What a Methamphetamine Addiction Looks Like

Published On: December 21, 20233.5 min read708 wordsCategories: Methamphetamine

Classified by the DEA as a Schedule II drug, methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant known for its rapid-acting effects of euphoria. Even though amphetamine (from which methamphetamine is produced) is still used pharmaceutically to manage symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy, illegally manufactured street methamphetamine is not. 

Effects of methamphetamine use

Illicit substances are most often sought out for their effects and are regularly used as a means of unhealthy coping. Methamphetamine is no different, as users seek to experience the highs of the drug through the various methods of use, including smoking, snorting and injecting. 

Methamphetamine has both long and short-term effects – while both can be negative, the shorter, addictive effects are the ones most often sought out. 

Short-term effects of methamphetamine include: 

Long-term effects of using meth include:

  • Increased risk of addiction 
  • Decreased cognitive functioning, including memory loss, poor coordination and overall confusion 
  • Heightened risk for serious heart disease
  • Changes in mood, including anxiety, paranoia and irritability/agitation or violence
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Weight loss
  • Dental disease

When use is left unchecked, one’s brain and body can go into significant disrepair and suffer immensely from the negative physical effects.

Signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use

These long-term effects of methamphetamine use will indicate to you the presence of a problem. But if your family member is struggling with addiction to meth, you would want to get them the help they need much sooner than when those long-term signs begin manifesting. 

To do so and be proactive, there are several earlier signs of meth use to look out for so you might provide the support your loved one needs immediately. 

  • Withdrawal You may notice your loved one fails to show up to family events or social obligations; they may be struggling to maintain their school load; possibly they are more frequently absent from work – when drug addiction is the main focus, all other obligations fall to the wayside 
  • Disinterest – Those struggling with addiction tend to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities, including hobbies, events and even people; they may stop pursuing healthy habits and lose all interest in maintaining their physical appearance or their living space
  • Financial challenges – For no apparent reason, your loved one may begin complaining of financial difficulties even though there was no known sudden financial burden; if funds are going towards drug use, there is often little left for maintaining other financial responsibilities
  • Changes in appearance – In addition to not taking care of oneself, you may notice other changes like weight loss, wounds on the skin or frequent illness as a result of a weakened immune system
  • Changes in mood and behavior – Because of how meth negatively impacts the brain, it is not surprising that those addicted to the substance may display erratic, uncharacteristic behaviors; expression of increased anxiety, paranoia or hallucinations may be a cry for help, while angry outbursts may be a clear sign something is wrong
  • Unemployment – If tardiness and absenteeism persist, unemployment usually follows; if chronic unemployment is noticed, it may be an indicator that something is present hindering your loved one from being able to maintain a job

Just because a loved one is displaying some of the mental and physical signs of methamphetamine use, it is important to refrain from jumping to conclusions – but, should these signs persist and effects are noticed frequently, it may be time to have an honest conversation with your family member or friend and see if there is something you can do to help. 

Help for meth use

Substance addiction is a challenging recovery as both the physical body and the mental sphere need the time and the space to fully recover. No matter how desperately you desire to help your loved one, it’s important to remember that addiction is best addressed with a therapist. 

Thankfully, plenty of programs exist to get your loved one the help they need so they may get back on track for recovery as quickly as possible. To learn more about addiction recovery programs, including methamphetamine recovery, contact Freedom Detox by calling 800-475-2312 or contact us online to learn more.

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