Meth Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Meth Addiction

Learn about meth addiction & abuse

Methamphetamine is a hazardous drug that is known to cause a great deal of devastation in the lives of those who abuse it.  Also referred to as meth, this highly addictive substance triggers the release of large quantities of dopamine in the user’s brain. When this type of chemical reaction occurs, a person under the influence of meth will experience a high that elicits feelings of relaxation and euphoria. These feelings, along with the painful withdrawal that is known to occur when a person is no longer high, are what can keep a person trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction.

As time presses on and a person’s tolerance for meth increases, there exists a constant risk for overdose. Additionally, prolonged abuse of this drug can negatively impact a person’s social, familial, and occupational life, leading to demise of relationships, isolation, and loss of employment. Furthermore, the mental and physical health of methamphetamine abusers decline over time, of which can make overcoming this addiction alone even more cumbersome. However, for those who wish to regain control over their lives and no longer wish to have their days dictated by an addiction to meth, there are effective treatment options in existence that can help lay the foundation for a bright future without the constraints of a meth abuse problem.

Statistics

Meth abuse statistics

After researching prevalence rates of methamphetamine abuse in the United States, researchers estimate that almost one million Americans have used meth at some point during their lifetime. Despite raised awareness pertaining to the dangers associated with meth abuse, these same researchers speculate that this number will rise. With regards to weekly usage of this highly-addictive substance, it was also found that 500,000 people in the United States abuse this substance on a weekly basis. Lastly, it is widely agreed by addiction experts that in order to overcome such an addiction, treatment must be sought from professionals in order to safely recovery from a meth abuse problem.

Causes & Risks

Causes and risk factors for meth abuse

There are several contributing factors that can influence whether or not a person will abuse substances, such as meth. The following explanations and risk factors for why and how an individual comes to abuse methamphetamine are widely accepted by addiction experts and mental health professionals who are highly-trained in treating individuals battling chemical dependency concerns:

Genetic: Researchers have concluded that a person can possess a genetic predisposition to addiction if there exists a family history of substance abuse or addiction. This discovery was made when it was realized that individuals who share similar genes share the commonality of abusing substances, such as meth. Therefore, it can be said that one’s genetics can play an integral role in the development of a methamphetamine addiction.

Environmental: The environment in which a person is primarily exposed to can influence whether or not the abuse of meth will occur. If a person is exposed to drug abuse of this kind on an ongoing basis and, thus, has easy access to methamphetamine, there is an increased risk for abusing meth. Furthermore, if an individual has a personal history of exposure to trauma, abuse, neglect, violence, or crime and lacks the skills needed to cope with such experiences, a person has an elevated risk for abusing methamphetamine if the previously mentioned environmental exposures are present.

Risk Factors:

  • Having easy access to methamphetamine
  • Exposure to crime
  • Family history of substance abuse / addiction / dependence
  • Personal history of abusing other drugs or alcohol
  • Presence of mental health condition(s)
  • Exposure to violence
  • Peer pressure
  • Being surrounded by people who use meth

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of meth abuse

There are number indications that can serve was warnings that a person is abusing methamphetamine. The obviousness of such indications is dependent on the severity and longevity of an individual’s addiction to this perilous drug. The following behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psycho-social symptoms are those that could be present when a person is battling an addiction to methamphetamine:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Erratic behavior
  • Missing work
  • Unwarranted aggression
  • Rapid speech
  • Incessant talking
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lying
  • Engaging in criminal activity
  • Social withdrawal or isolation

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Profuse sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Facial tics
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor hygiene
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Uncontrollable twitching
  • Foul body odor
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sound judgment and reasoning
  • Memory loss
  • Learning difficulties
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Psycho-social symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Decreased interest in things once enjoyed
  • Extreme shifts in mood
  • Intense anxiety
  • Depression
  • Prolonged manic episodes
  • Agitation

Effects

Effects of meth abuse

Chronic and prolonged abuse of methamphetamine can wreak havoc on every area of a person’s life if treatment is not sought and implemented. Below are some examples of the adversities that are known to ensue when a person does not seek and receive treatment for a meth addiction:

  • Financial strife
  • Damaged relationships
  • Divorce
  • Homelessness
  • Irreparable cognitive impairment
  • Contracting viruses such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C
  • Permanent damage to one’s immune system
  • Job loss
  • Sudden death
  • Changes to one physical appearance

Co-Occurring Disorders

Meth abuse & co-occurring disorders

A variety of mental health concerns are known to occur alongside addiction. With specific regards to a methamphetamine addiction, there are certain mental illnesses that are diagnosed in people with this type of chemical dependency problem. The following mental health disorders are those that are often found in those who abuse meth:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders

I came to Galax addicted to meth, but I left Galax as a brand new person.

– Kristin
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