Over the last several years, meth abuse and addiction have become more and more prevalent. Many more people come into inpatient treatment for Meth these days. Meth is easily one of the most addictive and destructive drugs on the market, as it can turn a relatively level headed person into someone else entirely in a matter of a few weeks or months.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, here are some signs of meth addiction that you can watch out for.
Past Struggle With Drugs
More often than not, people don’t start out their using career with meth. It just isn’t a gateway drug. Usually, people experiment with other drugs first, and after developing an addiction and a tolerance to these other drugs, begin to look for something cheaper and more powerful.
This is where meth comes in. It is far cheaper than most other drugs and relatively more powerful. What makes it one of the most addictive drugs is that it has a short-lived high. Drugs with shorter highs tend to cause addiction faster, such as crack. It causes the user to need more of the drug more often, in order to continue the high they are looking for. This quick, cheap, and powerful high leads to another warning sign of meth addiction,
- Stopping use of other drugs, or using them less
For people who have already been struggling with drug addiction, noticing a change in behavior might not be so easy for those on the outside. For example, if an individual has been known to abuse stimulants for some time, and then switches to meth, their behaviors might not change dramatically. On the other hand, if someone who abuses hallucinogens or alcohol switches to meth addiction, loved ones can watch out for:
- A change in sleeping patterns, or sleeping less
- Excessive chatting
- Jaw clenching
- Grandiose thoughts
- Rapid eye movement
We have all seen the haunting before and after mugshots of people who suffer from meth addiction. Folks who look personable and friendly turn into empty shells of themselves. The physical characteristics remain constant, facial scabs, sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, and a gaping jaw, but this doesn’t happen overnight.
Before this stage, there are often several months or even years that will pass by where a person can be abusing meth. Here are some more common signs of meth addiction.
The Mental Deterioration
Meth is a hell of a drug. It creates cycles and loops in a healthy brain that can actually cause lasting mental and emotional disruption. Through the combination of lack of sleep, lack of eating, and the constantly escalated mental state, emotional and mental collapse is often a side effect of long term use of the drug.
Some symptoms of this deterioration are:
- Extreme paranoia
- Hallucinations (auditory and visual)
- Escalated and erratic thoughts and actions
The physical effects of meth addiction are similar to those we have seen in the photos:
- Skinny or frail physiques
- Yellowing of the teeth
- Emaciated facial features
- Gaping or crooked jaw
- Scabs on the hands, face, and body
Just like with any other addiction, stopping can feel impossible. For individuals who have been struggling with meth addiction for an extended period of time, this will mean an entire overhauling of every minute detail of their life. However, it can be done.
Going through the detox process will be uncomfortable, but the upside for this one is that the physical side effects usually last no longer than a few days. Users can expect:
- Body aches and Pains
- Fever spikes
- Digestion Issues
The harder part about getting clean from meth addiction is the mental side effects someone will go through. As their brain detoxes and begins to reset to a normal routine, individuals can expect:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Erratic Mood Swings
- High anxiety and depression
However, we as a society have gone to great lengths to create medications designed to help alleviate these side effects. They can help regulate mood swings, decrease physical pain, and aid in sleep.
Many people who struggle with meth addiction are often misdiagnosed in their early days of treatment, as the mental and emotional side effects are so intense and can be confused with a multitude of mental and behavioral diagnosis such as Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and Antisocial Personality Disorder.
While this sometimes may be the case, it is important to remember just how severely the drug interacts with the brain and body and to remember that after a few months of sobriety, most meth addicts can go back to living a healthy and normal life.
Understandably, those first few months will be tough, they will be an emotional roller coaster, and the individual will probably experience cravings. However, thousands of people have recovered through 12 step programs and other alternatives, and have found new hope for themselves and their futures.
While meth addiction is absolutely dangerous and can easily be deadly, it is possible to recover.