Methamphetamine, often shortened to “meth,” is a highly addictive, extremely powerful stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It can be taken by smoking, swallowing (pill), snorting, or injecting the powder which has been dissolved in alcohol or water. Crystal meth looks like fragments of glass or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
Because the euphoric effects of this drug start and fade quickly, people often take repeated dosages in a “binge and crash” pattern. In some instances, addicts take it in a form of binging referred to as a “run” – in these cases, people take it for every few hours for up to days at a time, completely ignoring sleep and food. Methamphetamine is a particularly dangerous illicit substance, which is why it’s vital to know the warning signs of use.
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Because meth is a simulant, it has specific effects on people who use it. They may exhibit hyperactivity and wakefulness, being unable to sleep for days at a time, and will neglect to eat due to a markedly reduced appetite. They will become very talkative and agitated. Breathing rate and heart rate will both increase or become irregular. Meth users experience a “rush,” or feeling of euphoria, in addition to their paranoia.
Another tell-tale sign of meth use is “tweaking.” This term refers to a period lasting between three and fifteen days in which addicts experience anxiety and insomnia. It occurs after a drug binge, and the person using meth cannot achieve a high any longer. They may experience hallucinations and become violent. There is also a “crash” phase in which a person experiences a lack of dopamine that meth was previously supplying – for one to three days, the addict will exhibit behaviors such as long periods of sleep, intense cravings for the drug, and marked depression.
There are also visible signs of meth addiction that you may identify in a loved one. The physical appearance of a person on meth may include…
- Skin Crawling: this disorder, called formication, causes addicts to complain about having crawling skin
- Skin Picking: meth addicts are known to compulsively pick at their skin, leaving marks that may look like acne scars, leaving open sores on the face
- Tooth Decay: meth adversely affects dental hygiene, resulting in tooth decay
- Hair Loss: due to a combination of harmful substance and a notable lack of nutrients, hair breakage is common
- Burns: common on the lips or fingers
- Extreme Weight Loss: hyperactivity, loss of appetite, and wakefulness all contribute to a rapid, extreme weight loss
- Dilated Pupils: if you’re wondering whether someone is on meth, check their pupils – dilated ones may be a sign of drug use
Because the long-term health effects of meth use are significant – it can cause heart disease, liver failure, rotting teeth, kidney failure, malnutrition, premature aging, cardiac arrythmia, seizures, impaired cognition, and psychosis – it is vital for users to receive help as soon as possible. Meth is a highly addictive, dangerous substance. If you suspect that your loved one has developed a chemical dependency on methamphetamine, consider hosting an intervention as soon as possible in order to convince your loved one to seek treatment. However, research shows that treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.
Professional rehabilitation and supervised detoxification are both key to achieving lasting recovery. Treatment for meth is particularly challenging because of the underlying psychological reasons that contribute to one’s substance use. If someone has engaged in long-term meth abuse, it is recommended that they attend a residential treatment program. Within a rehabilitation center, they will work directly with counselors to learn new coping mechanisms that will prepare them for a life without drugs.
Treatment for meth addiction should include…
- Individual Counseling (CBT, DBT, EMDR)
- Group Therapy
- 12-Step Immersion
- A Positive, Supportive Environment
- Individualized Treatment Plans
- Treatment for Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
- Addiction Education
- Family Involvement
- Continuing Care
- Transitional Living
Meth Addiction Treatment in Long Beach, CA
At New Found Life, our beautiful facility and comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment program is the right choice for anyone looking to start over. We work with several insurance carriers, including Cigna, BlueCross BlueShield, Aetna, and more. To speak with a member of our admissions staff and verify your insurance for meth addiction treatment, call 800-635-9899 today.