Learn the telltale signs of meth use to protect yourself or a loved one from falling victim to addiction
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a potent drug that stimulates the central nervous system. It is made illicitly in labs and sold on the street under such common names as: chalk, ice, speed, meth, glass, crank, Tina, Chrissy and crystal. Meth is a white powder that can easily be dissolved in water or alcohol, and can be taken orally, smoked, snorted or injected. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled narcotic in the U.S. and it can be legally purchased with a prescription, or illicitly on the street. Meth is a distinctive drug that can reveal telltale signs of meth use.
Meth was originally popular with white, male blue-collar workers, but that is changing as the drug is being used in other parts of the U.S. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported that in 1996 about 5 million people stated that they had tried the drug at least once in their lifetime. If you suspect a loved one of using meth, you should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of the drug to determine if it is being used. Some of the telltale signs of meth use are:
- Increased physical activity and wakefulness, with an increased attention span
- Feelings of euphoria produced by the release of very high levels of dopamine into the reward center of the brain
- A decrease in appetite that may result in significant weight loss
- Talkativeness, and erratic or violent behavior
- High doses of meth can cause the body temperature to rise to a dangerous, life-threatening level, and it may also cause convulsions
- The heart rate can increase or become irregular
- Wakefulness can cause sleeping problems
- Suicidal thoughts
The addict, on meth, is being pushed mentally and physically beyond his normal level of functioning, plus he is experiencing a lack of sleep. The hyperactivity that his body is experiencing may cause behavioral symptoms to become obvious. Some of these ice addiction side effects are; anxiety, irritability, edginess, and violent or psychotic behavior. Ice addiction side effects include delusions of power, repetitive behavior, paranoia and a self-absorbed attitude. Many ice addicts sheltered themselves from other people because of their paranoia. And research has shown that many ice addicts were physically or sexually abused as children, and may want to repeat that behavior on others.
Meth addicts usually have acne and painful sores on their body that they pick at. This is a ice addiction side effect called crank bugs. Meth addiction will also increase the progression of HIV/AIDS, and many ice addicts experience severe jaw clenching called “meth mouth” while they are high, and this causes cracked teeth, and tooth decay and loss. Extreme weight loss is apparent in many ice addicts, and they can experience hallucinations, panic, psychosis, seizures and convulsions. The long-term ice addiction side effects include:
- Damaged blood vessels in the brain
- Permanent brain and heart damage
- Irregular heart beat
- Depression and other mental disorders
- Respiratory and tissue damage
- Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease
- Infectious diseases
Other ice addiction side effects are sinus and lung infections, and needle marks on the arms, legs, feet or neck. A crystal meth cough, or a hoarse voice is caused by smoking meth, and skin infections and abscesses may appear on the face and body. Addicts may experience permanent physical and psychological damage from long-term use of the drug.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.