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Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug to get hooked on, so much so that we need to look for the signs of abuse if we think a loved one is taking it. Meth abuse can cause overwhelming physical and psychological effects on top of the financial, social, and even spiritual problems associated with addiction.
It’s best to address the problem before it gets worse.
Here are the signs and symptoms of methamphetamine use, and a brief look at why people abuse this drug in the first place.
Why is Methamphetamine Addictive?
When taken, the drug floods the brain with dopamine, creating a feel-good sensation and inexplicable euphoria. The high is what gets people addicted because as soon as they take meth for the first time, the brain’s reward center is stimulated. The result is that the user feels compelled to take it again and again.
Eventually, they develop a tolerance for it, meaning they need more meth to get the same high. Over time a person can develop physical dependence, wherein their body can no longer function properly without it. They will go through withdrawal if they attempt to quit.
For long-term abusers, withdrawal can be life-threatening. This is why addiction treatment is necessary.
What are the Signs of Meth Use?
Methamphetamine is very rarely prescribed because of its addictive potential. But it is only given for patients with ADHD or obesity—both of which have safer alternative treatments, and so meth is rarely prescribed.
Meth is often a white to light brown crystalline powder. It may also be found in clear crystals that look like broken pieces of ice or shards of glass. Meth also comes in liquid form.
Recreational users sometimes snort, smoke, or inject the drug. If someone in your family is taking meth, you may find small bags of white powder or syringes. Also look for small pieces of crumpled aluminum foil, soda cans with a hole in the side, etc.
But sometimes it is easier to notice behavioral changes in the user. Meth abusers will sometimes take the drug continuously for a long period of time in hopes of avoiding the “crash”. This is an unpleasant sensation that follows the meth high.
Meth abusers do not sleep for long periods. They often lose their appetite because they always feel full. They may even lose weight drastically.
You may notice them becoming unusually active, nervous, anxious, or paranoid. Some long-term users even become violent or aggressive due to the mental effects of meth.
Repeated use will cause irregular heartbeat, frequent mood swings, violent behavior, confusion, and insomnia.
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How to help your Addicted Loved One
Once you’ve spotted the signs of meth abuse, you need to help them look for an addiction treatment center nearby. Different rehab centers offer different programs, but they will generally create one that’s suitable for the patient’s specific condition.
A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can help them get sober again if they really commit to getting better. Medical detox is the safest way to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals will be able to keep track of the patient’s condition while gradually lowering their meth intake.
On the other hand, behavioral therapy helps address the root cause of addictive behavior. Techniques like counseling, group therapy, family therapy, meditation, massage therapy, and other methods can tackle the emotional and mental effects of addiction.
Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and find out what programs they offer.