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Meth Use Signs and Symptoms

Methamphetamine has become one of the most dangerous drugs in America. Highly addictive, extremely potent, and easily accessible, meth is finding its way into more and more homes across the U.S. In 2020 alone, an estimated 2.5 million Americans actively used meth. Tragically, that same year, 30,000 Americans lost their lives as a direct result of meth use. Learning how to identify the signs of meth use can help get loved ones the attention and assistance they need. At the Retreat of Atlanta, our clients take back their lives and break free of meth addiction.

Dangers of Meth 

Meth is a particularly dangerous drug for several key reasons, including accessibility, probability of addiction, and resulting health complications. Methamphetamine can be made in many ways and in many forms. Everyday household items are often used to make meth, and therefore manufacturing the drug is cheap. This has played a significant role in meth’s rise in popularity. For instance, more expensive drugs like cocaine and heroin have been replaced by much cheaper and easier-to-produce methamphetamine.    

In addition, meth affects the user’s central nervous system. Unlike many drugs, meth does not need to be used multiple times to develop an addiction. In fact, just one use is enough to develop a full-blown meth addiction. Those who have previously struggled with Adderall or Vyvanse addictions are also very susceptible to meth use, as the results are similar. Often, users seek out more accessible drugs with similar effects, and many turn to meth use. 

Furthermore, methamphetamine has detrimental effects on a person’s health. These health complications include permanent damage to the heart, brain, and teeth. For example, a 2022 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed a 32% increased risk of cardiovascular disease for meth users. Meth also damages the kidneys, liver, and lungs and can cause strokes and death.

What Are the Signs of Meth Use?

Concerned families may ask how to tell if someone is using meth. Extensive meth use is difficult to hide. Both physical and psychological meth use signs are often quite visible and relatively easy for non-users to identify. Compared to many drugs that allow the user to function semi-normally or appear “put together,” meth use is far more difficult to mask. This is especially true in the latter stages of addiction. Learning these physical and psychological signs helps families identify meth users and get them the care they need. 

Physical Signs of Meth Use

Physical meth use signs are commonly visible and easy to identify. For example, extensive meth use causes tooth decay and damage, often referred to as “Meth mouth.” This can be observed as jagged or missing teeth, black spots on both gums and teeth or yellowing of the tongue. In addition, paying attention to one’s skin can also help identify whether someone is actively using meth. Sores, scabs, and open wounds on the arms, legs, or face are all signs of meth use. Twitching, inability to sit still, restlessness, and sleeplessness are also common, easy-to-spot signs of an active meth user.

Psychological Meth Use Signs

Psychological signs of meth use are a bit harder to spot than physical signs. However, knowing what behaviors to look for when identifying signs of meth use can be vital to detecting someone struggling with meth addiction. Paranoia, mood swings, and emotional outbursts are all psychological meth use signs. Meth use can also lead to psychosis, meaning the user may have hallucinations, delusions, and extreme paranoia. People in this state of mind can endanger themselves and anyone around them. After learning how to tell if someone is using meth, it is best to seek professional help for a loved one struggling with addiction. 

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal often occurs over a two-week period following a user’s last dose. Short-term meth withdrawals include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Appetite changes

These withdrawal symptoms typically occur during the first two weeks. More long-term meth withdrawal symptoms that may persist for weeks, months, or even years include:

  • Irregular sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble thinking
  • Cravings
  • Depression

It is always important to seek a meth detox program in order to put recovering users in the best and safest position possible to go through meth withdrawal.

How to Help a Meth Addict

After learning about the signs of meth use, the next step is to learn about the treatment methods and common questions regarding detox. If a loved one is struggling with an addiction to meth, there are numerous options available. Providing the appropriate support system can make the difference between a successful recovery and tragedy. By getting a loved one the help needed to reclaim their freedom from meth addiction, the door opens to a happier, healthier, drug-free life. 

Create a Solid Foundation for the Conversation

Find a time when a loved one is sober to talk about the concerns of meth use. This will help increase the likelihood that the conversation will be productive and that they will remember it. Keep in mind that people addicted to meth may not act like themselves. Therefore, it is best to ask questions, use active listening, and let them know they are in a safe space to talk. 

Additionally, try to set realistic expectations for what will come out of the conversation and recognize that they are struggling. Since meth users can become defensive when confronted about addiction, it is more constructive to focus on concerns about their health and well-being rather than making accusatory statements.

Make a Plan

Once loved ones agree they need help, let them know they have family support. Next, see what questions they may have about treatment programs or concerns about approaching recovery. While no one can be promised an easy recovery, it helps to ensure a loved one they aren’t alone in this battle. Thank them for listening and being open to getting help. Then present some information about treatment options for them to consider. Finally, offer to help a loved one learn more about medical detox by speaking to a compassionate addiction expert during a phone assessment. 

Seek Help for Meth Recovery in Atlanta, GA

Here at Retreat Of Atlanta, we are here to help you or your loved one recover from addiction. Located in Eatonton, Georgia, we provide a tranquil environment dedicated to the healing process. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff of addiction professionals will give you the tools to free yourself or a loved one from addiction. Offering inpatient drug and alcohol detox rehabilitation programs, Retreat Of Atlanta is at the forefront of combating addiction and giving our clients hope. There has never been a better time to break free of meth addiction. 

Visit our admissions page today to take the first steps in the recovery journey.


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