Methamphetamine addiction signs and symptoms
Methamphetamine, which is often referred to as ‘meth’, ‘crystal’, and ‘crystal meth’, is a powerful, dangerous, and highly addictive synthetic substance. As well as causing addiction to develop quickly, meth also results in users experiencing a rush of energy, euphoria and enhanced self-confidence. Meth use also causes the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure, and which is also commonly referred to as one of the brain’s ‘happy chemicals’.
The effects of meth typically last for a few hours, after which, users experience a draining of energy and a simultaneous emotional crash or ‘comedown’. The intensity of meth’s effects, combined with their relatively brief duration and the negative comedown, often prompt users to continue to ingest the drug again and again in order to maintain the high and avoid the crash. However, the continued use of meth can cause significant long-term physical and psychological harm and can even be fatal.
Due to the devastating long-term problems that are associated with meth addiction, it is hugely important to understand the signs and symptoms of meth addiction, in order to identify and tackle this serious condition in a timely manner. At Manor Clinic, we are able to provide expert, comprehensive addiction treatment to support our patients to overcome their addiction to meth, tackle their symptoms of meth addiction, and resume the healthy and happy lives that they deserve.
What are the signs and symptoms of meth addiction?
The signs and symptoms of meth addiction vary from person to person, and also depend on the extent of an individual’s meth use and the method that they have been using to consume it. However, the following are all common physical, psychological and behavioural/social signs that a person has been abusing meth and has developed a dangerous addiction.
Physical symptoms of meth addiction:
- Increased heart rate and body temperature
- Flushed skin
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid eye movement
- Uncontrollable and erratic twitching
- Damage to the mouth, teeth, and gums
- Weight loss
- Bruised or scabbed skin
- Developing a tolerance to meth – finding that you need to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the desired ‘high’
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t taken methamphetamine for a certain amount of time or try to cut back on the amount of meth that you are using
Psychological symptoms of meth addiction:
- Intense mood swings
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness
- Agitation and aggression
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Impaired judgement
- Inability to make effective decisions
- Exacerbation of any existing mental health conditions
Behavioural/social symptoms of meth addiction:
- Continuing to abuse meth even after experiencing negative effects as a result of this
- Feeling as though methamphetamine has taken over your life
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and attempting to recover from the effects of meth
- Driving or engaging in other risky behaviours when under the influence of meth
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once important to you
- Failing to meet personal responsibilities
- Being incapable of controlling the amount or frequency of your meth use
- Attempting and failing to stop taking meth
- Becoming uninterested in grooming, personal hygiene and physical appearance
- Picking obsessively at hair or skin
- Lying to loved ones about the extent of your methamphetamine use
- Withdrawing from family and friends, resulting in social isolation
- Finding that you only tend to associate with other meth addicts
- Possession of syringes, needles, and other paraphernalia related to injecting meth
What are the effects of meth withdrawal?
Taking meth in a prolonged and repeated manner can result in an individual developing a physical and psychological dependence on this substance. As a result, when they stop or dramatically reduce their meth intake, they will typically experience a range of distressing and unpleasant meth withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Intense cravings for meth
- Extreme fatigue
At Manor Clinic, we offer a rigorous detox programme. The purpose of detox for meth addiction is to remove all traces of meth from an individual’s body, whilst controlling withdrawal symptoms in a medically managed environment. Following detox, patients are then equipped to commence with intensive therapy to address the psychological components of their addiction.
What are the effects of meth overdose?
Every time an individual consumes meth, they are putting themselves at risk of overdosing on this substance, which can cause a range of extreme effects and can even result in death. The following are all signs that an individual may have overdosed on meth:
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid or slow heartbeat
- Extremely high or low blood pressure
- Dangerously high body temperature
This page was reviewed by Sarina Wheatman (FDAP) in October 2019 and is scheduled to be reviewed again in October 2021.