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What Are the Signs of Methamphetamine Use?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that strongly affects the central nervous system. This drug comes in the form of an illicit substance (crystal meth also known as ice), and a Schedule II stimulant (Desoxyn) which makes it very rarely prescribed through a non-refillable prescription. Methamphetamine has limited uses medically and is rarely prescribed, but it can be prescribed for either ADHD or short-term weight loss. According to the National Institutes of Health:

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, blue, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine causes increased activity and talkativeness, decreased appetite, and a pleasurable sense of well-being or euphoria. However, methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that, at comparable doses, much greater amounts of the drug get into the brain, making it a more potent stimulant. It also has longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system. These characteristics make it a drug with high potential for widespread misuse. (NIH)

Crystal meth is an illicit substance that has been an increasing problem in the United States over the last several years. It resembles glass fragments, hence the name “crystal”. Crystal meth is made by mixing and cooking various over-the-counter drugs and substances together in meth labs. It takes an extreme physical toll on one’s body making it one of the most distressing drugs out on the streets today.

Most Common Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine use can cause a variety of physical, behavioral, and psychological signs and symptoms. Here are some of the possible physical signs of methamphetamine use:

  • Pupil dilation
  • Facial twitches
  • Quick, jerky eye movements
  • High body temperature
  • Increased sweating
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Tooth decay
  • High energy, excitement, and euphoria
  • Frequent picking or scratching of the skin
  • Sores on the face a constant rapid speech
  • Tremors or jerky or twitchy body movements

Anxiety, headaches, and difficulty sleeping are some of the other possible physical signs of methamphetamine abuse. Using methamphetamine can also lead to some changes in behavior, mood, and emotions. Some of these changes can include:

  • Going with little to no sleeps for days on end
  • Aggressive or violent reactions
  • Impulsive or unpredictable behavior
  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Anxious, nervous, or irritable behavior
  • Paranoia or delusions
  • Hallucinations

There are a few behavioral changes that may happen once the effects of the methamphetamine start to wear off, and that could be extreme sleepiness, depression, and possibly irritability. Methamphetamines can also cause some psychological signs and symptoms. Meth increases the levels of dopamine in the brain causing an initial intense euphoria. However, dopamine is also involved in memory and learning, so long-term methamphetamine abuse continually floods the brain with dopamine. Over time this can create an imbalance causing memory problems and the inability to learn new tasks and motor skills.

Crystal Meth Addiction and Tweaking

Often you will hear the word “tweaking” with methamphetamine users. Tweaking is when someone uses meth continuously for anywhere between 3 and 15 days and goes without sleep. It may occur as part of a binge where the person continues to use to try to obtain the original high or euphoria. Tweaking can cause paranoia, confusion, and/or irritability. Once a person is in this state they may be more prone to violence or criminal behavior.

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Recovery from methamphetamine addiction is possible. It is best done in a structured treatment environment. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based treatment programs to cater to the individual needs of each patient. Call us today to get your life back on track and achieve lasting recovery.