What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

Meth is one of the most commonly abused drugs. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of meth addiction.

Meth One of Most Abused Drugs

Addiction is a social problem with severe, far-reaching effects on families and communities. One study finds that drug abuse-related deaths in the United States alone are very close to the one million mark. This only further highlights just how many are affected by addiction.1

There are several different drugs and substances abused worldwide. Among this vast lineup of abused substances, meth ranks as one of the most abused drugs.

Meth Addiction

What is Meth Addiction?

Meth addiction is the compulsive, repetitive use or consumption of meth by an individual irrespective of any accompanying symptoms or adverse effects. Meth addiction (like most other kinds of addiction) usually develops over time due to repetitive drug use. However, it may occur much quicker in certain individuals for several reasons, such as genetics or family and personal history.2

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, speed, and ice, is a potent central nervous system stimulant with a high addiction-causing profile. It usually resembles a white powder or shiny blue-toned rocks. It can also be in the form of pills or glass fragments. One of the factors responsible for the widespread occurrence of meth use disorder is the fact that it can be injected, smoked, swallowed, or snorted.3

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This classification means that methamphetamine is a drug with limited medical applications but a very high potential for misuse and abuse.4

Why Meth Is So Addictive

When meth is first introduced into the body, it produces an intense euphoric or “meth high” feeling. Subsequently, people who abuse meth (crystal meth users) repeatedly take meth to replicate that meth high effect. Over time, the body becomes dependent on the presence of meth due to repeated meth use leading to meth addiction.

What Does Meth Feel Like?

Knowing meth’s effects on the body and brain will help you understand even more why it’s so addictive and widely abused. Meth is a central stimulant, which significantly affects the brain and central nervous system functioning. But how exactly does the brain react to meth?

Meth and the Brain

When meth is ingested and goes into the bloodstream, it causes a feeling of euphoric “rush” or “flash,” usually referred to as a “meth high.” This occurs because meth causes the release of a large amount of dopamine in the brain.

Usually, the brain produces and releases dopamine by itself, however, with repeated meth ingestion, the body gets used to the high dopamine-producing effects of meth ingestion, resulting in a reconfiguration of normal brain functioning and increased dependence on meth use.4

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

Effective treatment intervention for meth use requires you to identify the signs of meth use. The symptoms of meth use can be divided into two broad categories: 1. Physical, and 2. Psychological, behavioral, and emotional.

Physical Symptoms and Signs of Meth Use

The physical symptoms of meth use are usually the most noticeable meth abuse symptoms. These signs of meth abuse include the following:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Dehydration
  • Elevated temperature
  • Tooth and bone degradation
  • Meth skin reaction and abscesses on the skin surrounding injection sites
  • Elasticity loss of the skin
  • Decreased libido
  • Osteoporosis

Psychological, Behavioral, and Emotional Symptoms

The psychological, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of meth use include:

  • Paranoia
  • Social isolation
  • Keeping drug use a secret from others
  • Violent or risky behaviors
  • Relationship problems
  • Impulsivity
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensations of insects crawling underneath the skin
  • Meth mood swings
  • Disorganized thoughts

Drugs Commonly Combined With Meth

In addition to the fact that crystal meth users can ingest meth into their bodies in several different ways, another common practice has contributed to increased meth abuse; the combination and simultaneous ingestion of meth with other drugs.

Some drugs commonly combined with meth in cases of meth use disorder include:

Dangers of Combining

Although in and of itself, methamphetamine use is discouraged because of its addiction-causing effects, among other things, methamphetamine warnings also include the combination of this drug with other substances, as this could result in even more severe meth side effects.

How Do People Use Methamphetamine?

As mentioned earlier, one primary reason why there are a lot of people addicted to meth is the fact that there are quite a number of ways meth can be ingested into the body. Ways people use methamphetamine include the following:

    • Smoking: Smoking methamphetamines is one of the most common ways meth is abused. It is important to note that the effects of smoking meth can include the development of respiratory diseases alongside addiction issues.
    • Swallowing
    • Snorting
    • Injecting: Meth users behaviors also include injecting meth

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

Meth effects on the body can range from relatively mild, short-term effects of meth use like meth mood swings to much more severe long-term effects.

Meth Addiction

Short-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

The short-term effects of meth use include the following:

  • Increased wakefulness and physical activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Faster breathing
  • Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature

Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

Long-term meth side effects include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Addiction
  • Severe dental problems
  • Intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
  • Changes in brain structure and function
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Sleeping problems
  • Violent behavior

Withdrawal from Meth

The side effects of meth withdrawal can be so dangerous that they also form a part of methamphetamine warnings. So it is recommended that treatment for meth addiction be carried out or handled by licensed professionals to ensure the safety of patients.

Find Help For Meth Addiction at Alta Centers

Are you currently dealing with meth addiction, or do you have a loved one who is? If you are looking for a treatment center that offers safe and effective withdrawal from meth treatments, Alta Centers is the perfect place for you. At Alta, our seasoned team of licensed professionals will safely help and guide you through stages of meth withdrawal treatment, such as:

  • Meth detox 
  • Behavioral treatment 
  • Meth addiction rehab

Reach out today, and let us help you finally eliminate meth addiction from your life.

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.