A struggle with meth addiction is difficult and painful to endure both for the substance abuser and his/her family and loved ones. Not only are meth addicts themselves affected, but the surrounding support structure may find themselves in turmoil as well, experiencing a great deal of grief, stress and distrust.
Prevent and Detect Meth Abuse
Meth is known to produce a distinct set of adverse reactions mentally and physically.
- “Meth mouth” is one of the more commonly known signs of meth use which occurs as a reaction after continued use of the drug. Tooth decay and periodontal deterioration manifests as a result of the harsh and toxic chemicals which comprise crystal meth. Poor hygiene, teeth grinding and other factors may aggravate meth mouth further.
- Open sores and scabs may appear on various parts of a meth user’s body. These ulcer-like wounds come about after the user has obsessively been picking at his/her skin, or as a result of general skin deterioration.
- An unhealthy appearance and rapid weight loss often accompanies meth use. This is due to a loss of appetite and a major shift in priority from physical well-being to obsessive drug seeking.
Additional signs that an individual may be using crystal meth might include:
- Foul body odor, as from excessive sweating or contact with ammonia
- Rapid, exaggerated movements
- Inability to sit still—facial tics, erratic motion
- Patchy hair loss (from picking)
- Odd sleeping habits, or lack therof
- Burn marks on the face or hands
- Mood swings and emotional instability
- Severe paranoia and/or hallucinations
- Consistent money borrowing
- Obsessive, compulsive and repetitive action
Further, the powerfully addictive stimulant is linked to poor judgment and immoral or criminal behavior which, when they appear, are unlike the person’s usual character. Of course, any of the above warning signs that a crystal meth habit may or may not be drug-related as isolated incidents. However, when a pattern is observed or when drug paraphernalia is found (such as pipes, needs or burnt spoons), one must act quickly to resolve the issue.
Know When to Get Help
It is not uncommon for addicts to insist that they are all right or deny the presence of a problem. Further, a meth abuser may convince others that he/she can simply stop using drugs any time they want to, making drug treatment seem unnecessary or like a bad idea.
The meth user’s family and friends must serve as a strong support structure in these situations, insisting that proper treatment is gotten. Especially due to the volatile chemical nature of meth, it is extremely important that such substance abusers are monitored closely for safety and treated right away.
A crystal meth user’s success in treatment and recovery may largely depend on the support he/she receives from family. Encourage drug free living by sending supportive letters to the addict while they are in rehab, or by assisting them to get back on their feet when they return home.
Understanding the Downward Spiral of Meth Abuse
Crystal meth use can provoke theft, violence and other disturbing or traumatizing behaviors which are directed at the user’s closest loved ones. Such betrayals can be hard to overcome. Remember, however, that impulsive drug seeking behavior is to be expected with meth abuse. However hard it may be, do not take such actions personally.
The downward spiral of meth use begins with an overwhelm of the brain’s normal functions and reward system—meth takes over, clouding judgment and preventing logical decision making.
The intense high locks a user into an addictive state rapidly, causing the cycle of continued use. A substance abuser with meth in the driver’s seat, impaired judgment and intense drug cravings is truly headed nowhere fast.
For more information about meth addiction and treatment, call 1-800-468-6933.