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  • Meth Addiction | Signs & Symptoms Of Methamphetamine Addiction

    Illicit drug abuse raises concerns about your long-term health and well-being. In the case of methamphetamine abuse, the pattern of using the substance in a binge and crash method is particularly dangerous to you or your loved one’s health. 

    Meth can cause severe health complications over time, so you want to encourage a loved one to seek treatment when you suspect they may be using this illicit substance.

    What Is Methamphetamine?

    Methamphetamine is an illicit stimulant drug that impacts the nervous system of the body. It is a highly addictive substance, and methamphetamine intoxication can lead to extreme euphoria.

    Common names associated with the drug include:

    Learn more about Nicknames, Street Names, & Slang For Meth

    Regardless of the way an individual may refer to the drug, it causes a similar impact on the body. The individual gets a rush or a high that starts quickly and but turns into a sudden crash. 

    Methamphetamine Prescription Use

    Methamphetamine was originally derived from amphetamine prescription drugs during the 20th century. The problem with the drug was the potency and the risk of addiction.

    The drug is primarily used for recreational and illicit reasons; however, it may be prescribed in some very rare situations for ADHD or certain weight-loss treatments. 

    It’s important to note that any medical use of the drug is supervised and the dosage of methamphetamine is very low in a legitimate prescription. In most cases, it’s not obtained through legitimate sources or for medical purposes.

    Signs Of Methamphetamine Addiction

    When you suspect you or a loved one has a methamphetamine addiction, it’s important to recognize the symptoms that may develop. 

    Common signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction include:

    • loss of appetite
    • pulling or picking at hair and skin
    • changes to sleeping patterns
    • mood swings or violent outbursts 
    • no longer caring about personal appearance or hygiene 
    • paranoia
    • hallucinations
    • sores on the face or body
    • damage to teeth, particularly severe tooth decay

    Meth may change an individual’s behavior in drastic and severe ways. If you’re worried about a loved one due to changes in behavior, dilated pupils, sudden and extreme weight loss, or other signs of methamphetamine abuse, then you may want to consider treatment options. 

    Learn more about the Signs Of Meth Use

    Methamphetamine is very addictive and can cause severe short-term and long-term physical and mental health effects.

    Learn more about the short-term & long-term Effects Of Meth Addiction

    Methamphetamine Overdose Signs

    An overdose on methamphetamine may be life-threatening, so it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you’re concerned a loved one has overdosed on the drug. 

    Common signs and symptoms of an overdose on methamphetamine include:

    • seizures or spasms
    • unresponsiveness or coma
    • changes to breathing patterns, such as shallow breathing, not breathing, or difficulty breathing
    • heart attacks
    • stroke
    • a high temperature or fever
    • severe stomach pain
    • hallucinations

    Do not wait to seek treatment if you suspect an overdose. If a loved one is unresponsive, starts having seizures, or otherwise shows signs of an overdose, then call for help immediately. 

    Be prepared to provide some basic information about the individual’s age, weight, and use history to ensure proper treatment.

    Learn more about Meth Overdose

    Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms & Detox

    The first step in recovery from methamphetamine addiction is the detoxification process. During the detox process, you or a loved one will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

    Due to the potential risks associated with withdrawal from the drug, it’s important to consider a medically supervised detox program that allows you to get immediate care in severe situations.

    Common symptoms of withdrawal that may develop include:

    • joint pain
    • flu-like symptoms
    • heart rhythm irregularities 
    • tremors
    • itchy and red eyes
    • headaches
    • depression
    • psychosis
    • severe cravings

    The cravings associated with methamphetamine may persist for an extended period after you go through the initial detoxification process. 

    Other symptoms of withdrawal may start to alleviate within a week; however, the specific impact may vary based on your health, age, and the duration of drug abuse. 

    The primary risk associated with withdrawal symptoms is cravings, which may persist for several weeks or more than a month after discontinuing use of meth.

    Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment Options

    Meth abuse causes harm to the body and mind. This highly addictive substance may cause psychosis, hallucinations, and violent behavior, so it’s important to seek treatment to address the potential health risks associated with substance abuse.

    Treatment options that may assist with long-term recovery goals include:

    • long-term residential care, which surrounds you with others in a structured and supportive recovery environment
    • outpatient care, particularly when you have already completed initial treatment but need to maintain support
    • contingency planning and management to help alleviate the risk of relapse
    • cognitive-behavioral therapy, which emphasizes changes to behaviors by catching thought patterns that lead to methamphetamine use
    • individual counseling
    • group therapy

    Taking measures to treat methamphetamine abuse plays a critical role in the recovery process. By working with experienced and licensed professionals, it’s possible to start working on addressing the causes of substance abuse. 

