Meth, short for methamphetamine, takes an extreme toll on the body, both physically and mentally, making it one of the most addictive and dangerous substances out there. In both the short- and long-term, meth can produce negative side effects, and always carries the risk of overdose.
If you’re worried that one of your loved ones may be using meth, be on the lookout for some of these telltale signs:
If your loved one is abusing meth, one of the first things you may notice is a significant change in his or her behavior.
You’ll notice that things that once were important to them – hobbies, relationships, their career, etc. – have suddenly taken a backseat. You might also see that they’ve become paranoid and/or hyperactive, have lost their appetite, and may have trouble sleeping.
At the end of a drug binge, your loved one may experience a period of insomnia and anxiety referred to as “tweaking”. This phase occurs when someone using meth can’t achieve a high anymore and can create psychological effects like confusion, irritability, paranoia, and even hallucinations.
Taking a look at your loved one’s mouth may provide you with an obvious sign if they have indeed been using meth for a while.
Long-term users of meth will experience excessive tooth decay and gum disease, known colloquially as “meth mouth”. This is caused by the lack of saliva that the drug promotes, combined with teeth grinding, and a lack of teeth brushing when high.
Extreme Weight Loss
Meth promotes an unhealthy, significant, and sudden weight loss in users in multiple ways.
First, the drug reduces the appetite of its users – when the user isn’t interested in eating, they will of course lose weight. Meth also speeds up many body processes, including heart rate, breathing, and rate of calories burned. As the user continually takes in less food and nutrients, the body will begin breaking down muscle for energy.
Meth can cause a range of skin sores. This is often due to a combination of psychological and physical side effects.
Many meth users will pick at their skin because of a condition known as formication or “meth mites”. The drug can cause a sensation that makes the user feel like bugs are crawling on or below their skin.
With a weak immune system, these open sores don’t heal as easily and can often get infected.
A methamphetamine addiction is one of the most dangerous addictions out there. Getting your loved one the proper help and support to get them onto the journey towards recovery could be the difference between life and death.