(Jefferly notes: Why these pages? Because at times all anyone needs is to know someone cares about them and their life. Lots of people do care. And want desperately, without judgment, to help anyone who is struggling. There is a way out. Seeking help is not weakness. It’s strength. You just have to ask. Peace.)
Methamphetamine is a drug available in white or light brown powdered form, with visible crystals. It is basically a stimulant and a person feels high after taking the drug. This drug is most commonly smoked but can also be taken in injection or pill form. Meth is a highly addictive drug and its abuse rate is increasing day by day. Parents and loved ones must recognize the signs of meth abuse in order to seek immediate help and help their loved ones to get over their addiction.
Part 1 of 3: Looking for Signs of Meth Abuse
1Search for physical signs. Physical signs are very common among people who abuse meth, unlike with other drugs which have more subtle effects .. Some common physical signs of meth abuse are:
- Excessive weight loss (that’s not caused by any underlying conditions)
- Dilated pupils
- Hyperactivity – evidenced by excessive talk and inability to sleep
- Sleep loss and loss of appetite due to chemical changes in the brain
- Repetitive behaviors
- Eye twitching
2Watch out for psychological signs. Due to chemical changes in the brain, some psychological symptoms are also visible. These psychological signs may include the following symptoms and might indicate meth or other drug use.
- Mood swings with alternating depressive and manic phases. During the depressive phase there is heightened need for sleep and during manic phases the person may stay awake for many nights.
- The person may be constantly nervous and anxious.
- The person may become paranoid and believe that somebody is out to get them.
- There can be hallucinations or delusions, such as seeing or hearing things which others do not.
- The person may display extremely aggressive behavior upon unavailability of drug, and pick an argument for no reason.
3Keep an eye on the activity of the person.The observation of certain activities is very important in identifying the signs of meth abuse. Some common social problems faced by those who abuse meth are:
- Heightened and unsafe sexual activity due to drug effects like confusion and inability to make decision, as well as hyperactivity.
- Excessive aggression leading to relationship problems with parents, peers and siblings
- Keeping company with those who either abuse drugs or have easy access to drugs.
4Pay attention to financial cues. A meth abuser uses all their money to get the drug. It is often difficult for teenagers who only get pocket money from their parents to afford drugs, so they find ways to make up for this shortage of money through various means. Some common signs of financial issues are
- Inability to meet financial needs because of excessive spending on drug related activities like buying drugs or supplying drugs for a party .
- Excessive debt as a result of asking for money from others in order to finance their drug habit.
- Problems with friends and peers over money issues, due to the drug user’s inability to pay back debts.
- Problem with parents and complaints over not having any money.
- Aggressive behaviors shown over insufficient money.
- Inability to report where the money is being spent when asked.
5Pay attention to the company your loved one keeps. Most drug abusers tend to hang around with other people who abuse drugs too. This is one of the easiest ways to detect drug abuse. Meth abusers often have the following kind of company:
- People who abuse meth or any other drug.
- People who have easy access to drugs.
- People who don’t pose a threat – i.e. those who won’t tell the drug user’s family or criticize them for their addiction.
6Search for signs of disturbance. Social, occupational and functional disturbances are very common among people who abuse meth and drugs in general. The school/college life, work life and/or social life of people who abuse me this impaired. You can detect signs of these disturbances by doing the following:
- Remain in touch with teachers, peers and close friends. They can help you to keep track of the person’s recent activities.
- Keep in touch with colleagues, if the person is employed. They can tell you how the person behaves while at work and can fill you in on their daily routine, e.g when they arrive at work, when they leave, etc.
- Observe the legal, social and financial condition of the person who is suspected of being a meth abuser. Poor social functioning, financial trouble and frequent legal issues are commonly the result of meth abuse.
7Look for meth apparatus in the person’s living area. If you find certain drug taking apparatus in the person’s headquarters it can be a pretty definite indication that the person is taking meth. Items to look out for include:
- The tube of a ballpoint pen or surgical tubing that might have been used to sniff meth.
- A crumpled can of aluminum foil.
- A small bag of white powder or crystals.
- A soda can with a hole on one of its sides.
- A syringe that might be used to inject drugs.
Part 2 of 3: Looking for Symptoms of Meth Abuse
1Look for rotten, browning teeth. Meth adversely affects teeth, turning them brown and causing decay. The person may also have red or sore gums because of damage caused by meth.
2Identify paleness or a runny nose. These symptoms occur due to poor nourishment and low immunity.
3See if you notice any track marks or nose bleeds. You will notice track marks on the person’s arms if the drug is being injected, or nose bleeds if the drug is being sniffed. There may also be burn marks on the person’s lips or fingers if the drug is smoked using hot glass or metallic pipe.
4Look for signs of impaired cognition or deteriorated memory. Many brain cells are damaged as a result of continuous drug use. This damage is caused by the many caustic chemicals used in meth preparation, and can manifest itself in slower brain function and loss of memory.
5Pay attention to harsh body odors. If a person is using meth, they will often give off a very bad odor. This is due to a combination of the drug use itself and the person forgetting to wash while they are using.
6Be prepared for excessive talking and impulsiveness. When high on meth, the person tries to finish others sentences and give advice to others, whether he knows anything about the topic being discussed or not. He behaves recklessly and refuses to worry about the outcomes of his risky behavior.
7Be aware of secretive behavior and social isolation. When using, the person may spend the whole day in his room with a closed door, not allowing anyone to enter. Additionally, the person will behave in a very closed off, secretive manner to hide their drug use.
8Identify signs of premature aging. Meth users often start to look old before their time because their skin is damaged, becoming rough and itchy, and their hair starts to fall out. Meth users are more prone diseases, including high blood pressure and heart diseases and may pass away at an early age as a result.
Part 3 of 3: Identifying the Patterns of Meth Users
1Understand the patterns of low intensity abusers. These abusers intake meth just to enjoy its so-called benefits, such as feeling energetic, euphoric, experiencing increased alertness and sense of power. The person feels overly confident and relishes grandiosity. They are not psychologically addicted to the drug and they mostly take it by swallowing or snorting it.
2Be aware of the patterns of high intensity abusers. High intensity abusers prefer taking meth by injecting or smoking it. They do so to feel high or aroused. They are psychologically addicted, and do not feel withdrawal symptoms or normalcy. They continuously intake large amounts of the drug.
3Recognize the patterns of binge abusers. Binge abusers need to take more meth every few hours to maintain a high.They are psychologically addicted and mostly take the drug via syringe.
- After taking the drug, binge users feel mentally and physically active. They feel a huge rush or high, but can quickly crash and go into withdrawal. When they are experiencing withdrawal, meth users can become violent and ready to attack.
- Several hours after their last binge, the person sleeps for many days. After waking up they experience low energy levels and depression. Meth users often try to commit suicide when in this condition. The symptoms are reversed by taking the drug again and the effects can last from 3 to 15 days.