How to Know if Someone is Using Meth

Methamphetamine is an extremely potent and addictive central nervous system stimulant.1,2 Crystal meth is an illicitly manufactured form of meth that sometimes looks like bits of glass or bluish-white rocks.1

Though methamphetamine may be taken orally, illicit use often involves snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug.,1,2 This page will discuss some of the potential signs of meth use or addiction, what to do if you think someone might be using meth, and how to get treatment for meth addiction.

What Are the Signs of Meth Use?

Agitated man

Meth use can lead to changes in a person’s appearance, behavior, and a decline in overall health.1 Though not always specific to methamphetamine, some potential warning signs that someone may be abusing meth include:1-4

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Racing pulse.
  • Sweating.
  • Euphoric mood.
  • Increased talkativeness and activity.
  • Decreased need for sleep.
  • Noticeable weight loss/anorexia.
  • Heightened sensitivity to noise.
  • Irritability.
  • Sores from scratching or picking at the skin.
  • Visibly declining oral health.
  • Repetitive, compulsive behaviors.
  • Personality changes, including increased aggression.
  • Symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or paranoia.

What Are the Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease that can be managed with proper treatment. While it is helpful to be aware of the signs of meth addiction, a diagnosis of any substance use disorder should be made by a treatment professional. Diagnostic criteria for a stimulant use disorder involving methamphetamine include:1,2,3

  • Spending a lot of time getting meth, taking meth, or recovering from meth use (e.g., crashing after a meth binge).
  • Wanting to or unsuccessfully trying to cut down on or stop using meth.
  • Taking meth in larger doses or for longer periods of time than originally planned.
  • Experiencing meth cravings.
  • Cutting back or quitting activities or hobbies due to meth use.
  • Inability to stop using meth even after it has caused or aggravated an ongoing physical or psychiatric health problem.
  • Inability to stop using meth after it has caused or worsened continuing relationship issues.
  • Ongoing meth use that gets in the way of responsibilities at home, school, and/or work.
  • Using meth when it could be physically harmful to do so, such as while driving.
  • Developing a tolerance to the effects of meth, requiring larger amounts to achieve a high.
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when meth use is stopped or dramatically reduced. Meth withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, exhaustion, increased hunger, intense depression (with or without suicidal thoughts) and strong cravings for meth.

Experiencing or exhibiting 2 or more of the above characteristic signs, symptoms, and behavioral changes within 12 months could indicate that an individual meets criteria for a methamphetamine use disorder.3

What to Do if You Suspect Someone is Using Meth

Crystal meth is an extremely dangerous drug. In addition to being highly addictive, it can cause overdose, toxicity, and lead to serious, long-lasting, and potentially irreversible health problems.1

If your loved one has been using meth, treatment can help them find recovery, improving their lives as well as the lives of their friends and family. However, conversations surrounding addiction treatment are difficult to have.

Getting Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

There are various settings and levels of addiction treatment available to best meet the individualized needs of patients.7

A professional medical detox may be first step in the recovery process, wherein the body  rids itself of meth and other substances in a safe and supportive environment.7,8 However, detox is not a substitute for more comprehensive treatment efforts, as it may be ineffective in producing lasting behavioral change when it is not followed up with inpatient drug rehab program and/or outpatient rehab.7,8 These programs use various types of therapy to teach skills that promote long-term sobriety.7

Before you start treatment, it is important to find a program that fits your needs. Many people have concerns about paying for rehab, so finding a facility that accepts your insurance is often a priority. Desert Hope Treatment Center offers an easy way to verify your insurance online here.

If you want to talk to someone immediately about treatment or our admissions process, you can call us any time at .

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