Methamphetamine, while it is not as commonly used as drugs like heroin or cocaine, is highly addictive and widely used. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, upwards of six percent of adults have suffered from meth addiction. This statistic has the potential to grow if we don’t look out for those around us who may be at risk for drug addiction. The effects of methamphetamine addiction are disheartening, to say the least. Treatment programs can combat withdrawal symptoms if the addiction is caught soon enough. This article will discuss some signs and symptoms of meth abuse so you can keep an eye out for your people.
What’s the Big Deal?
Meth is widely talked about, but there is not much buzz on what it actually does. First off, it can be addictive after the first use. This is a scary prospect, but it puts a lot into perspective. Drug abusers often don’t think about the consequences of using something once, but dependence on this drug can develop after a single use.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that methamphetamine has become more underground than it used to be. That is, it has become an illicit drug and the prescription drugs that contain it no longer exist. While law enforcement is doing their best to crack down on it, drug abusers can still get their hands on it. It is an uncomfortable thought to know how unregulated this product is.
With some other drugs and alcohol, a person could build a tolerance. With meth, there is very little to no tolerance to the drug. You simply feel a huge reaction to it each time you use. The signs and symptoms are certainly helpful in realizing that someone you know might need addiction treatment. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Physical Symptoms of Meth Addiction
The most common physical signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction are rapid weight loss, sleep deprivation, high body temperature and decreased sex drive. This is not to say you should assume that a loved one is using meth because they appear to have these addiction symptoms. However, if you know that someone has a history of substance abuse and they have these symptoms, it’s worth noting.
The more lasting effects of methamphetamine are more serious. This can be anything from severe dental issues to permanent brain damage that affects a person’s ability to move for the rest of their life. Meth abuse has also been shown to weaken the body’s immune system. These serious effects of meth might not be seen right away. However, you should keep them in mind should you decide to stage an intervention for your loved one.
Meth Addiction and Mental Health
The signs and symptoms of meth on a person’s mental health are easier to spot. It is common for a person that is actively on meth to experience euphoria. They will seem extremely happy in a way that is almost irritated like they cannot put into words how happy they feel. They might also exhibit the opposite of this happiness and be very angry. These behaviors will seem unpredictable to you and change quickly.
Meth abuse is really scary, as we mentioned because addiction is highly likely after a single use. After a first use, it is common to experience wakefulness and a general sense of happiness. This is so easy to get hooked on.
Imagine the cumulative effects of these euphoric or angry bouts with meth abuse. The National Institute of Health writes that effects of methamphetamine on the mental health are pretty huge. Addicts experience anxiety, confusion, possible psychotic symptoms and even mood disorders.
If you’re seeing rapid changes in the general mood of your loved one, that always calls for concern. If they have a history of substance abuse or they haven’t been spending as much time with you, this could make those concerns even more valid. Treatment centers tackle these huge mental health changes very gracefully. There is a ton of support that you or a loved one will receive to cope with these struggles.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms
Now that we’ve talked about what a person acts like when they are on meth and how that can affect them long term, let’s talk about withdrawal symptoms. Usually, if your loved one is around a family member or close friend, they’re not going to be actively using. This means that the behavior you’ll need to look for is the signs and symptoms of withdrawal.
The major withdrawal symptoms of meth are fatigue, a rise in appetite and a painful headache. If you’re noticing that your loved one went from not sleeping, not eating and having the continuous energy of being sleepy, hungry and tired all the time, that’s a huge red flag.
For the first few days in a treatment center, a drug addict’s body reacts to withdrawal in an extreme way. A meth abuser will eat and sleep constantly as that is the opposite of what their body is used to. After some time, their rhythm should return back to a more constant one with the help of their immune system and some behavioral therapy.
Do not Hesitate to Call a Treatment Center
An intervention is going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be a struggle to find the proper words to say to someone you love. With that said, you should intervene right when you notice these symptoms of meth abuse.
After the intervention, do not hesitate to reach out to a treatment facility and talk to them about options. Your loved one could have a co-occurring disorder and really need serious help. Your loved one could be getting in with the wrong crowd. The issue should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure that the effects of meth on their life aren’t deadly.
A treatment center will take care of your loved one and make them feel safe to recover. A treatment center knows the right medical attention, behavioral therapy and cares to ensure a better future. Keep an eye out for behavior that concerns you, and be open to confrontation even though it can be scary.