What Are the Signs of Meth Dependence?
You might be wondering whether or not someone in your life is dependent upon or abusing methamphetamines. It happens and there isn’t anything wrong with trying to figure it out. You can’t help someone if you don’t know they have a problem. Additionally, you can’t protect yourself if you aren’t keen to recognize a potentially harmful situation. You need to know the signs of meth use.
If it helps, meth usage isn’t as common as the news makes out. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) points out approximately 1.2 million people have reported using methamphetamine in the past year. Of that 1.2 million, only 440,000 reported using it in the past month.
Among young people, Monitoring the Future data reports numbers that are similarly low. In 2015, the following percentages of young people reported using meth in the past year:
- .5 percent of 8th graders
- .8 percent of 10th graders
- .6 percent of 12th
In addition, 5. Percent of 12th graders stated they used crystal methamphetamine in the last year. These numbers demonstrate that meth use isn’t terribly common, but they also show that people are using it and someone you know could be one of those users.
It’s good that you are doing your research, but there are other resources that can help you, too. For example, the addiction specialists at SubstanceAbuse.org do a wonderful job of answering questions, directing you to treatment options and connecting you with sources.
Methamphetamine is considered a stimulant because this class of drugs is known for boosting moods, elevating feelings of wellbeing, creating additional energy, and increasing alertness. These drugs also have downsides; they raise heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to seizures or heart failure. Over time, users also face crippling depression as part of their drug use process.
Meth is manmade and it is produced in large quantities by largescale, illegal labs, called “superlabs.” Most of the meth on the market comes from these labs. Rocks—usually shiny and white or clear—of this meth are called crystal meth. However, generally it is available in a foul tasting, white powder. It can also take the form of pills.
The many forms of methamphetamine allow for it to be used in multiple ways. You can:
- Smoke it
- Inhale or “snort” it
- Inject it
- Orally ingest it
How you loved one is using meth has a lot to do with the geographical area where they live, as patterns of use often have a community wide impact. Nonetheless, smoking methamphetamine is overall the most popular form of use.
Users who inject the meth directly into themselves have a greater, faster high. Whereas, snorting and oral ingestion definitely produce a high but it isn’t as intense as the high from smoking or injecting the meth. For example, oral ingestion typically takes 15 to 20 minutes to produce a high and snorting can get you high in 3 to 5 minutes.
If your loved one is caught in a binge use cycle, where they get high and keep using to maintain that high, they will ignore sleep and food. It could be a sign or drug use, specifically meth use.
Yes, sleep and appetite disturbances are something you should monitor, but the most obvious sign will be the presence of drugs or paraphernalia. Look for small packets of white powder or white rocks. Also, keep an eye out for a glass pipe, needles, mirrors with residue, and other items associated with drug use.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse also lists the following symptoms, which can also be used to determine whether or not a person you love is doing meth:
- Improved focus
- Amplified activity
- An obvious euphoria or “high”
- Quick breathing
- A fast or irregular heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
You know that meth and other drugs are dangerous. Don’t assume that your loved one doesn’t know this or is ignoring it. Drug addiction is a chronic disease and by the time someone is addicted or dependent, they can’t just use willpower to stop. They need your help.
If you are interested in learning more about meth addiction, contact SubstanceAbuse.org and speak with an expert. Just call 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to get the answers you need.