19 Common Meth Addiction Signs
1. Meth Mouth
A case of severe dental problems often referred to as meth mouth is one of the most common signs of meth addiction. This includes the decay and loss of teeth, erosion of the enamel, and fracture as well as other severe oral problems. Long-term abuse of meth can cause these issues due to:
- Extreme jaw clenching and teeth grinding while high
- The decrease of saliva in the mouth
- The constant intake of sugary foods that is common among meth abusing individuals
2. Tweaking or Being “on a Run”
Someone who takes meth for several days straight without sleeping is called a tweaker, and this individual will already be addicted to meth. If you know someone who behaves this way or notice that they seem clear-headed but, upon further inspection, their eyes move much too rapidly, they move jerkily, and their hands shake, they are likely tweaking or on a run, which are the two terms for this behavior. This is definitely a sign of addiction.
3. Constant Itching and Sores
Someone who has become addicted to meth with exhibit severe itching and will likely have many sores on their body as a result. This is caused by “the tactile hallucination that tweakers [people who have been taking meth constantly for several days straight without sleeping] often experience” (CESAR). This hallucinatory sensation is called crank bugs and feels like little bugs burrowing under the skin of the abuser.
4. Loss of Memory Similar to Mental Disorders
According to CESAR, “brain damage similar to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease” is a common sign of addiction to methamphetamine. If a person you know is beginning to show signs of these disorders, especially if they are relatively young, it could be a sign of meth addiction. Loss of memory will occur, and the individual might not remember things you were discussing only moments before.
5. Weakened Immune System
Meth addicts become ill constantly, due to their regular intake of the drug. It makes their immune system extremely weak, and they will often be fighting illness. This will not, however, make them stop abusing the drug, especially if they are addicted.
6. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can occur after a long time of abusing meth. Someone who is addicted to the drug will continue to abuse it despite these types of effects but will feel them constantly.
With any illicit drug, a growing tolerance is a sign that addiction to the drug is growing as well. Meth can cause “regular users [to] build up a tolerance to the drug’s effects, needing more of the drug to feel the original effect.” If they are addicted, they will continue to take more each time.
8. Dependence and Withdrawal
People can become highly dependent on methamphetamine simultaneously with becoming addicted. The withdrawal symptoms caused by meth are highly psychological for the most part and consist of symptoms caused by similar stimulant withdrawal syndromes, including depression, anxiety, irritability, and suicidal thoughts as well as intense cravings that can last for a long time.
9. Malnutrition and Weight Loss
According to the NIDA, “long-term methamphetamine use has many negative consequences for physical health, including extreme weight loss.” Meth addicts are often emaciated and extremely malnourished.
10. Uncharacteristic Violent Behavior
Meth abuse over time can begin to cause psychosis which can end up causing extreme and uncharacteristic violent behavior in the abuser. The individual might begin to exhibit homicidal or suicidal tendencies and become extremely dangerous.
Meth addicts become extremely paranoid about the people around them. This can cause problems between the individual and those who love them and want to help them. Meth addicts often believe that everyone is out to get them.
Because meth is a stimulant, it can cause abusers to become awake, alert, and extremely keyed up most of the time. While the individual might go several days without sleep and crash, other sleep disturbances might occur even when they are not currently on the drug.
13. Inability to Feel Pleasure
People who are truly addicted to meth will become disinterested in any activity that does not involve abusing the drug. “Chronic methamphetamine abusers may develop difficulty feeling any pleasure other than that provided by the drug, fueling further abuse” (NIDA).
14. Increased Distractibility
Someone who has been abusing meth for a while will have an increased likelihood of becoming distracted when on or off the drug. This will be very obvious in how they interact with others.
Self-absorption is common in individuals who abuse meth over a long period of time (CESAR). They begin to lose touch with reality and are only interested in themselves and obtaining more of the drug.
16. Dry Mouth
This issue, coupled with meth mouth, can be a sign of severe addiction because meth often causes dry mouth which, in turn, causes tooth decay to occur. If the individual’s mouth continues to remain dry through these issues, it is likely that they are continuing to abuse the drug.
17. Changes in Friendships
When someone becomes addicted to meth, they will only want to spend their time around other meth addicts. They will likely stop spending time with old friends and spend all of their time with other individuals who abuse the drug. This can be especially obvious if you know the person’s social circles and who they normally spend time with.
18. Many Problems Stemming from Meth Abuse
If an individual experiences problems with:
- The law
or especially all of the above as a result of meth abuse, there is an extreme potential that they are addicted to the drug. More than one of these issues can point to serious addiction, especially if the individual still refuses to stop.
19. An Inability to Stop Abusing Meth
Often, people cannot stop abusing a drug, even if they want to. This is the strongest, clearest sign of meth addiction and often the way addiction itself is defined. If the person feels that they cannot stop taking a drug on their own, addiction is present and treatment will be needed to be effective.