While it may be obvious when someone is encountering problems in their life or undergoing dramatic life changes, it can yet be quite difficult to determine whether drug use is the cause. After all, while there is no doubt that drug use affects an individual both physically and mentally, most individuals who are using, abusing or even addicted to these dangerous substances are yet able to hide their problems convincingly from others, blame the signs and symptoms on some other life situation, or even pass these problems off as some sort of temporary phase they are going through. In fact, it has occurred time and again that family members and friends are greatly shocked to learn that a loved one has been abusing drug substances for some time. They may even try to deny these problems themselves, as it seems impossible that they could be so well-hidden for so long For this and other reasons, it can be very helpful to learn more about drugs and the signs of drug use, abuse and addiction, so that one can extend help to others as needed.
Methamphetamine is a highly potent stimulant drug substance that can be made in high-tech labs either in America or in Mexico, or can be made with various over-the-counter ingredients in small, home-based labs. While it is not high on the list of the most commonly-abused drug substances, there is no doubt that methamphetamine is one of the most addictive and destructive drug substances currently in existence.
Normally presenting as a white to light brown crystalline powder, meth can also be found as clear, chunky crystals and in liquid form. Meth can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. Meth use normally follows a binge-and-crash pattern, where the individual continues to use the drug over and over every few hours until finally they no longer achieve the desired effects, they run out of supplies, or their body simply crashes. As they begin to recover, they often turn right back into meth use.
Signs of Meth Use, Abuse and Addiction
The first sign that meth use is occurring is the presence of drug-related paraphernalia. If someone you know has a meth problem you may find small bags of white powder or crystals, syringes, crumpled aluminum foil, soda cans with a single hole in the side or even the shafts of inexpensive ball-point pens.
Since meth is a stimulant drug substance, a meth user will often feel more energetic, and he may not sleep for long periods of time – like several days in a row – before crashing into a nearly lifeless sleep for long periods of time. He may also display no appetite and fail to eat for several days in a row. As a result, meth addicts often lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time, and look gaunt, thin and undernourished.
Meth users will often seem to be very active and energetic, but at the same time will be nervous and anxious. He may get overheated and seem excessively and inappropriately sweaty. His pupils may be dilated, his blood pressure high and he may even seem aggressively assertive in his general manner.
An individual who is regularly using meth will be greatly affected by the many toxic chemicals that are used to make this drug. He will have an irregular, rapid heartbeat, mood disturbances, violent, aggressive and paranoid behavior, confusion and insomnia. His physical appearance will also deteriorate very rapidly, usually with a graying and drooping of the skin and the appearance of dramatic aging in a short period of time. He may also suffer from tactile, auditory and visual hallucinations, including the delusion that bugs are burrowing under his skin. He will scratch and pick at his skin constantly, leaving sores that cannot heal. The chemicals in meth can also dry up the flow of saliva, resulting in the discoloration and rotting of the user’s teeth. This is commonly referred to as “meth mouth”, and is one of the more well-known signs that meth use is occurring.
Meth users are often so focused on obtaining and using more meth that their judgement is very poor, and they often neglect their responsibilities. A meth user’s children are often neglected, their home uncared for, and their work or school commitments ignored. Furthermore, meth users are willing to do anything to continue their meth use, and they may engage in risky lifestyles and behavior, including unprotected sex.
Solving Meth Problems
Meth is so potent and addictive that some individuals have become addicted after just a few uses. While it is true that meth addiction can be quite difficult to resolve, it is also true that it is far easier to resolve earlier in the process than later in the process, when the individual has lost far more. However, the meth addict himself is rarely able to recognize his problem or his need for help, and will therefore need a loved one to intervene in his life.
It can be very difficult to acknowledge that a loved one has turned to meth use, and while this is definitely understandable, it is no less important that they receive the help they desperately need. To that end, family members and friends should work to ascertain whether meth use is occurring, and if so, assist their loved one in getting the professional help and treatment that can lead to full and lasting recovery.