SIGNS OF METH USAGE AND WHAT TO DO
Methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous drugs on the streets today. It has ruined not only the lives of people who consume the drug but also the lives of its users’ loved ones.
In 2015, almost 6,000 people died from stimulant use, and many of those deaths were meth-related.
Because of meth’s destructive nature, it is important that people suffering from addiction get help right away. If you are worried about someone and wondering to yourself, “what does meth look like?”, read on and we will show you the signs that someone is using.
WHAT IS METH?
Meth can be made into several forms. Crystal meth, brought to popularity thanks to the television show Breaking Bad, looks like glass shards or shattered pieces of ice.
The drug can also be found in powder form, ranging in color from light brown to white. Meth can also come as a liquid.
When a person consumes meth, they will feel a fast “rush” of euphoria, followed by several hours of less powerful euphoria.
Meth is highly addictive and a person only needs to use the substance just a few times before they get hooked.
And it’s popularity is growing. From 2016 to 2017, there was an alarming increase in meth use for young adults.
WHAT DOES METH LOOK LIKE?
Meth is known to increase its users’ dopamine levels. When we have high amounts of dopamine running through our system, we feel more awake, happy, and motivated.
Meth increases a person’s dopamine so much that they can go days without sleeping, seeming extremely alert but also anxious and nervous.
A side effect of using meth is a loss of appetite. It is not uncommon for meth users to quickly lose a lot of weight, giving off a gaunt and malnourished appearance.
Abusers of meth may develop what is known as “meth mouth”. When meth is ingested, it shrinks a person’s blood vessels and slows the blood flow to the mouth. Meth also decreases the body’s production of saliva, which results in a dry mouth.
The combination of less blood flow and lack of saliva leads to decaying of tooth enamel. When this occurs, teeth often fall out and the gums rot.
Meth users typically ignore good oral hygiene practices and are also known to grind their teeth while under the influence, further exacerbating their dental problems.
Due to less blood flow, different areas of the body start to deteriorate. A user’s skin may become a sickly color and take on a leathery quality.
The high levels of dopamine mean a faster heart rate and rise in body temperature. This makes the body sweat much more. Oily skin can also develop. The mix of oil and sweat can lead to acne and rashes all over the face and body.
Constant abusers of meth can experience formication – the tingling sensation that there are insects crawling on or under the skin.
The sensation can be so uncomfortable and overwhelming that the person experiencing this will pick their skin, leading to exposed wounds and sores. These sores are also known as “meth mites” or “crank bugs”.
Over time, a meth user may be fully covered in these sores. Due to the lack of blood flow, the body cannot properly repair itself and these skin issues may never fully heal. Meth mites are also harmful because they leave parts of the body exposed to infection and other diseases.
OTHER PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
Abusing meth can also lead to hair loss, nosebleeds, and dilated pupils. Plus, because it is often smoked, users may have burn marks on their face or lips.
Tweaking is what meth users experience near the end of their high.
They may act erratically and not like themselves. Because meth can cause hallucinations, users can appear to be disconnected with reality and not really there. They can also become violent towards themselves or those around them, especially when they are craving.
When you notice actions like this, it is a sign for help. You may become angry or flustered with this person but remember it is important to show kindness and compassion.
What goes up must come down, and a meth high is no exception. Meth’s initial rush of euphoria lasts anywhere from just a few minutes to about half an hour. After that, there is about 8 – 12 hours of lingering effects including an increased sense of well-being.
Once this wears off, the meth user will experience a crash of exhaustion, also known as the comedown. The crash is so powerful that they may sleep up to 3 days and it takes up to around 10 days for the body to reach its regular levels of energy.
If people give in to their drug cravings at this time and ingest more, they can start a binge and crash cycle that the body won’t be able to keep up with. This can mean debilitating and sometimes fatal consequences.
Because of the power of meth’s high, abusers of the drug tend to let all other priorities fall to the wayside. This is especially alarming if the user has children or other people who depend on them.
It is not uncommon for meth addicts who are also parents to forget to feed their children or change their babies’ diapers. If the addict has pets at home, they may not bother to clean up the animals’ waste.
Another major problem is that users may leave their drug paraphernalia around the house. If the children were to come into contact with this drug, the effects could be drastic.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE IS ON METH
Methamphetamine is a dangerous and illegal drug whose effects can not only harm its user but the people who care for that person. Now that you know the consequences of meth and can answer the question, “what does meth look like,” it is important to be on the lookout for these signs.
If you know someone who is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, we urge you to call our rehab in Sandton, Johannesburg. You could be helping save a life.
011 786 0326 / 082 447 6727