Signs Of Meth Abuse
Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, crystal meth or ice, is an odorless crystalline powder with a bitter flavor. Meth is often smoked or snorted, but it can also be taken orally or dissolved and injected.
Meth is an illegal drug, usually made in secret labs by combining various forms of amphetamine with caustic substances such as hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, brake fluid, butane or ammonia. The mixtures create noxious vapors that can cause severe damage to the throat, lungs and eyes.
Meth is an extremely dangerous drug with a devastating dependence that often occurs after a single use. The substance alters brain chemistry, particularly the areas associated with memory and learning. Although the brain heals somewhat after use is stopped, problems with memory, judgment and coordination are sometimes permanent.
If you are concerned that somebody you love is using meth, there are several telltale indications:
- Meth users often go without sleep or substantial rest for long periods of time — days or even weeks. This is often followed by a devastating “crash” that inevitably leads to more meth use.
People who use meth often have very little appetite. Meth users tend to lose large amounts of weight, which causes a tired, haggard appearance. They often look much older than their years.
- Meth users tend to care little about their appearance and may fail to bathe or take showers. Personal hygiene is ignored and teeth, skin and hair are neglected.
- A bad odor is often noticeable when people are using meth. This is partly the result of poor hygiene, but also because meth users emit a foul, ammonia-like smell. They may also sweat excessively, even without physical activity or heat.
- You may notice changes in mood, attitude and overall well-being if a person is using meth. The person may be irritable or have mood swings or angry outbursts. In some cases, a meth user may become violent. Some meth users become seriously depressed or anxious.
- Burn marks around the mouth or on the fingertips are indications of possible meth use.
- A meth user may pick obsessively at his skin or hair, which may feel dry and itchy. This causes pimple-like skin sores that don’t heal.
- Meth becomes an expensive habit. Users may resort to borrowing or stealing money.
- Certain drug paraphernalia is used by meth users, including glass pipes, needles or spoons.
- Meth users may be extremely excitable. They may talk incessantly or display signs of anxiety or panic.
- Rotten, stained or black teeth are common indications of long-term methamphetamine use. Destruction of the teeth is caused by poor dental hygiene, the corrosive effects of meth, and dry mouth.
- Heavy meth users may experience a condition known as “tweaking,” which involves anxiety, aggression and violent behavior.
- They may also experience hallucinations or a feeling that insects are crawling under the skin.
Meth addiction is difficult because it affects the user physically, emotionally and psychologically. However, recovery is possible. If you think someone you love it addicted to meth, encourage them to seek help as soon as possible.