocking signs of meth use. These sores often become infected and can be dangerous if left untreated.
When using meth or other stimulants, the pupils dilate or become larger.
The pupils remain dilated while the individual is feeling the effects of the meth, but return to normal as the meth effects wear off.
Another common side effect of meth use is psychosis. Meth psychosis is characterized by hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, and delusions.
According to the medical journal CNS Drugs, up to 40% of meth users experience symptoms of meth psychosis.
Most of the time meth psychosis is temporary and goes away after a person stops using. However, long-term psychological damage is possible, especially at high doses.
What are The Signs Someone is On Meth?
Recognizing signs of methamphetamine use can be challenging, as they can vary depending on the individual and the stage of drug use. However, there are some common signs that may indicate someone is using methamphetamine. It’s important to note that these signs are not definitive proof of drug use and should be considered in conjunction with other evidence or observations. Here are some potential signs to look out for:
- Dilated pupils: Methamphetamine use often leads to enlarged pupils, even in well-lit environments.
- Increased energy and hyperactivity: Users may exhibit high levels of energy, restlessness, and increased physical activity.
- Weight loss: Methamphetamine can suppress appetite, leading to significant weight loss over a short period.
- Skin problems: Meth users may experience skin issues such as sores, rashes, or acne due to picking at their skin or poor hygiene.
- Dental problems: As mentioned earlier, severe tooth decay, missing teeth, or oral sores may indicate methamphetamine use (meth mouth).
- Rapid or erratic movements: Methamphetamine use can cause rapid eye movements, twitching, or repetitive movements.
Behavioral and psychological signs:
- Agitation and irritability: Methamphetamine use can lead to heightened anxiety, irritability, and aggression.
- Increased talkativeness: Users may exhibit excessive talking, rapid speech, and a rapid flow of thoughts.
- Paranoia and hallucinations: Methamphetamine abuse can induce paranoia, delusions, or even auditory and visual hallucinations.
- Mood swings: Methamphetamine can cause intense mood swings, including euphoria, followed by irritability and depression during the “crash” phase.
- Neglect of responsibilities: A person using meth may show a decline in performance at work or school, neglect personal hygiene, and withdraw from social activities.
- Financial issues: Methamphetamine addiction can be expensive, leading to financial problems and frequent borrowing or stealing money.
It’s important to approach the situation with empathy and care. If you suspect someone is using methamphetamine, it is recommended to seek professional help, such as reaching out to a healthcare professional, addiction specialist, or counselor, who can provide guidance and support for both the individual using drugs and their loved ones.
How long does a meth high last?
The “high” from meth lasts 4-14 hours – much longer than drugs like heroin or cocaine.
- The extra rush from smoking or injecting meth lasts the first 5-30 minutes of the high.
- Those addicted to meth often use more meth before the high wears off to stay up for days at a time. (These binges are called runs or tweaking).
Whether the high lasts 4 or 14 hours depends on the tolerance that has been built up, the meth purity, other drugs taken at the same time, the dosage of meth and how quickly a specific body metabolizes stimulants.
What are the signs of meth withdrawal?
Meth withdrawal symptoms kick in around 24 hours after the last dose and can last up to three weeks. Symptoms are most intense in the first week People typically start to feel better during week two.
The signs of meth withdrawal:
- Anxiety and Irritability
- Sleep problems (insomnia and hypersomnia)
- Increased appetite
- Meth cravings
People who have built up a significant tolerance to meth usually have more intense withdrawal symptoms. The risk of relapse is high during withdrawal. (See What is relapse?).
Finding hidden meth is a way to know for sure that someone is using it.
What does meth look like?
Most meth is sold in crystal or powdered form, where it is smoked, snorted or dissolved and injected.
- Crystal Meth – looks like clear or white shards of ice. These shards are often smoked in a pipe
- Meth Powder – White or light gray powder
Sometimes, dealers press powdered meth into pills. In pill form, meth can take on many different colors and shapes.
People who make meth sometimes add coloring during the production process to tint their meth a certain color. Blue is a popular color because of the myth that pure meth has a blue tint.
The idea of blue meth being pure was popularized by the show Breaking Bad, but in reality, the purest crystal meth is completely clear.
Meth pills are methamphetamine powder put inside pill capsules or pressed into a tablet. This makes the product easier to sell and more appealing to people who don’t snort, smoke or inject.
Methamphetamine and prescription Adderall have similar effects, so many manufacturers mix meth powder with fillers and press it into a counterfeit Adderall tablet. In recent years, law enforcement has confiscated counterfeit Adderall pills made with methamphetamine.
Meth that is made into counterfeit pills is especially dangerous because someone could easily think they are taking Adderall, but are actually taking methamphetamine.
What does meth smell like?
In its powder, pill, and crystal forms, meth is odorless.
But, you can smell meth when it is being cooked or when it is smoked. It has an ammonia-like odor, similar to many cleaning products. Most people describe it as a “chemical” smell.
Does Meth show up on a Drug Test?
Yes, methamphetamine can be detected in various drug tests. The specific duration of time that methamphetamine remains detectable in the body depends on several factors, including the individual’s metabolism, the amount and frequency of drug use, and the type of drug test being employed. Here are some common drug tests that can detect methamphetamine:
Urine test: Methamphetamine can be detected in urine for approximately 2-5 days after use. However, in chronic or heavy users, it may be detectable for a longer period, up to a week or more.
Blood test: Methamphetamine is typically detectable in the bloodstream for a shorter duration compared to urine. It can be detected within hours after use and up to 1-3 days, depending on various factors.
Saliva test: Methamphetamine can be detected in saliva for a shorter time compared to urine or blood. It is typically detectable within a few minutes to hours after use and can be detected up to 1-2 days.
Hair follicle test: Methamphetamine can be detected in hair follicles for a much longer period compared to other tests. It can be detected for approximately 90 days or even longer, depending on the length of the hair sample collected.
It’s important to note that drug tests have varying detection windows, and the sensitivity of the test can also impact the results. Additionally, different drug testing methodologies and laboratories may have slightly different detection thresholds and accuracies. If you require specific information about drug testing, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a specialized testing facility for accurate and up-to-date information.
How can I get help for meth?
If you are noticing signs of meth abuse, find a treatment center. By the time symptoms are noticeable to others, it’s past occasional use.
Rehabs (like JourneyPure’s meth rehab centers in Tennessee and meth addiction rehab center in Kentucky) treat meth addiction. Plus, these centers treat anything that might have contributed to the meth use in the first place – like social anxiety, depression or trauma. ALso, there are treatment centers in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Texas that can provide treatment for meth addiction as well as other substances too. Bluffs Rehab center is located in Ohio, Swift River is located in Massachusetts, and Texas Recovery Centers.
Whether it’s with Journey Pure or not, please get help!
JourneyPure.com doctors follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, count records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and their own expertise with decades in the fields and their own personal recovery.
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