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Signs of Methamphetamine Use and Abuse

man sitting on a couch with a blanket wrapped around him experiencing signs of methamphetamine use and abuse

Methylamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that can potentially be addictive, and its misuse can produce life-long mental illness. Identifying signs of methamphetamine use and abuse is important to get someone help as soon as possible. Early signs of methamphetamine use may be hard to spot, as the drug can initially produce feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, and improved concentration.

However, over time, methamphetamine abuse will become more apparent as the individual’s physical appearance deteriorates, their behavior changes, and they start to experience adverse health effects. If you or someone you care about needs meth addiction treatment, contact Vertava Health Texas at 844.311.8395 for information about our meth rehab center in Scurry, Texas.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, also called meth, crystal, ice, or chalk, is in the stimulant class of drugs. It has an extremely high potential for use and addiction. So much so that it is classified as a Schedule II stimulant within the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Controlled Substance Act (CSA). Initially created for medical purposes, meth was produced with the intent that it could be used to treat nasal congestion or as a bronchial inhaler.

Meth was first synthesized from ephedrine in 1893 by Japanese chemist Nagayoshi Nagai. It can be used medicinally as a treatment for ADHD and obesity. Still, because of its high potential for abuse, it is only available through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Methamphetamine works by increasing the release and inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward so meth use can result in an intense feeling of euphoria. Meth can be taken orally, injected, or inhaled. When meth is smoked or injected, the effects are almost immediate. When taken orally, it may take up to 30 minutes for the user to feel the effects. The effects of meth typically last between four and six hours, but they can last up to 24 hours.

Signs of Methamphetamine Use and Abuse

When a person uses this drug, their body and brain respond accordingly, exhibiting various symptoms. These symptoms may change depending on the frequency and intensity of use and the length. Short-term side effects include:

  • A sense of curiosity
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Talkativeness
  • Lessening fatigue
  • Better attention
  • Dilated pupils
  • Wan and sickly complexion
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hands quivering
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Quickened respiration
  • Hyperthermia

Even short-term use may result in sudden death. As with every drug, prolonged and excessive use carries specific and more harmful long-term risks.

Long-Term Signs of Meth Addiction

Meth changes the way a person experiences life. Eventually, a person may find that they can only feel pleasure when using the drug. Due to the greater frequency of drug seeking and using, a person may develop a tolerance. This is indicative of the most significant long-term effect: addiction. Chronic use can also create some frightening mental and cognitive changes with psychotic characteristics. A person using the drug in the long-term may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Being easily distracted
  • Confused states
  • Chronic trouble sleeping
  • Altered moods
  • Violent or aggressive outbursts
  • Paranoia
  • Sensory hallucinations (visual and auditory)
  • Various delusions
  • Delusory Parasitosis (thinking bugs are crawling under your skin)
  • Involuntary and uncontrollable movements
  • Possible deficits in fine motor dexterity
  • Losing weight
  • Serious dental damage
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Suicidal ideation

In addition to these risks, a person’s brain may be further affected. Methamphetamine psychosis is comparable to schizophrenia, can affect a person long after they’ve stopped abusing meth, and may last forever in the worst of cases. Meth changes the brain’s chemistry, damaging dopamine and serotonin nerve terminals permanently. Using meth can also lead to accidental overdose and death. The overall health risks are just far too significant. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help at Vertava Health Texas.

Discover More Signs of Meth Use with Help from Vertava Health Texas

Understanding and identifying the signs of meth use and abuse can be difficult. The signs may not be immediately apparent, but with time and education, they become more apparent. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help today if you or someone you know is using meth. The admissions counselors at Vertava Health Texas can help you understand what signs to look for and get you on the path to recovery. Our other addiction treatment programs consist of:

  • Alcohol treatment
  • Cocaine treatment
  • Heroin treatment
  • Marijuana treatment
  • Opioid treatment
  • Prescription drug abuse treatment

Find compassionate and evidenced-based care by contacting us today at 844.311.8395.