People start taking drugs for various reasons. Some are in search of an alternate reality, while others use them to escape the pressures of everyday life. However, a small number of people get addicted to these substances with continued usage. That’s why it is important to know what the signs of crystal meth addiction are before you or someone you know begins using this drug. Methamphetamine (also known as ‘crystal meth’) is an addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine but with stronger effects. If you think that someone you love might be struggling with crystal meth addiction, it’s time to educate yourself on the warning signs so that you can help them get the support they need before things get worse.
What is Crystal Meth?
Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that can have serious negative effects on the body and mind. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, but methamphetamine can have stronger and longer-lasting effects than other stimulants like caffeine, ephedrine, or nicotine. Methamphetamine distorts the brain’s reward system, which is responsible for our feelings of pleasure and reward, by increasing the amount of dopamine released in the brain. This can lead to tolerance and dependence, which makes stopping crystal meth use difficult after repeated use. The signs of crystal meth addiction are real, and the sooner that you or someone you love gets the help that they need, the better chance they will have at conquering this disorder.
Physical Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction
The physical signs of crystal meth addiction can vary greatly from one person to the next. In many cases, the person struggling with addiction may not even realize that they are addicted. Here are some common physical signs of crystal meth addiction:
- Sores on the face and mouth – Crystal meth users sometimes grind their teeth so hard that it causes sores and fractures on the face and gums.
- Weight loss – Most crystal meth addicts lose weight because they are unable to eat normally and are driven to constantly do drugs.
- Pronounced veins – Crystal meth users may have bulging veins due to the fact that they inject the drug into their veins with a syringe.
- Change in sleeping habits – A person with crystal meth addiction may sleep more than eight hours per day or they may not be able to sleep at all.
- Change in hygiene – A person with crystal meth addiction may not be able to shower, change their clothes, or brush their teeth due to the intense desire to do more drugs.
Psychological Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction
The psychological signs of crystal meth addiction can be difficult to spot, but symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and mood swings are telltale signs that someone is struggling. Here are some common psychological signs of crystal meth addiction:
- Strong desire to do drugs – Crystal meth users feel an intense desire to do drugs, even when they are not experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
- Poor decision-making skills – Crystal meth users often make decisions that are uncharacteristic of them, and they may fail to see the consequences of their actions.
- Paranoia – Crystal meth users may feel like everyone is against them and that they are in danger. This can lead to violent outbursts and dangerous situations.
- Hallucinations – Crystal meth users may see, hear, or feel things that aren’t real. Denying the existence of these hallucinations will not make them go away.
- Delusions – Crystal meth users may believe that they have special abilities or powers, despite others trying to show them that they are wrong.
Social Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction
The social signs of crystal meth addiction can vary depending on the individual, but an inability to form and maintain healthy relationships is a key sign of this addiction. Here are some common social signs of crystal meth addiction:
- Disinterest in school, work, or hobbies – Crystal meth users may stop caring about their education or career and may stop doing activities that they once found enjoyable.
- Disinterest in friends or family – Crystal meth users may become uninterested in their friends or family members, and they may fail to show up for important events in their lives.
- Anxious or erratic behavior – Crystal meth users may act in ways that are inconsistent with their normal behavior, and they may seem nervous or anxious all the time.
Tolerance and Dependence: The Road to Addiction
Crystal meth is a very powerful drug, and once someone develops a tolerance to it and becomes dependent on it, they are at risk of developing an addiction. The signs of crystal meth addiction can be tricky to spot because they depend on the individual.
Crystal meth tolerance occurs when a person’s body and brain become so accustomed to the presence of the drug that they actually adapt to it. As a result, they no longer experience the same strong effects from their regular dose. In order to get “high,” users with a meth tolerance need to take higher and higher doses – or more and more frequent doses. This leads to further increases in tolerance.
Meth dependence is a related but distinct issue. Dependence develops when the body forgets how to function without meth. When a person who is dependent on crystal meth stops taking the drug or lowers their dose, the brain and body cease to function normally. After all, for a person with dependence, having meth in their system is the new “normal.” The dysfunctional – and often dangerous – symptoms they experience when they don’t have access to methamphetamine are known as withdrawal symptoms.
Crystal Meth Withdrawal
When someone quits taking crystal meth, they may experience anxiety, depression, extreme fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and strong cravings for the drug. These withdrawal symptoms are not only painful, but they can be dangerous as well. Here are some common signs of crystal meth withdrawal:
- Anxiety – People struggling with crystal meth withdrawal may feel very anxious or restless without a drug that has a calming effect.
- Depression – People who have recently quit using crystal meth may feel sad and hopeless without their drug of choice.
- Extreme fatigue – Without the stimulant effect of crystal meth, people may experience extreme fatigue due to their body trying to repair itself.
- Headaches – People who are struggling with crystal meth withdrawal may experience headaches as a result of their brains readjusting themselves.
- Mood swings – The chemicals in crystal meth have a big influence on a person’s mood, and when they stop taking the drug, their mood swings may be extreme.
- Strong cravings – Crystal meth withdrawal can cause a person to crave the drug with a burning desire that is difficult to fight.
Getting Help for Meth Addiction at Sober Living East
Crystal meth addiction is a real problem that is more common than most people realize. However, many people who are addicted to meth don’t know where to turn for help. If you think that you or someone you love is struggling with crystal meth addiction, it’s time to get help. If you’re ready to end your meth addiction for good, it’s important to seek out help from a professional addiction treatment center. At Sober Living East, we can help you get the support that you need to recover from your addiction once and for all.