Meth, or methamphetamine, is a stimulant drug that is very dangerous and highly addictive. Despite the health risk, more than one million Americans use the drug annually. Whether they snort, smoke or dissolve it in water and inject it, meth can cause countless dangerous side effects. Learning the three most common and visible signs of meth use can make it easier to spot and help those struggling with addiction.
1. Sudden and Unexplained Weight Loss
Physically, one of the most dramatic signs of an addiction to meth will include weight changes. This happens for a number of reasons. As a stimulant, meth can increase heart rate and metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories.
More significantly, many meth users simply don’t have an appetite. Often, sugar is the only craving meth users notice. They may drink lots of sugary drinks or eat candy, but that won’t replace full, nutritious meals. Unfortunately, this decrease in appetite also typically leads to malnutrition.
2. Meth Mouth
Another of the most noticeable signs of an addiction to meth is meth mouth. This condition is typically a very unattractive combination of severe tooth decay and gum disease. Meth mouth happens because of several factors, just some of which include the following:
- Chemicals in meth
- Preference for sugary foods and drinks
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Lack of dental hygiene
- Dry mouth
Meth is made with caustic chemicals. These chemicals can actually remove the enamel of the teeth. This leads to more cavities in a very short amount of time, especially with a diet heavy in sugar.
Meth also dries up the saliva in the mouth. A dry mouth means that saliva isn’t doing its job to prevent decay, encouraging still more dental problems. Meth can also cause grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw, which further worsens dental health. To top it all off, a drug addiction often means that brushing and flossing aren’t priorities.
3. Behavioral Signs of Meth Use
While many of the signs of a meth addiction are physical, meth can also wreak havoc on people’s behavior. Often, people notice big changes to the conduct of a meth user. To start, those struggling with an addiction may be less honest and open. Lying about drug use, or retreating from social activities, can definitely be a sign that something is wrong.
Many people who have meth addictions also engage in any number of risky behaviors. Their impulsiveness will increase since their logical, rational mind is no longer in charge. Under the influence of meth, people may make risky financial decisions, ruin personal relationships or engage in unhealthy sexual activities.
Those with mental health concerns, who suffer from co-occurring disorders, may see their symptoms rise quickly. This can have a profound and negative impact on their behavior.
If you recognize these signs of meth use in a loved one, it means that professional addiction treatment has to be a priority. 1st Step Behavioral in Pompano Beach, Florida can offer programs designed to kick an addiction to meth once and for all. Take the next step on this journey to recovery by calling (866) 319-6126 now.
Long- Term Side Effects of Methamphetamine Use
Since you now know how meth can cause addiction and increase your impulsiveness, it is important to be vigilant about identifying its common signs. It is because crystal meth does not only have short-term impact on your well –being, but it can cause an irreversible damage to your body and brain. This damage is not limited to merely an increase in your blood pressure.
Also, the continued consumption of meth can even damage your blood vessels and nerves in the brain. The condition cannot only cause irregular heartbeat, but also life-threatening conditions, like stroke, which can result in sudden death or collapse. Addict may also suffer severe lung, kidney and liver failure. That is to say, long-term meth use has several negative consequences and side- effects, including addiction itself.
Typically, excessive use of methamphetamine can trigger molecular and functional changes in the brain. In many cases, dependence on the pleasurable effects of meth strengthens when a patient takes it repeatedly. Once a person develops a tolerance, they gradually feel the need of higher meth doses, more frequently. It doesn’t end here; once addiction of meth becomes chronic, abusers do not feel any pleasure that other drugs provide.
Withdrawal from meth, on the other hand, happens when abuser stops taking it. There are many withdrawal symptoms that include fatigue, anxiety, depression and intense drug craving.
The good news is that therapists at 1stStep Behavioral Health Center are experts in providing addiction treatment. They work through programs that are designed carefully after considering the severity of a patient’s signs and symptoms.
As methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant, our therapists are aware of its long-term effects. Considering this, at 1stStep Behavioral Health Center therapists have divided the long –term effects of meth into psychological and physical categories.
Long-term Physical Health Effects of Methamphetamine
Following are the long-term physical health effects of consuming meth:
- Kidney failure
- Birth defects
- Liver failure
- High risk of cancer
- Infection due to poor hygiene and skin-picking
- Reproductive issues
Long-term Psychological Effects of Methamphetamine
Following are the long-term psychological health effects of taking meth:
- Impairment of memory, judgment, cognition, and motor skills
- Anhedonia– no pleasurable feelings due to damaged dopamine receptors
A number of patients who come to 1stStep Behavioral Health Center suffer from meth overdose. The symptoms leave deleterious effects on the abusers due to excessive consumption at one time. In many cases, meth overdose causes fatal consequences by poisoning the body. Meth overdose can be identified at early stage if you look out carefully for the following signs.
- Kidney failure
- Chest pain
- Extreme anxiety
- Heart attack
If you find the following symptoms in your friend or loved one, contact 1stStep Behavioral Health Center for immediate and effective medical assistance. Delay in treatment may reduce the chances of survival.1stStep Behavioral Health Center has the best medical personnel to treat meth abusers.