If someone that you care about was struggling with methamphetamine addiction, would you know how to help? Would you even be able to recognize that they had a problem? Methamphetamine addiction continues to have a devastating effect on communities throughout the United States. Therefore, getting the facts about this substance use disorder is an important step in the effort to get people the help they need. When you understand what the signs of methamphetamine addiction are, you’ll be better prepared to make a meaningful difference.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive and extremely dangerous drug. It typically appears as a white powder or clear rocks. When it’s in rock form, it may be referred to as crystal meth). People who use methamphetamine usually smoke, snort, or inject it.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 1.5 million Americans demonstrated signs of meth addiction in the previous 12 months. NIDA has also reported that meth overdose may have led to more than 23,000 deaths in 2020.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. This means that when a person uses meth, the immediate impact includes increased energy and decreased appetite. When a person is under the influence of meth, they may become more active and talkative. Methamphetamine use can also trigger the brain to release a flood of dopamine, the chemical that is associated with pleasure.
Any methamphetamine use is dangerous. In addition, possible negative outcomes include addiction, overdose, and death.
Effects of Methamphetamine Use
It is no exaggeration to say that methamphetamine use can have a profound negative impact on just about every part of a person’s life.
For example, the many potential negative effects of methamphetamine use include:
- Legal problems, including being arrested and jailed
- Physical injuries due to impaired judgment and coordination
- Job loss and unemployment
- Falling behind or failing in school
- Ruined relationships
- Financial difficulties
- Social withdrawal and isolation
Also, continued methamphetamine use will cause a person to develop tolerance. This sign of meth addiction means that they will need to use greater amounts of the drug to experience the effects they desire.
Increasing the amount and frequency of meth use also increases a person’s risk for considerable harm, including overdose and death.
Dangers of Long-Term Methamphetamine Use
Long-term methamphetamine abuse can cause considerable harm, including:
- Development or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders
- Physical illnesses and other medical problems due to poor self-care
- Increased risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other blood-borne pathogens
- Kidney damage
- Heart disease
- Irreversible damage to parts of the brain
These dangers can be avoided by getting proper care. When a person is in a methamphetamine treatment program, they can minimize their risk for continued harm.
Physical Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction
Untreated meth addiction can have a devastating impact on a person’s body. The following are among the more common physical signs of methamphetamine addiction:
- Dramatic changes in energy level
- Significant weight loss
- Racing heart rate
- Gum disease and tooth decay
- Sores, scabs, and rashes on various areas of the body
- Apparent lack of attention to grooming and hygiene
People may also exhibit the following behavioral signs of methamphetamine addiction:
- Using meth when it is obviously unsafe to do so, such as when driving a car
- Spending large amounts of time acquiring, using, and recovering from the drug
- Frequently missing school or work
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Failing to pay bills, attend important events, or meet other personal responsibilities
- Trying to stop using meth, but being unable to do so
The signs of methamphetamine addiction can vary from person to person. But anyone who exhibits any of these signs may be in danger.
Psychological Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction
In addition to physical and behavioral symptoms, people may also struggle with several psychological signs of methamphetamine addiction.
Examples of the psychological signs of meth addiction include:
- Intense urges to use methamphetamine
- Loss of interest in events and activities that used to be important
- Hallucinations and delusions (seeing, hearing, and believing things that have no basis in reality)
- Drastic mood swings
- Psychosis (becoming detached from reality)
Please note that many of the psychological signs listed above can also be symptoms of a mental health disorder. If you suspect that someone you care about has become addicted to methamphetamine, scheduling an assessment with a doctor can be extremely important. Identifying the nature of the challenge is a vital first step on the path to better health.
Recovery From Methamphetamine Addiction is Possible
Methamphetamine addiction is a treatable condition. When a person gets the type and level of care that’s right for them, they can stop using meth and begin to work toward recovery.
Treatment for methamphetamine addiction can include detoxification, inpatient care, intensive outpatient programming (IOP), and outpatient services. Detoxification can help a person get through withdrawal safely and with minimal discomfort. At the inpatient, IOP, and outpatient levels, people can participate in therapy to learn how to live a healthier, drug-free life.
During treatment, people can gain valuable information about addiction and recovery. They can address the issues that may have contributed to their meth use in the first place. And they can develop better stress management and conflict resolution skills. These capabilities can help them respond to difficult experiences in a healthy manner, without resorting to meth use.
In addition to building new skills, people who receive treatment for methamphetamine addiction can also discover a renewed sense of hope and purpose. With the right tools and guidance, they can build a foundation for successful, long-term recovery.
Get Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment in South Florida
Ambrosia Treatment Center is a trusted source of effective care for methamphetamine addiction in South Florida. If your life has been disrupted by meth addiction, our team can provide you with the services and support you need. Your path to a healthier future may be much closer than you realize. Visit our admissions page today to learn how we can help.