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Meth Addiction Signs to Watch For
June 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant that triggers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine from the brain. Made from readily-available substances such as battery acid, paint thinner, and over-the-counter cold medicines, meth releases twelve times the amount of these pleasurable neurotransmitters than sex. Luckily for those with observant loved ones, the meth addiction signs are all too clear when put together. Be vigilant for the following signs if you suspect meth abuse.

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 photo credit: b_ronphoto

Users may commit spur-of-the-moment crimes. The drug impairs judgment and increases agitation, so the user may be involved in altercations with strangers and loved ones alike. Burglaries and petty thefts could be signs an addict has run out of the drug and needs more money. Male and female users alike may also pay in sexual favors, turning to prostitution. 

Meth often robs the user of normal pleasure. Be aware of sudden disinterest in sex, fun hobbies, or spending time with friends. As the user slips further into the clutches of the drug, the brain’s supply of dopamine depletes, robbing these activities of all pleasure. Sexual partners of users may also notice that, while the user is able to perform, the encounter lasts for hours with no climax. The ability to orgasm can be lost completely with meth, as the brain’s neurotransmitters are too depleted to trigger a climax.

Obsessive behavior is also noted in individuals battling meth addiction. Compulsive hand-washing, cleaning, or over-grooming may occur. Sometimes, the user will repeat the same task over and over, or re-check their work many more times than necessary. This can also stray into self-harm as the user may pick or scratch at their skin until open sores develop. Meth users frequently report the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin, exacerbating this obsession.

Tooth decay, otherwise known as meth mouth, is caused by the poor hygiene of users, as well as a decrease in saliva production and nervous grinding of the teeth. On the same note, extreme body odor, lack of grooming, and a cavalier ignorance of their body’s condition also afflict users. Since meth also causes copious sweating, the smell quickly becomes overpowering if the user abandons hygiene.

Also be cognizant of the user’s mental state. They will often talk at length in rambling, disjointed rants. They may become easily confused or argumentative. Hallucinations of bugs, persecution, and being judged have all been reported with regularity. During withdrawal periods, an addict may sleep for long periods and become withdrawn. If help is not sought, depression can result. Withdrawal also leads the user to feel less intelligent and slow. They may think others are patronizing them, and lash out at those attempting to aid the addict in their recovery, leading the addict to relapse.

While pure meth has no odor, impurities may lead to a strong odor ranging from sickeningly-sweet to rotten eggs. Sometimes, what one would believe is the scent of meth may be the attempts of a paranoid smoker to mask the smell using air fresheners or burning hair or plastic. Not wishing to be caught smoking, addicts may also be fond of incense, scented candles, or heavy perfumes.

It is also important to note that meth is not always smoked. It can also be inserted into the anus or vagina for absorbtion, crushed and snorted, swallowed, or dissolved and injected. Be alert for needle tracks or frequent nosebleeds. 

If you believe your loved one may be using meth, please seek help right away through a drug counseling service or rehabilitation facility. Meth addiction is usually fatal within it’s first five to seven years. Don’t wait.


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