Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse - Solutions Recovery

Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse

Substance abuse and addiction continue to be a major issue in the United States. As of 2015, more than 23 million adults living in the United States are estimated to have struggled with drug addiction.1(1st paragraph) The specific numbers vary state by state. In Nevada, 9,422 people 12 and older received treatment for their addiction in 2015.2(search Nevada in document, first statistic) Still, many people who struggle with addiction and substance abuse do not get the help they need.

Substance abuse treatment can address various types of addictions, including crystal meth addiction. This man-made form of methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant. Crystal meth is a highly addictive, illegal substance. Derived from the powder of methamphetamine and made into shiny rocks or pills, street names for crystal meth include crack, crystal, glass, and ice.

Use of crystal meth comes with a lot of physical, social, and behavioral health risks. There’s a very high risk of becoming dependent on and addicted to crystal meth. That is why the drug is a Schedule II controlled substance.

The purpose of this page is to provide information on how to properly identify and get help for crystal meth addiction. Deciding to get help is vital in ending an addiction and creating a life worth living. For many people, the fear of the unexpected can prevent them from taking that crucial step. The thought of withdrawal and learning how to live life without drugs and alcohol can be paralyzing.

It is important to remember that many people feel this way. If you happen to be one of them, you are not alone. In fact, 1,865 people in Nevada aged 12 and older received substance abuse treatment for methamphetamine addiction in 2018. That number was even higher, at 3,525 people, in 2017.2(search Nevada, 10th statistic) Help is available and recovery is possible.

Physical Signs of Crystal Meth Users

Signs of crystal meth use can present in a variety of ways. Medical problems or changes in appearance, behavior, and social interactions are all possible when a person uses crystal meth. Generally speaking, the longer a person uses the drug, the more severe the risks are. Signs can appear almost immediately after first use, or they can occur later in the addiction process.

These red flags may be short-term, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe or mild.  Many of the short-term signs of crystal meth can be severe and lead to greater health complications. The drug’s impact on the brain and the central nervous system can affect the user’s heartbeat and respiratory functioning. More specifically, short-term signs of use can include:3(short-term effects)

  • Rapid breathing.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • An increase in physical movement and increased energy.
  • A reduction in appetite, which can lead to weight loss.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Increased body temperature.

Signs of long-term use can include the signs mentioned above as well as:3(long-term side effects)

  • Poor working memory and memory impairment.
  • Changes in the physiological structure of the brain.
  • Changes in the way the brain functions and processes information.
  • Symptoms of severe mental illness, such as psychosis; this may include paranoia (severe distrust of others) and hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that don’t exist).
  • Extreme itching that can lead to sores on the skin.
  • Anxiety and irritability.
  • Sleep problems such as difficulty falling and staying asleep.
  • Significant weight loss.
  • “Meth mouth,” which refers to significant dental issues including tooth decay.

People who use crystal meth generally smoke the substance. Therefore, burns on the hands and face, particularly around the mouth, may also signal use. Some people choose to inject it using a needle. The practice of injecting crystal meth into the body significantly increases a person’s risk of contracting communicable diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.3(long-term effects)

Behavioral Signs of Crystal Meth Users

Addiction refers to the point in substance use where a person has an obsessive and compulsive need to continue to use the drug despite experiencing significant consequences. Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is classified as a mental health disorder, and it results in significant social, economic, and health problems.4(1st paragraph) Indicators of crystal meth addiction can include poor personal hygiene (wearing dirty clothes, neglecting to shower), job loss, conflict in relationships with family and friends, problems with the law, and inability to pay bills and other financial problems.

Some behavioral and psychological signs of crystal methamphetamine use include:3(long-term side effects)

  • Paranoid thoughts.
  • Extreme mood swings, including panic attacks and anxiety.
  • Confusion
  • Violent behavior.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Excessive itching.
  • Difficulty learning and processing information.
  • Excessive energy.

At first glance, it may be hard to understand why someone would choose to use a substance that has so many adverse and possibly fatal side effects. What makes crystal meth desirable is the way it impacts the brain and the central nervous system. Crystal meth causes a reaction in the brain that increases dopamine, which leads to feelings of happiness, euphoria, and excitement. 3(3rd paragraph) Those positive emotions are self-reinforcing, so the person will want to continue using despite experiencing significant and unhealthy side effects.

Other Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse

Dependence refers to the point in substance use where the body experiences physical withdrawal without it. Physical withdrawal symptoms can feel intense and uncomfortable, and for many people, the fear of withdrawal is enough to prevent them from getting the help they need. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Getting help from a substance abuse treatment facility can effectively address and manage your withdrawal symptoms throughout the detoxification process.

The most common withdrawal symptoms from crystal meth include: 3(

  • Severe depression.
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions.
  • Psychosis, including hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don’t exist), delusions (believing an alternate reality), and paranoia (extreme distrust of others).
  • Anxiety.
  • Intense physical craving for the drug.

The length and duration of symptoms depends on a number of individual factors including age, age of first use, amount used, length of use, and underlying medical and mental health issues. Deciding to receive detox and rehab services under the supervision of a substance abuse treatment facility can ensure that these factors are being addressed so withdrawal symptoms can be mitigated and managed.

The intense physical craving for crystal meth during the withdrawal process can lead to relapse, preventing the successful completion of detox. Having your symptoms managed by professionals in a controlled environment can reduce the likelihood of relapse. Among Nevadan adults, 1,620 detoxed in a residential substance abuse treatment facility in 2018.2

Help for Crystal Meth Addiction

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of rehab in Nevada and throughout the United States. AAC employs compassionate staff whose mission is to help you achieve your recovery goals. You will receive a comprehensive personalized treatment plan that addresses the components of addiction and targets your unique needs.

Admissions navigators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many of them have personal experience with addiction, so you can be sure that you will be treated with the respect and dignity that you deserve. Call 702-800-2682 to receive the help and support you need. There is no obligation, and your call will remain 100% confidential.

1.National Institutes of Health. (2015). 10 percent of U.S. adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives.

2.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Treatment episode data sets (TEDS): 2018. Admission to and discharges from publically funded substance abuse treatment.

3.National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Methamphetamine drug facts.

4.Hesse, M. (2006). What does addiction mean to me? Mens Sana Monographs. 4(1), 104-126.

You are not in this alone

Our Admissions Navigators are here to help you take back control of your life.