Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

How do I know if someone is using methamphetamine?

Meth Abuse: Signs & Symptoms

What is Methamphetamine / Meth?

Methamphetamine, or “Meth,” is an illegal stimulant drug in the same class as cocaine and other street drugs. It is usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or pill, but can also be smoked or injected by needle. Methamphetamine is highly addictive. Some nicknames include – meth, crank, chalk or speed.

“Most people who use meth develop a strong desire for continued use because of euphoric feeling. People experience a rush of confidence, hyper activeness, energy and happiness.”

SOURCE: Drug-Free World

“Because the ‘high’ from the drug both starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a ‘binge and crash’ pattern.”

SOURCE: NIDA (National Institute on Drug Use)

What does methamphetamine do to the body?

Methamphetamine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a natural chemical in the brain that is involved with body movement, motivation, pleasure and reward (pleasure from behaviors such as eating). The “rush” people feel when using methamphetamine comes from the drug’s ability to release high levels of dopamine quickly into the brain’s reward areas.

Considering the consequences of Meth Addiction

Short-term Use Effects (NIDA):

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature
  • Increased physical activity and energy levels

Long-term Use Effects (NIDA):

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Severe dental problems
  • Intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping problems
  • Violent behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

How do I know if someone is using methamphetamine?

Different drugs have different physical and emotional effects. Be aware of the common symptoms listed above if you are suspicious a loved one may be using meth. Here are some warning signs of methamphatamine abuse or methampetamine addiction:

Physical Changes

  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Dilated pupils,
  • Constant sniffing,
  • Itching,
  • Injection marks,
  • Changes in physical appearance – gaining or loosing weight in a short period of time or visible sores on the body

Behavioral Changes

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Isolation, withdrawal and secrets
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Visits from familiar or unfamiliar people at random times of the day or night for short periods of time (this may mean a buy/sell is occurring)

How do I know if someone is using methamphetamine?

Different drugs have different physical and emotional effects. Be aware of the common symptoms listed above if you are suspicious a loved one may be using meth. Here are some warning signs of methamphatamine abuse or methampetamine addiction:

Physical Changes

  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Dilated pupils,
  • Constant sniffing,
  • Itching,
  • Injection marks,
  • Changes in physical appearance – gaining or loosing weight in a short period of time or visible sores on the body

Behavioral Changes

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Isolation, withdrawal and secrets
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Visits from familiar or unfamiliar people at random times of the day or night for short periods of time (this may mean a buy/sell is occurring)

Is Treatment Available for Methamphetamine Addiction?

LRADAC provides a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs for individuals struggling with methamphetamine abuse.

LRADAC  Treatment Programs

If you are worried about a loved one who may be suffering from methamphetamine abuse, don’t hesitate to call LRADAC at (803) 726-9300.

LRADAC is the designated alcohol abuse and drug abuse authority for Lexington and Richland Counties of South Carolina. The public, not-for-profit agency offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs in locations convenient to residents of both counties. The agency has a budget of approximately $10 million and serves more than 5,000 clients per year.