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woman holding her sleeve to her nose showing signs of meth use

Signs of Meth Use

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 is very addictive. Meth addiction can be devastating, for both the person using and their family and friends. This is why it’s crucial to look out for possible signs of meth use in a loved one.

When you can spot these signs, you can help your friend or family member get the help they need at the meth addiction treatment center in Massachusettes.

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
  • Confidence
  • 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:

  • Mood
  • Thought patterns
  • Speech
  • Behavior

Meth use can also feature more negative effects, like erratic or violent behavior. If a loved one is regularly acting 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
  • Confusion
  • 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 itself as 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 taking on a dull look. Signs of meth use shows in the user’s teeth as decay and cracks—known as “meth mouth.”

Tweaking

When a user comes down from their high, they may enter a stage referred to as “tweaking.” 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 signs of delusions, hallucinations, and other distortions in how they perceive 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 be a sign of meth use.

How to Help Someone Addicted to Meth

If you think someone you love shows signs of meth use or addiction, it’s important they 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
  • Depression
  • Loss of energy
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sleep disturbances, ranging from excessive sleeping to severe insomnia
  • Anxiety

Smoking crystal meth results in a huge release of dopamine in the brain. This is responsible for the intense feelings of euphoria and pleasure. But after a long period of stimulation, dopamine receptor activity can be impaired. 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, combined with 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. This is why it’s crucial for your loved one to 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:

Inpatient programs allow users to focus on their sobriety without distractions or temptations. Contact Washburn House for a safe setting and comforting environment free of addiction triggers.

Alternative: Outpatient Treatment

Partial hospitalization (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) are also options. These programs offer drug treatment sessions during various times in the week. Your loved one continues living at home, working, studying, or caring for their family while maintaining their recovery. An outpatient rehab program can help them address the mental and behavioral issues under their addiction, without interrupting their normal life.

Rehab in MA for Signs of Meth Use

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 been shown to effectively set people on the path to recovery and long-term sobriety.

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