Meth Abuse in the Family: How to Tell if They’re Using

Meth Abuse in the Family

Methamphetamine addiction is a growing concern for many American families. Over the years, the incidence of meth-related deaths and drug overdose has increased throughout the United States. Without drug addiction treatment, meth abuse can destroy lives and disrupt the peace of your household. It can even prove to be fatal.

In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to look out for—from the earliest signs of methamphetamine use to the late signs of meth addiction. By knowing the signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use, you can:

  • Find out how meth affects the body
  • Discover whether a family member is abusing meth
  • Stop them from developing a full-blown drug addiction
  • Help them avoid the life-changing and life-threatening consequences of meth addiction
  • Seek immediate help for your loved one before it’s too late

How Does Methamphetamine Affect Your Loved One?

Methamphetamine or meth is called “speed” for a reason. It’s a stimulant drug that increases brain activity, uplifts the mood, and improves energy levels. It does this by boosting the production of dopamine, a “happy hormone” that stimulates brain cells and brings feelings of euphoria.

Meth is derived from amphetamine so it will have similar effects. However, these effects tend to be stronger with meth, especially if you take concentrated forms of d-methamphetamine-hydrochloride such as “ice,” “glass,” or “crystal meth”. That’s because meth is more bioavailable, allowing greater amounts of the drug to reach the brain. However, unlike most abused drugs, meth isn’t as easily metabolized. It stays in the body longer, and so does its harmful effects.

Repeated intake causes a user to develop tolerance to the drug, which causes one to take higher and more frequent doses over time. Eventually, this leads to methamphetamine addiction and can severely impact the health, career, and relationships of your loved one.

Unless they undergo drug rehab, there’s always the possibility of a drug overdose and untimely death. The first step to preventing these consequences is to watch for signs of methamphetamine use. The earlier it is caught, the sooner you can get them into drug rehab.

Signs and Symptoms of Early Meth Abuse

People who use methamphetamine may experience three phases of symptoms – rush, tweaking, and the crash.

Phase 1: Methamphetamine Rush

This first phase is common for everyone who abuses meth. They will show signs of increased physical activity including:

  • Talking more than usual
  • Mental alertness
  • Poor appetite
  • Sleeping fewer hours (or not at all)

Being a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, methamphetamine also causes physiological effects such as dilated pupils, increased heart rate, faster breathing, and elevated body temperature. Higher doses may result in facial tics, twitching movements, as well as drug overdose and death.

These signs and symptoms are short-term, lasting anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. Many users, however, go on a “run” and continue taking meth for days without sleeping or eating. And so the symptoms may last longer depending on usage.

Phase 2: Meth Tweaking

Once the effects of methamphetamine wear off, the user will enter a second phase called “tweaking.” The desperation to use the drug causes them to be irritable and prone to emotional outbursts. 

Tweaking is characterized by psychological side effects such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent behavior

These symptoms typically last 3 to 15 days. It’s more common in people who frequently abuse meth, but are not yet addicted to the drug.

Phase 3: Methamphetamine Crash

The third phase of symptoms happens to all meth users. However, the symptoms are more intense for those who are addicted to meth or are used to taking higher doses.

During this phase, the sudden drop in dopamine levels causes the physical and emotional state of a user to crash. Your loved one will:

  • Crave methamphetamine
  • Sleep more often
  • Fall into a depressive mood

The “crash” phase is very similar to withdrawal, with symptoms lasting up to 3 days.

Danger Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth addiction causes negative effects on a person’s overall health. Many of which are irreversible and require additional interventions besides drug rehab.

Physical Signs of Meth Addiction

When a family member is addicted to meth, they will show obvious signs of physical decline such as:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Sagging face
  • Acne outbreaks
  • Flushed skin
  • Skin sores
  • Being sickly
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions

Further evaluation by doctors might reveal underlying health problems. These include hypertension, a weakened immune system, and damage to the heart, liver, kidney, lungs, nerves, and blood vessels – particularly in the brain.

While overdose and death can happen to anyone who misuses meth, they are more prevalent in people who are addicted.

Mental Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Chronic meth abuse also damages the brain. As a result, meth-addicted people will exhibit signs of mental decline. These symptoms can last for up to several months or years after a person has quit meth.

The most common of which are:

  • Paranoia
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Psychosis

It is worth noting that methamphetamine can worsen any pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. In which case, additional therapy may be needed alongside drug addiction treatment.

More Ways to Tell if Your Loved One is Using Meth

How someone uses meth (i.e. snorting, injecting, smoking, ingesting) will show distinct physical signs that can be easily spotted.

  • Snorting methamphetamine injures the nasal passages. It can cause frequent nose bleeding as well as painful sinuses and headaches. Snorting meth can also disfigure the nasal septum like cocaine, though it rarely happens.
  • Injecting meth leaves wounds and bruises on injection sites such as the veins along the arms. However, it’s possible to inject the drug in less conspicuous areas such as between the toes, the crook of the elbow, and the leg. You can also check their arms for “track marks” or veins that are dark near the injection site but are lighter the further they go.
  • Smoking meth increases the risk of lung disease. People who smoke meth are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses.
  • Ingesting methamphetamine damages the teeth and oral lining. Known as meth mouth, its symptoms include severe tooth decay and gum disease.

Helping Your Family Recover from Meth Abuse

Is anyone in your family showing signs of meth abuse? Now is the time to act.

Call Roots Through Recovery at (PHONE NUMBER) or visit us in (CITY, STATE). We can help you find a suitable program that addresses their needs.

Our team of specialists are trained to assist your loved one recover from methamphetamine addiction. We also provide Trauma-Based Therapies that can heal any underlying trauma which may have triggered their substance abuse.

Rest assured that with Family Integration and Healing, we can help your family breeze through the challenges of dealing with a recovering loved one.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction in Long Beach, don’t hesitate to seek help. Visit Roots Through Recovery addiction treatment center in Long Beach, CA located at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776.

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