Methamphetamine Use Symptoms & The Side-Effects of Meth Addiction

Meth addiction can be difficult to identify. If you’re concerned you or a loved one is struggling with methampetamines, this page outlines the warning signs, symptoms, and causes of this addiction.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Abuse?

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant that can be smoked, injected, inhaled or taken by mouth. Symptoms of meth abuse include:

  • increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • increased activity and wakefulness
  • increased talkativeness
  • decreased appetite
  • euphoria and experiencing a rush
  • increased respiration
  • rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • hyperthermia

What are the Warning Signs of Meth Addiction?

There are many warning signs that a person may be addicted to methamphetamine. The physical appearance of a person using methamphetamines may provide several key clues:

  • Skin picking: methamphetamine addicts are known to obsessively pick at their skin. The marks left by this picking may look similar to an extreme case of acne, often leaving open sores on the face.
  • Skin crawling: meth addicts also often complain about having crawling skin, a disorder known as formication.
  • Tooth decay: Another common sign is tooth loss or tooth decay, referred to as meth mouth.
  • Hair loss: due to the lack of nutrients in an addict’s body as well as the dangerous chemicals they ingest, hair breakage frequently occurs as well.

What Are the Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?

Long term effects of methamphetamine use may include:

  • addiction
  • psychosis, including:
    • paranoia
    • hallucinations
  • repetitive motor activity
  • changes in brain structure and function
  • memory loss
  • aggressive or violent behavior
  • mood disturbances
  • severe dental problems
  • weight loss

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. In comparison to similar stimulants, much higher levels of methamphetamine enter the brain, making it a more potent stimulant drug. It also has longer lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system.

Methamphetamine has many street names, such as speed, meth, and chalk. Methamphetamine hydrochloride, the crystal form inhaled by smoking, is referred to as ice, crystal, glass, and tina.

How Does Meth Affect the User’s Brain?

Methamphetamine affects the brain and can create feelings of pleasure, increase energy and elevate mood. Methamphetamines give someone the ability to stay awake and do continuous activity with less need for sleep. Methamphetamines, like regular amphetamines, also suppress a person’s appetite and are sometimes used by people trying to lose weight quickly.

Most of the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is involved in motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine releases approximately twelve times the dopamine that food, sex or other pleasurable activities release. The elevated release of dopamine produced by meth is also thought to contribute to the drug’s harmful effects on nerve terminals in the brain.

Meth addiction and dependency is a serious disease that is extremely difficult to address. Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center is a leading rehab and recovery facility for women suffering from methamphetamine addiction as well as other co-occurring disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Methamphetamine addiction is a serious medical disease that is extremely difficult to overcome. Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center is a leading rehab and recovery center for women (ages 12 and up) who suffer with methamphetamine abuse as well as other addictions, eating disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Read more about meth addiction treatment.

Timberline Knolls saved my life. The therapists are truly incredible and they really care about us. I made friends for life and I got my life back on track.

– A former resident
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