In 2018, nearly 2 million people in the U.S. said they’d used the drug methamphetamine in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Just over a million people had abused or become dependent on meth.
With meth access and usage on the rise in recent years, it’s important to understand the tell-tale signs that your loved one may be addicted to this powerful stimulant drug, which affects the central nervous system.
Here are four signs to be aware of.
Loss of Interest
If your loved one is addicted to meth, they may prioritize their addiction over all else. This means they may let hobbies, relationships, interests, and work or school fall by the wayside as they chase their next high.
“Their use may become their main focus in life,” Vonnie Nealon, LCDC, tells WebMD Connect to Care. She's a licensed therapist and chemical dependency counselor. Active drug users often isolate themselves, “especially from family and close friends,” she says. “They avoid social activities and situations that may prevent them from using their drugs.”
You may hear about your loved one acting paranoid and irritated because they’ve stayed awake for days on end. This is called tweaking, and it happens when a meth user is coming down from a drug binge and is dealing with missing that high feeling. Other symptoms of tweaking can include:
- Jerky or twitchy body movements
- Violent behavior
If your loved one has been abusing meth for a while, you might notice long-term physical symptoms like these:
- Weight loss
- Decaying teeth and gums (known as meth mouth)
- Skin sores from picking or scratching
If your loved one is smoking, snorting, or injecting meth, you might see the gear they use to take the drug. Nealon says that these items could include:
- Glass pipes
- Aluminum foil
- Tiny spoons
Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.
The sooner someone gets treatment for drug abuse, the quicker they can start to heal and get their life back on track. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.