    To learn more about treating methamphetamine addiction, or for more details about our treatment solutions for substance abuse, please contact us today.

    Meth FAQ

    What Is Meth Mouth?

    The term “meth mouth” refers to a group of dental problems often caused by meth. These problems include:

    • bad breath
    • tooth decay 
    • gum disease
    • stained, blackened, rotting, broken, or missing teeth (also called “meth teeth”)

    Learn more about Meth Mouth

    What Does Meth Look Like?

    Meth may resemble:

    • a fine or coarse powder that’s white, brown, orange, yellow-gray, pink, or another color
    • chunks of glass, ice, or shiny, bluish-white rocks
    • round, white pills stamped with the letters OV on one side and the number 12 on the other side
    • a dark yellow liquid
    • an oil, wax, or goo that’s white, yellow, or brown
    • green or reddish-orange pills stamped with the letters WY or R

    The drug may also be found in other illegally-made pills that vary in shape, size, and color. 

    Learn more about Meth Identification

    What Is It Like To Be Addicted To Meth?

    When you’re addicted to meth, it’s difficult to think about anything besides getting and using the drug. That’s because addiction makes you feel unable to experience pleasure without meth. 

    Addicted individuals also experience tolerance, which means they need increasingly higher doses of meth to feel the desired effects. In addition, they become physically dependent on the drug. If they stop using it, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms like extreme exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and psychosis. 

    Learn more about How A Meth Addict Thinks & Feels

    How Do You Smoke Meth?

    Methamphetamine (meth or crystal meth) is usually smoked in a bulb-shaped glass pipe or another container. The drug is heated using a flame until it vaporizes, and is then inhaled through the mouth or nose causing the airborne drug to swiftly enter the bloodstream via the lungs.

    Learn more about Smoking Meth

    How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

    Methamphetamine and its metabolites can be detected by blood screens for up to three or four days using saliva, blood, or urine, and up to 90 days using hair samples.

    Methamphetamine has a half-life of between ten and twelve hours. The pleasurable effects of meth may last between four and twelve hours, followed by a recovery period that can last three days to a week or more following use.

    Read How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System to learn more

    What Is A Meth Lab?

    Meth labs are small, household operations that generate methamphetamine using legal medications and a range of toxic or hazardous materials. 

    Meth labs (and their occupants) are known to be incredibly hazardous, and the structures often explode or catch fire. Exposure to meth production byproducts or ingredients can lead to poisoning and death.

    Learn more about Meth Labs

    What Is Shake And Bake Meth?

    Shake and bake meth is a type of meth that’s made by mixing meth ingredients (such as pseudoephedrine, lithium, and ammonia) in a sealed container, usually a soda bottle. When someone shakes the container, a chemical reaction occurs and produces meth.

    Since some meth ingredients are explosive, the container may explode if its contents are exposed to the air. An explosion can cause serious burns, blindness, and death. 

    Learn more about Shake And Bake Meth

    Can You Snort Meth?

    Yes. Snorting meth powder is one of the most common forms of meth abuse. Most people snort it through a straw, hollowed out pen, or rolled up dollar bill. 

    Like other types of meth use, snorting meth can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure, hallucinations, brain damage, addiction, and overdose. 

    Learn more about Snorting Meth

    What Does Meth Do To Your Skin?

    Along with premature aging, meth can cause sores and scabs from excessive itching and skin-picking. 

    Many suffering from meth addiction lack proper hygiene, sleep, and nutrition, which increases the risk of infections. The best way to prevent sores and other skin issues is by seeking meth addiction treatment. 

    Learn more about What Meth Does To Your Skin

    How Does Meth Affect Sexual Function?

    When someone starts using meth, they’ll often experience pleasant sexual side effects, such as increased libido, increased pleasure, and stronger orgasms.

    However, since meth increases libido and impairs judgment, it can lead to risky sexual behaviors, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners. That’s why people who use meth face a high risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

    In addition, long-term meth use can cause unpleasant sexual side effects like decreased libido, delayed orgasms, erectile dysfunction, and fertility issues. 

    Learn more about Meth Use & Sex

    What Does Meth Do To Your Body?

    Meth has a high risk of addiction and can cause several adverse physical effects. Initially, meth can cause increased blood pressure, rapid breathing, and irregular heartbeat. After long-term use, meth can cause tooth decay, skin sores, premature aging, stroke, heart attack, and coma. 

