Are you ooncerned that someone you care about is abusing crystal meth? Are you worried that their recreational use of the drug has turned into an addiction? Consider the following signs. If you recognize them in your loved one, crystal meth addiction has become a serious problem that requires immediate medical and psychotherapeutic intervention:
- Extreme weight loss. Crystal meth is a stimulant and many who use the drug do so specifically for the weight loss assistance it provides. In fact, it’s not uncommon for young women who struggle with crystal meth dependence to be diagnosed with an eating disorder as well. The drug suppresses appetite as well as boosts metabolism. However, dehydration is often a problem and the same health problems that are caused by other eating disorders – including malnutrition – are often also issues for those living with crystal meth addiction.
- Dental health problems. Called “meth mouth,” the dental health problems suffered by those who chronically abuse crystal meth set them apart from cocaine addicts and those who are dependent upon prescription stimulant drugs. Salivary glands dry out during meth abuse and acids in the mouth can cause tooth erosion. When combined with the tooth grinding that is common while under the influence and poor dental hygiene, the damage can be severe.
- Hair loss. Poor nutrition is likely the cause of the loss of hair and/or thinning hair in crystal meth addicts.
- Skin problems. Many under the influence of meth report feeling like there are bugs under their skin. They often “pick” at their skin, creating sores that bleed and scab over, leaving scars.
- Dilated pupils. This is one of the indicators that an individual is under the influence of crystal meth.
Indicators of Drug Influence
- Extreme focus. The ability to zone in on a tiny detail or move quickly and efficiently to complete a task can last for hours into a crystal meth high.
- Talkative. Newer users or users who are at the beginning of a binge may be friendly, chatty, and overly solicitous. Conversely, when the binge wears on or the user has been up for a long period of time, they may become quiet, introverted and surly.
- Staying awake for days. Crystal meth can keep the user awake for hours and when the drug starts to wear off, they may be tired but unable to sleep. As the “crash” occurs, many feel compelled to snort another line or do another shot to maintain the high, but this often does not mean a return of the euphoric feeling experienced in the beginning but just a return of alertness and a step closer to hallucinations, paranoia and other negative effects.
- Possession of paraphernalia. Depending upon how your loved one ingests crystal meth, the paraphernalia they own may vary. For example, if they snort it, you may find rolled up dollar bills or short pieces of drinking straws and credit cards or IDs with a white residue along the edge. If they smoke it, you may find a glass pipe. If they inject it, you will find needles and a cook kit. Additionally, you may find tiny re-sealable cellophane bags with white residue that once held crystal meth.
- Lying about drug use. Those who are controlled by drug addiction often want to conceal that fact, and as a result they may lie about whether or not they are high, how much they used, and what substances they used.
- Extreme mood swings. Chatty and happy under the influence, moody and distant as the high wears on, full of rage and paranoid right before they crash, then depressed almost to the point of suicidal in between binges – the crystal meth addict is ruled by an emotional rollercoaster that is drug dependent.
- Insomnia. While under the influence, crystal meth users may be happy not to sleep and in fact may use the drug specifically in pursuit of this effect. However, as time wears on and they run out of the drug and start to “crash,” they may be physically exhausted but the drug can remain in their system for another day or so, making it impossible to fall asleep or sleep well.
- Hallucinations. When a user abuses crystal meth frequently or for a long period of time, they can begin to hear and see things that aren’t there. You may see them continually looking behind furniture, peering out behind curtains, or talking about the voices they hear.
If you believe that your loved one is abusing crystal meth and has developed an addiction that they are unable to control on their own, contact us today at Axis and learn more about our intensive medical and psychotherapeutic addiction treatment program here in Southern California.