Street-level crystal meth is one of the most devastating illegal drugs available on the black market. It takes a tremendous toll on both body and mind. Though some methamphetamines are used medically for certain disorders, the illicit version of this drug, manufactured illegally in unlawful meth labs, wreaks havoc among nearly 2 million Americans every year. Meth addiction treatment in Pennsylvania is available at Pennsylvania Teen & Adult Challenge. Ushering those who suffer from substance use disorders safely onto the road to recovery is our mission.
If you are worried about yourself or a loved one regarding the abuse of crystal meth, reach out today. Our expert staff will answer your questions without judgment, laying out options and reassuring you that you are not alone. Help is available if you call 844.442.8673 today or fill out our easy online form.
Signs of Meth Use
People who are using or addicted to D-methamphetamine HCI, otherwise known as crystal meth, often exhibit specific characteristics. Therefore, it is relatively easy to tell if someone is using this drug. There are telltale physical signs that show up in about a third of users. That percentage goes up when someone is abusing meth more heavily.
- Visible meth addiction signs include:
- Sores and abscesses on the skin due to picking and compulsive scratching
- Bald patches from hair-pulling, scratching and picking
- “Meth mouth,” or decaying and broken teeth
- Nasal damage and decay
- Track marks
- Premature aging
- Extreme weight loss due to suppressed appetite
- Violent outbursts or mood swings
Other Common Signs of Crystal Meth Use
Another common and highly identifiable effect of meth abuse is tweaking. Tweaking refers to what happens to a user as a meth binge ends. The body and brain have been pushed to their limits, and the user can no longer achieve the high. This stage means the euphoria is gone, and there is no chance of regaining it at the moment. It causes unimaginable desperation combined with overwhelming cravings. It is not difficult for those familiar with tweaking to recognize its symptoms in someone experiencing this time between binge and crash. Someone who is tweaking:
- Feels like bugs are crawling under the skin (often leading to the picking and scratching that causes abscesses and sores)
- Cannot sleep, sometimes for days on end
- Becomes increasingly unstable and paranoid
- Dissociates from reality, entering a kind of psychotic state
- May resort to self-harm
Then, the person will experience the crash or a total body and mind collapse. The extreme levels of stimulation experienced over long periods result in this shutdown. Lasting from one to three days, the crash, a certain sign of meth use, is mainly characterized by sleep.
The Effects of Meth Abuse Long Term
Long-term abuse of meth can have long-term effects. Typical symptoms of addiction and chronic abuse include:
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior and impulse control
The psychosis, including paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations that can occur during tweaking, can last for months or years, even after someone addicted to meth has stopped using. The brain of a chronic meth abuser is changed in profound ways. As plastic and resilient as the brain can be, it can also be seriously damaged by various kinds of assaults to it, from traumatic brain injury to the abuse of certain drugs.
Meth’s effects on the brain are similar to certain kinds of traumatic brain injuries. Like many other drugs, meth will rewire the dopamine system within the brain. But with this drug, there is more. Meth can change the brain structurally and functionally, specifically areas connected to memory and emotion. Sufferers of meth addiction often have ongoing challenges with emotional regulation, emotional expression, and memory. In addition, cognitive damage in reduced motor speed and changes to verbal learning and processing often occur.
Learn to Identify Meth Addiction Signs at PAATC
For many reasons, it’s important not to take meth addiction lightly. But there is help available. No one has to stay in the grip of this drug permanently. At PAATC, we have helped many people suffering from meth addiction find recovery.
Not all drug treatment is the same. At PAATC, you will receive individualized treatment for your needs and specific to a meth use disorder. Evidence-based therapies that are particularly helpful with meth addiction include:
- Motivational interviewing, which helps you accept the challenging truth about addiction to meth
- Contingency management incorporates a reward system to reinforce healthy behavior and choices
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) relies on life skills and coping strategies
For answers and guidance, reach out to PAATC today by calling 844.442.8673 or using our online form. We are ready to accompany you as you start your recovery journey. With help, you can find healing, sobriety, and a fulfilling future.