    Learn more about How Meth Affects The Body

    What Does Meth Do To Your Brain?

    Meth impacts the reward center in your brain, eventually causing dependence and addiction. Heavy use causes several damaging effects to your brain, including cognitive function, emotion, memory, and psychological health. 

    Although some of these effects can be permanent, abstinence can improve brain function.

    Learn more about the Effects Of Meth On The Brain

    What Are Meth Mites?

    While in a meth-induced psychotic episode, heavy meth users may hallucinate that insects are crawling on their skin or burrowing under it. 

    This hallucination, called formication, leads to skin picking and scratching behaviors that can damage skin and contribute to meth face, which describes the rapid aging and persistent skin damage experienced by those suffering from meth addiction.

    Learn more about Meth Mites

    How Does Meth Use Affect Pregnancy?

    Like everyone who uses meth, pregnant women who use the drug may experience serious health problems, such as malnutrition, heart attack, and stroke.

    In addition, their babies face a higher risk of issues like premature birth, low birth weight, placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and neonatal abstinence syndrome (a condition in which a baby experiences drug withdrawal symptoms). 

    Later in life, a child who was exposed to meth in utero may experience problems with attention, self-control, and motor development. 

    Learn more about the effects of Meth Abuse During Pregnancy

    How Does Plugging Meth Work?

    Because crystal meth dissolves easily in water it can be prepared in a solution and squirted up the rectum using a needless syringe. From there, the drug is rapidly absorbed through the veins and into the blood and brain.

    However, plugging meth does not reduce the drug’s addictive effects and can damage tissue or increase the risk of STI transmission.

    Learn more about the effects of Crystal Meth Rectal Use

    What Is Meth Psychosis?

    Meth psychosis is a mental condition that stems from excessive meth use. Symptoms often look and feel similar to schizophrenia, and include violent behavior, hallucinations, and paranoia. Various factors can put you at increased risk for meth psychosis.

    Learn more about Meth Psychosis

    Can You Vape Meth?

    Yes, you can vape meth. Meth powder or pills can be crushed and mixed with vape liquid, which is put into a vape pen and inhaled. Vaping meth is a form of substance abuse, and can be dangerous.

    Learn more about Vaping Meth

    What Is Meth Cut With?

    Some drug dealers cut meth with other drugs (such as fentanyl, amphetamines, and caffeine) to intensify the experience or high. 

    However, most dealers cut meth with additives that have little to no effect on the person. These include baby powder, milk powder, baking soda, sugar, and MSM (a naturally occurring compound that’s often sold as a supplement to strengthen cartilage). 

    Learn more about Meth Cutting Agents

    Can You Shoot Meth?

    Both meth powder and crystal methamphetamine can be dissolved into a liquid and injected directly into the bloodstream. 

    While shooting up may produce a more powerful high, it increases the risk for dependence and addiction. It can also lead to bacterial and viral infections, track marks, and fatal overdose. 

    Learn more about Shooting Meth

    What Are The Health Risks Of Cooking Meth?

    Making meth can be dangerous. Meth cooks may suffer from breathing problems, chest pain, burns on the skin, eyes, and nose, and other effects. Cooking meth may also cause explosions and house fires, which can be deadly.

    Learn more about the risks of Cooking Meth

    Is Adderall A Legal Version Of Meth?

    No, Adderall is not a legal version of meth. While they affect the brain and body in similar ways and are both stimulants, Adderall is a weaker drug than meth. They are often taken and abused for different reasons.

    Learn more about Adderall Vs. Meth

    Is It Possible To Identify Fake Meth?

    Meth is often cut with various other compounds or faked entirely by drug suppliers looking to increase profits. These diluents and adulterants range from harmless fillers to severely harmful designer drugs.

    It is not always possible to visually identify the quality of meth in a particular batch. Chemical tests, including melting point tests and test kits, can provide better (though not certain) information, and scientific testing is the only completely accurate solution.

    Learn more about how to spot Fake Meth

    Can You Still Sleep On Meth?

    Methamphetamine (meth) produces stimulant effects that include hyperactivity, alertness, and sleeplessness. While under the influence of meth, you may experience severe sleep deprivation during a binge period. 

    Learn more about how Meth Abuse Affects Sleep

    What Is Liquid Meth?

    Liquid meth is meth that has been dissolved in water. It can be swallowed as is, or boiled to turn it back into either crystal meth or powder. Liquid meth is often smuggled across the border to avoid being noticed by law enforcement.

    Learn more about Liquid Meth

    Does Meth Use Cause Bipolar Disorder?

