Methamphetamine (or meth) is a stimulant drug used for recreational purposes. Its crystal form (crystal meth) is highly addictive. Crystal meth (or “ice”) can be smoked or snorted. Smoking achieves a faster onset and more intense effects. The instant and extreme euphoria associated with crystal meth are very addictive. Meth addiction can devastate the person using it and their family and friends. This is why looking out for possible meth use in a loved one is crucial.
When you spot these signs, you can help your friend or family member get the help they need at the meth addiction treatment center in Massachusetts.
Short-Term Effects of Meth
You can spot signs of meth use by paying attention to any obvious changes in a person’s emotional state or behavior. The short-term signs of meth abuse include:
- An intense initial ‘rush’ that can last for 30 minutes or longer
- Higher motivation to achieve goals
- Feelings of improved ability to solve problems
- Instant euphoria
- Increases in alertness and energy
These short-term effects can last up to 12 hours. If you encounter your loved one during a meth high, these short-term effects are often obvious and include drastic changes in:
- Thought patterns
Meth use can also feature more negative effects, like erratic or violent behavior. If a loved one regularly acts out of character in this way, it could indicate substance abuse. Signs and symptoms include:
- Significant weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Unpredictable behavior
- Severe mood swings
- Tremors or convulsions
- Changes in sleeping patterns
Long-Term Effects of Meth
When someone habitually uses meth, it can lead to abuse and addiction. Meth’s physiological and psychological effects become more severe and intense and include:
- Longer-lasting psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
- Increased mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, and isolation
- Unusual behavior
- Feeling of bugs crawling on or under the skin (known as formication) – This can cause meth users to itch, scratch, dig, and pick at their skin, resulting in sores.
Crystal meth abuse also presents outward signs of aging in some users. This is because the drug damages the body’s tissues and blood vessels, as well as the body’s ability to heal. Meth addicts may develop acne, with the skin losing its elasticity and having a dull look. Signs of meth use are shown in the user’s teeth as decay and cracks—known as “meth mouth.”
Understanding What Is Meant by ‘Tweaking’
When a user comes down from their high, they may enter a “tweaking stage.” When someone is tweaking, they can feel intense cravings and perhaps even experience despair. At this point, psychotic symptoms might present themselves. Users may show delusions, hallucinations, and other distortions in perceiving reality. They may enter a state of paranoia, severe anxiety, insomnia, and sometimes struggle with suicidal thoughts. If a loved one suddenly experiences these mental health issues, it could signify meth use.
How to Help Someone Addicted to Meth
If you think someone you love shows signs of meth use or addiction, they must get effective addiction treatment, starting with detox at the drug rehab center in Worcester.
Step 1: Detox
A person addicted needs to stop using to flush out the toxins in the body. Discontinuing meth use results in withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Loss of energy
- Itchy eyes
- Sleep disturbances, ranging from excessive sleeping to severe insomnia
Smoking crystal meth results in a huge release of dopamine in the brain. This is responsible for intense feelings of euphoria and pleasure. But dopamine receptor activity can be impaired after a long period of stimulation. When someone stops using the drug altogether, they give up the intensely rewarding and positive feeling of the drug. They may be left with a diminished ability to feel pleasure and happiness due to the drug’s long-term effect on their dopamine system. These unpleasant effects and other withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable—even dangerous. During withdrawal, it’s common for users to relapse and start showing signs of meth use again to avoid these unpleasant symptoms. Your loved one must join a medically supervised detox program in MA. They’ll be monitored 24/7 by trained professionals who can manage their symptoms and help them avoid relapse.
Step 2: Inpatient Treatment
After meth detox, it’s best for someone to continue their recovery at an inpatient treatment center in Boston, MA, also known as residential rehabilitation. At Washburn House, our inpatient residential facility gives patients accommodations and spaces for recreational activities. People stay for varying lengths of time. The amount of time your loved one spends in inpatient care depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The severity of their meth addiction
- The existence of any other mental health conditions (known as co-occurring disorders)
Addiction treatment includes a variety of programs depending on your needs, including:
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment in Worcester
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in MA
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Yoga therapy in MA
Inpatient programs allow users to focus on their sobriety without distractions or temptations. Contact Washburn House for a safe and comforting environment free of addiction triggers.
Alternative: Outpatient Treatment
Partial hospitalization (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) are options. These programs offer drug treatment sessions during various times of the week. Your loved one continues living at home, working, studying, or caring for their family while maintaining recovery. An outpatient rehab program can help them address their addiction’s mental and behavioral issues without interrupting their normal life.
Look to Washburn House for Support and Rehab
If you’re worried a loved one suffers from meth abuse or addiction, call Washburn House treatment center in Worcester at 855.298.3104. We offer a diverse, holistic approach to tackling meth addiction, and we’d be happy to discuss our options with you. Our individualized programs have effectively set people on the path to recovery and long-term sobriety.