Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Signs and Side Effects

Methamphetamines are a type of stimulant drug. The most commonly abused form of meth is crystal meth, which looks somewhat like glass. When someone uses meth, it speeds up the functionality of the central nervous system. Meth also causes a flood of dopamine and serotonin into the brain. These are known as “feel-good” neurotransmitters, which is what causes people to feel high when they use meth. Methamphetamines are a relatively broad class of substances, and some are used medically to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Crystal meth doesn’t have any medical use, however.

Symptoms of Meth Abuse

When a person uses crystal meth, they can crush the drug and use it orally. Some people also smoke, snort or inject crystal meth. When meth is used recreationally, along with the euphoric rush of the high, a person may experience symptoms similar to mania or psychosis. Meth is highly addictive as well. Some people report becoming addicted to meth after using it only one time. Meth isn’t a drug that is typically used recreationally without an addiction forming.

Possible meth symptoms and signs of meth use can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy
  • Increased sociability
  • Alertness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Talkativeness
  • Aggression
  • Grandiose behavior

Due to how addictive and powerful meth is, it’s often easy to tell when someone is using it. Within a very short period of using meth, a person may show extreme symptoms that can be outwardly obvious. Some of the signs of meth addiction can include:

  • Using meth despite dangerous consequences or side effects
  • Not focusing on other commitments to instead use meth
  • Secretiveness or defensiveness that could lead to fights with friends and family
  • Spending a lot of time or money trying to obtain or use meth

Along with the effects of being high on meth, and the overall damage caused by meth, other symptoms can occur as someone is coming down from the drug. Meth comedown isn’t the same as drug withdrawal. Usually, someone will experience the effects of meth for around eight hours. Then, as the drugs wear off, more negative symptoms and side effects will occur. This effect is sometimes compared to a hangover from alcohol. Meth comedown symptoms can include:

  • Extreme sadness or depression
  • Lethargy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Jaw pain
  • Drug cravings

There is also something called tweaking that is often one of the meth comedown symptoms. With tweaking, the person may not have slept for many days. The person may be experiencing the negative symptoms of coming down from meth. As part of this, the user may act violently or aggressively. When someone is tweaking, their eyes will usually move very quickly, and their behavior can seem extremely erratic. Someone who’s tweaking may seem jumpy also.

Side Effects of Meth

When someone uses meth, the short-term and long-term side effects can be severe. Possible meth side effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Reduced appetite
  • Increased respiration rate
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Anger
  • Flushed skin
  • Itchiness
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Darting eyes and dilated pupils
  • Skin lesions and sores that seem to be present all the time
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Thinking bugs are crawling on or under their skin
  • Loosening of the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Trembling and shaking

There can be other side effects of meth use a well. Some of them are physical signs of meth use, while others might be more lifestyle-related. These side effects of meth can include:

  • Homelessness
  • Incarceration
  • Financial problems
  • Divorce and relationship problems
  • Committing domestic abuse
  • Psychosis
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Malnutrition
  • Tooth loss
  • Compulsive or obsessive behaviors
  • Changes in memory and thinking
  • Violence
  • Brain damages and changes in the function of the brain
  • Declines in judgment and reasoning
  • The inability to feel pleasure, which is known as anhedonia
  • Infectious diseases
  • Damage to bodily tissues and blood vessels
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death

Side Effects of Long-Term Meth Abuse

The short-term symptoms of meth use can be severe and can escalate quickly. The long-term effects of meth can be even more detrimental. Some of the long-term side effects of smoking meth or using it in any way can include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Drastic changes in appearance
  • Brain diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Severe oral problems including gum disease and tooth decay
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Lung disease
  • Death

Signs of Meth Overdose

Overdosing on meth can be something that easily occurs because of the strength of the drug. It can also be deadly. Some of the possible meth overdose symptoms can include:

  • Aggression or paranoia
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Organ failure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Death

Meth addiction is detrimental, but it is also treatable. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of meth addiction, and treatment options, contact Orlando Recovery Center.

Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.