    There is no evidence that meth causes bipolar disorder. However, meth use can aggravate symptoms of bipolar and make this mental health disorder more difficult to manage.

    Learn more about Bipolar Disorder & Meth Abuse

    Is There A Link Between Meth & Schizophrenia?

    Schizophrenia is sometimes compared to meth-induced psychosis because of similar symptoms.  However, meth-induced psychosis and schizophrenia are distinct mental health issues that are treated as separate disorders.

    Learn more about Schizophrenia & Meth Use

    Does Meth Withdrawal Cause Anxiety?

    Many people experience anxiety during meth withdrawal. Anxiety can range from mild to severe and can last several weeks. In addition, having a history of anxiety disorders increases the risk of worsening symptoms. 

    Learn more about Anxiety & Meth Abuse

    How Much Does Meth Cost?

    A gram of meth can cost anywhere from $3 to $500, though the price usually ranges between $20 and $60. If you’re addicted to meth, you could spend between $12,775 and $38,325 per year on the drug. 

    Learn more about Crystal Meth Street Prices

    How Do You Clean A Meth House?

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a contractor trained in meth lab waste removal to help you clean a meth house. 

    To make the property safe, you and the contractor will need to:

    • survey it and design a cleanup plan
    • ventilate it
    • schedule a plumbing inspection
    • remove unnecessary, visibly contaminated, and absorbent items
    • wash remaining items with an all-purpose household cleaner
    • vacuum all hard surfaces with a HEPA vacuum cleaner
    • encapsulate all interior surfaces with an oil-based paint, oil-based polyurethane, or epoxies

    Learn more about Meth Residue

    Does Meth Improve Athletic Performance?

    No, meth use does not have any known connection to improved athletic performance. Taking part in illicit drug use to improve physical performance can cause harmful side effects, and may be a form of substance abuse.

    Learn more about Meth & Athletic Performance

    Why Is Meth Sometimes Called Cream?

    Meth may sometimes be called cream because it can take the form of an oily, thick substance with a similar appearance and consistency to cream. Meth may also be called ice, which likely refers to crystal meth, or even ice cream.

    Learn more about Meth Ice Cream

    What Are Some Ways To Help Calm Someone On Meth?

    Some ways to help calm someone on meth include listening, staying calm, avoiding combativeness, and working with an addiction professional when necessary.

    Learn more about How To Calm Someone On Meth

    Can Meth Use Cause Urinary Retention?

    Yes. Meth can cause urinary retention by dehydrating you and by messing with muscles in the bladder and urethra. The drug interrupts communication between the muscles that help you urinate, so you may be unable to release urine or fully empty your bladder. 

    Learn more about Meth & Urinary Retention

    Why Does Smoking Meth Sometimes Cause Chest Pain?

    Meth use has severe effects on a person’s cardiovascular system, increasing vasoconstriction, blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate.

    Short-term, these effects can cause chest pain and problems with heart rhythm, as well as sudden death from heart failure, seizures, or stroke. A person’s risk of disabling or life-threatening cardiovascular events also increases if meth abuse continues long-term.

    Learn more about Chest Pain & Heart Problems From Smoking Meth

    What’s The Point Of A Meth Bleach Test?

    A meth bleach test can tell you whether a drug sample contains methamphetamine. It can also tell you whether a methamphetamine sample contains impurities, such as acetone or various metals.

    Learn more about Bleach Testing Meth

    What Is A Meth “Crackback?”

    A meth crackback refers to re-solidifying a liquid meth dose. The name may come from crack patterns that form on solid crystal meth after the reheating process.

    Learn more about Meth Crackback

    What Does Hot Railing Mean?

    Hot railing is a form of drug use where you heat a glass tube, place the heated tube on powdered methamphetamine, and inhale the vapors.

    Learn more about Hot Railing Meth

    Does Meth Abuse Cause Depression?

    Meth abuse can lead to a variety of damaging mental health effects, including depression during withdrawal. However, co-occurring clinical depression and meth addiction can also worsen the symptoms of each disorder and make recovery more difficult.

    How Prevalent Is Meth Use In The United States?

    There have been signs of increased meth use in the U.S. over the past decade. More meth seizures from law enforcement, overdose deaths, and other factors are signs of increased meth use in the country.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - What is Methamphetamine?
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Methamphetamine DrugFacts
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - What Treatments are Effective for People Who Misuse Methamphetamine?
    National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Withdrawal Symptoms in Abstinent Methamphetamine-Dependent Subjects
    Nurse Plus Academy - Meth Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment: What You Must Know
    WebMD - What are the Signs that Someone is Using Crystal Meth?

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
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