Methamphetamine is an incredibly addictive and dangerous drug that can cause severe side effects, addiction, dependence, withdrawal, and even death. In fact, a person can die from using meth just one time. Also, it is an extremely powerful drug, and those who do use it are likely to become addicted quickly. Being able to recognize the issue of meth abuse and addiction is important, especially if you are a part of or know someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community. Meth is a dangerous drug amongst this population, and having the ability to spot the signs of a meth user is a way to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Contact La Fuente Hollywood at 888.903.9898 for more information about our meth addiction treatment center in Hollywood, California.
Top 10 Signs of a Meth Addiction
People on meth look jumpy, jittery, and often can’t sit still. Some people who have been on the drug for a long time might look normal, but their rapid eye movements and poor oral hygiene can give them away. These individuals are often volatile, malnourished, and have sores on their skin. Any of these signs are strong indicators that someone is using meth.
Additionally, meth abusers will often use more and more of the drug just to make the positive effects last longer. Unfortunately, this also intensifies the drug’s negative effects. Below, we’ve listed the top 10 signs and symptoms of a meth user.
1. Picking at One’s Skin or Hair
Using meth can cause the skin to become extremely itchy, dry, and cracked. Often, meth is smoked out of a glass pipe, which gets very hot and can easily burn the mouth, leading to sores. Meth users are fidgety and tend to pick at their skin and sores often. This behavior leads to worsening skin conditions, which, in turn, leads to more picking. In addition, picking at or pulling out one’s hair is another sign of meth abuse.
2. Dilated Pupils
Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine, which is a stimulant drug. As such, meth causes stimulant effects, like those of caffeine but much stronger. Stimulants cause the pupils to become larger. It’s a good bet that someone who is high and has large pupils is on some kind of stimulant like meth rather than a drug like heroin, which causes the pupils to contract.
3. Rapid Eye Movement
When something stimulates you, it raises the amount of activity going on in your body. When a person abuses methamphetamine, this is what happens. Everything going on inside their body—their thoughts, their body’s functions—all move much faster. A good way to see this from the outside is if the person’s eyes seem to be moving much faster than normal. This is also a sign that the individual has taken meth for several hours or even days straight, an action known as tweaking.
4. Reduced Appetite
Methamphetamine, like other stimulants, decreases one’s appetite. It gives you a rush that increases your ability to perform physical activities without the need for food or sleep. This is similar to what nicotine in cigarettes or caffeine in coffee does but on a much more intense scale. Sometimes, meth users will only eat foods that are high in sugar content in order to increase the high caused by the drug. Generally, though, meth users have little to no appetite, even after hours or days of not eating.
As we said above, meth abuse causes you to be able to function without sleep. Many people think of this as a positive effect: they can feel good and energetic without needing to stop for food or sleep. However, over time, this becomes severely dangerous. People who use meth all the time so they don’t have to sleep, are sometimes called tweakers.
6. Sudden Outbursts or Extreme Mood Swings
Meth can make a person feel like they’re on top of the world, like they never do any wrong, even like they are invincible. But just as suddenly, the drug can have the opposite effect, causing the user to become fearful, anxious, or even enraged. Sudden and dangerous mood swings or outbursts that seem to come out of nowhere are strong indicators that someone is using meth. In fact, these behaviors can become worse and morph into psychotic symptoms. People who have been using meth for a while and who quit can sometimes experience a resurgence of these effects months—even years—after their last meth use.
7. Weight Loss
When a person smokes crystal meth regularly, they will not have a strong appetite, which can cause them to lose weight. Some people even become malnourished because they take the drug so much, which can be deadly. It takes time for a person’s appetite to balance out again after they stop abusing meth. At first, they might experience a heightened appetite. Still, their enjoyment of food will often be less than they remember, as they may experience a lack of the ability to feel pleasure, also known as anhedonia.
8. “Meth Mouth”
“Meth mouth” is one of the most obvious and disturbing side effects of the drug and its abuse. This is the condition that causes people’s teeth to become stained, rot, break, and sometimes even fall out of their mouths completely. This occurs because meth users do not take care of their teeth the way they should and because the drug itself causes dry mouth and uncontrollable jaw clenching, which can both lead to tooth problems.
9. Poor Hygiene
Meth users, as stated above, do not worry extensively about their hygiene. They are often only focused on getting and/or keeping their high. This can lead to tooth rot but also poor body odor, wearing the same clothes day in and day out, and skin issues that arise from picking at the scabs caused by meth abuse.
10. Repetitive Behavior
Regular meth abuse can cause a person to perform repetitive behavior, such as looking in the same places, again and again, scratching themselves until they bleed, getting caught up in meaningless tasks, etc. They might also develop a twitch or tic. The reason for these effects is that meth causes severe damage to the brain over time, damage that is akin to Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Meth damages the brain’s nerve terminals, and while sometimes progress can be made toward healing this damage, it can be permanent in some cases. It all depends on the individual, how long they have been abusing the drug, and how extensive the damage has become.
The Benefits of Meth Addiction Treatment in Hollywood
Because of the severe withdrawal symptoms that arise when a person stops using meth, the best and safest option for breaking meth addiction will always be with support and care from a professional addiction treatment facility. Some benefits of professional treatment include:
- Having a safe and compassionate environment to begin your recovery and healing journey in
- Medication-assisted treatment options to offset withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process
- Many addiction therapy programs are offered in treatment, such as CBT, DBT, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy
- No distractions, including no access to drugs or alcohol, eliminating relapse risk while in treatment
- A support network that includes treatment specialists, therapists, and peers within the sober community
Knowing the signs and symptoms of meth addiction is crucial to being able to recognize when someone needs help. The next step is getting them into treatment where they can begin to detox safely and heal.
Find Help for Meth Addiction at La Fuente Hollywood
At La Fuente, we help people put an end to their meth abuse in a safe, LGBTQ-affirmative treatment center. We offer helpful services for addiction treatment and recovery in the Hollywood area that also provides a safe space for those in the LGBTQ community. Often, this is exactly what someone needs after struggling with methamphetamine abuse. Reach out to us by calling 888.903.9898 or filling out our online contact form and letting us get back to you.