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Telltale Signs of Meth Abuse

When someone is abusing meth, they will likely try to hide it from their friends and loved ones, becoming very secretive. However, there are still many common signs that they will likely exhibit as a result of abusing meth. If you notice consistently these signs in someone you care about, it may be necessary to seek treatment for them as “repeated methamphetamine use can easily lead to addiction––a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use” (NIDA).

Physical Signs of Meth Abuse

meth abuse

The physical signs of meth abuse can be startling.

There are many telltale physical signs of meth abuse. According to the NIDA, “increased respiration” and rapid heartbeat are all common when an individual is high on meth. Some of the other physical signs that may occur as a result of meth abuse are as follows:

  • Bad breath
  • Dilated pupils
    • Commonly exhibited among individuals who are high on stimulants
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy sweating
  • Jaw clenching
    • The uncontrollable jaw clenching that occurs in an individual who abuses meth actually causes the cracked teeth that occurs after long-term abuse of the drug.
    • Gum decay also occurs in individuals who abuse meth in the long-term.

Over time, meth abuse can lead to even more physical effects that will be noticeable by others. These are:

  • High blood pressure
  • “Sores, skin infections, acne” (CESAR)
    • These often occur as a result of severe itching which individuals who abuse meth constantly do. It becomes a habit and leads to these skin issues.
  • Stroke
  • Heart infection
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Malnutrition and extreme weight loss
    • This is caused by the decrease in appetite experienced by meth abusers. Most meth abusers will only want to eat sugary foods, but they will often eat so little that they will lose weight at an alarming rate.

Behavioral Signs of Meth Abuse

There are a large number of behavioral signs associated with meth abuse. A person who is abusing meth will not act like themselves and will likely do things to put themselves and other people in danger in order to abuse more meth. According to CESAR, “The most dangerous stage of methamphetamine abuse occurs when an abuser has not slept in 3-15 days and is irritable and paranoid.” This behavior is what is known as tweaking and is associated with:

  • A slight quiver in the voice
  • Quick, jerky movements
  • “Eyes… moving ten times faster than normal”

Other behavioral signs of meth abuse are:

  • Dangerous, unpredictable behavior
    • This behavior will become more intense and more dangerous in nature the longer the individual abuses meth.
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Violent, homicidal, or suicidal tendencies
  • “Performing repetitive, meaningless tasks”
  • Increased physical activity, talkativeness, sleeplessness
    • This is common among individuals who are currently high on meth. The drug is a stimulant so it will cause someone to feel awake and alert without a need for food or sleep which will cause this type of behavior.

The telltale signs of meth abuse are very clear. If you are concerned about a loved one and think that they may be abusing meth, look for these signs and seek treatment for them as soon as possible.

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