Meth Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Read on to learn about the details of meth and the various signs of meth addiction to look out for.

Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a highly addictive illegal substance that acts as a stimulant, directly interacting with the nervous system. The street drug meth has effects similar to prescription drugs used to treat ADHD. The stimulating high this drug provides makes it highly addictive, with numerous adverse effects that arise with addiction.1

Signs of meth addiction

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Understanding Meth

In order to understand meth addiction, it’s crucial to understand methamphetamine itself. This stimulant drug can increase energy levels, confidence, talkativeness, euphoria, and decreased appetite.

Why is Meth Addiction So Widespread?

Meth addiction, also known as tweaking, is widespread due to the large percentages of people who become dependent on ADHD medications. Therefore, addiction to prescription drugs for ADHD can significantly increase the risk of meth addiction.

Meth Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Several physical and behavioral symptoms can signify whether a person is addicted to meth. If you suspect a person is on meth, keep an eye out for these signs.

Physical Signs of Meth Use

  • Meth Mouth: Meth mouth, or excessive tooth decay and missing teeth, is a common physical sign of long-term meth abuse. This is because the substance is very acidic and can cause overly dry mouth, and along with poor dental hygiene, tooth decay is accelterated.2
  • Facial Acne or Sores: Facial acne or sores are often the results of psychosis induced by meth abuse. This psychosis involves the phenomenon of sensing “meth mites” or imaginary bugs under the skin, leading to scratching and picking that can lead to sores.
  • Weight Loss: Due to the decreased appetite that comes with meth addiction, a person may experience dramatic weight loss when abusing meth.3
  • Swollen Eyes: Swollen eyes are another physical sign that a person is on meth. This is often exacerbated by the lack of sleep caused by meth abuse.
  • Increased Libido: A person may experience an increased libido when addicted to meth due to the increased energy levels caused by the drug.

Changes in Behavior

  • Loss of Sleep: The increased energy that comes with meth consumption may lead to a severe loss of sleep.
  • Loss of Appetite: Meth addiction often leads to a loss of appetite and the inability to eat consistently. Disordered eating is a common symptom of meth addiction.3
  • Frequent Lying: Frequent lying may become a habit in those suffering from meth addiction. The person may feel ashamed of their addiction, leading them to lie about their actions.
  • Stealing: A person addicted to meth may turn to stealing to fund their habits. Oftentimes, people who have become addicted to meth lose their average sense of empathy.
  • No Longer Doing Activities They Love: When suffering from meth addiction, a person may find themselves no longer engaging in activities that they once loved due to a lack of motivation.

Changes in Mood

  • Hyperactivity: Hyperactivity and bursts of energy are common symptoms of meth use. The energizing effects of this drug make it a potent stimulant.
  • Violent Outbursts: Violent outbursts and anger management issues can result from becoming dependent on meth.
  • Mood Swings: Mood swings and the inability to control or cope with emotions are other behavioral effects of meth use.
  • Outbursts: Unexpected and inappropriate outbursts can be caused by long-term meth abuse due to the instability of the nervous system.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety is a common long-term effect that can occur when a person becomes addicted to meth.3

Additional Symptoms of Meth Use

Tweaking

Tweaking is a slang term used to refer to meth addiction. Here are some additional symptoms that can arise with the use of meth:

Paranoia

Paranoia and delusional thinking can occur with severe meth addiction. In some cases, this can lead to psychosis.

Confusion

Meth use can also lead to confusion and lack of awareness of one’s current surroundings.

Irritability

Irritability and inability to manage anger are other common behavioral symptoms of meth abuse. 

Meth Paraphernalia

To identify if somebody is using meth, keep an eye out for the specific paraphernalia used when consuming meth.
  • Glass Pipes: Glass pipes, sometimes referred to as glass roses, consist of a glass tube attached to a glass dome/bubble.
  • Needles: Needles and syringes are other methods of consuming meth.
  • Rolled Up Dollar Bills, Empty Ink Pens, or Cut Straws: These objects can be used to ingest powdered meth nasally.
  • Aluminum Foil, Spoons, or Cans: These objects can be used to freebase meth. If the objects are found together, it is likely that the owner of the objects is consuming meth.
  • Little Baggies: Little baggies are often used to sell and purchase meth on the streets.
  • Tourniquets: Tourniquets are used when injecting methamphetamine, making it a common form of paraphernalia.  

Problems With Several Areas of Their Life

A person addicted to meth may experience problems within several areas of their life. A person risks getting fired if they let their meth addiction interfere with their work ethics. If meth addiction interferes with schoolwork, a person may be at risk of dropping out of school. 

Financial struggle is common amongst people with severe meth addiction due to their inability to hold a job and handle their responsibilities. Meth addiction can lead to relationship problems if people prioritize drug use over their loved ones. Because meth consumption is illegal, meth addiction can lead to legal issues and jail time.

What To Do if Someone is Showing Signs of Meth Use

There are several steps a person can take if they want to help a person showing signs of meth abuse.
What To Do if Someone is Showing Signs of Meth Use

Confront Them Calmly

Always remain calm when confronting someone addicted to meth, so the conflict doesn’t escalate.

Express Concerns for Their Well-Being

Letting the person know that they are cared for is a great way to help them understand that the person just wants to help them.

Do Research on Meth Addiction

Understanding meth addiction can help people take the right approach when lending a helping hand.

Don’t Enable Their Addiction

Enabling a person’s addiction can prolong their suffering by making them believe people will support them in their addiction.

Try to Get Them into a Drug Rehab

Encouraging a person to enter a drug rehab facility is one of the best ways to get them on the path to recovery.

Don’t Forget About Person Care

Taking care of oneself is essential if a person wants to help someone suffering from meth addiction

Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Signs and Symptoms

  • Anxiety: Anxiety and panic attacks are common symptoms of meth withdrawal.
  • Fatigue and sleepiness: Without the stimulating effects of meth, a person may experience fatigue and excessive sleepiness during withdrawal.
  • Depression: A person may experience moderate to severe depression during meth withdrawal.
  • Psychosis: Psychosis and paranoia can occur in withdrawal from severe meth addictions.
  • Meth cravings: Meth cravings are very common during withdrawal and can increase the risk of relapse.  

Coping and Relief

Exercise and movement are some of the best ways to cope with discomfort related to meth withdrawal. Finding things to distract oneself makes it possible to take a person’s mind off the discomfort that comes with withdrawal. 

Avoiding triggers can help to decrease the risk of relapse during withdrawal. Eating a healthy diet can help rejuvenate the body and get people back on the path towards healthier living.