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Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Meth Addiction:

Meth is a very addictive drug and when used for extended periods of time, it can prove to be seriously injurious to health. The drug proves to be destructive for overall lifestyle of a person. Getting rid of meth addiction is one of the most difficult tasks to complete but people have done that and now they are living a successful life. So, recovery is always possible. With continued use of meth, signs and symptoms of abuse become obvious. Looking for hints in a loved one can help you detect if they are suffering from meth addiction.

Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Meth Addiction

Table of Contents:

  • 1.Signs of Meth Abuse
  • 2.Symptoms of Meth Abuse
  • 3.Effects of Meth on Brain: Long Term and Short Term
  • 4.Health Effects of Using Meth
  • 5.Dangers Associated With Secondhand Meth Smoke
  • 6.Methamphetamine Abuse During Pregnancy

Signs of Meth Abuse:

Meth produces its harmful effects on an addict. The effects gradually become obvious and seriously harm every aspect of an addict’s life. Changes can be noticed in body, mind and behavior of an addict. Look for these changes in a loved one you suspect of addiction:

Behavioral Signs:

  • Lack of interest in everyday activities
  • Declined performance at school and office
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Suspicious activities
  • Change in social circle
  • Financial problems
  • Declined moral values
  • Forgetting things
  • Aggression and violent behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Dental problems, rotten teeth
  • Deteriorated motor skills
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Carelessness towards family and relationships
  • Insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Marks on skin on venous sites

Looking for these substances in suspected addict’s room or other places in use may also help:

  • Syringes for addicts who inject meth
  • Aluminium foils that are used to smoke meth
  • Rolled up paper or dollar bills that are used to snort meth
  • A burned pipe that is used to smoke meth

All the addictions start with recreational use that prolongs for dangerous periods of time. The use turns into abuse and finally addiction.

Symptoms of Meth Abuse:

Meth increases the levels of many neurotransmitters in brain such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are associated with a number of brain functions such as producing feelings of pleasure and happiness. There is a temporary boost in mood, energy levels, heart rate and blood pressure. Feelings of pleasure are resulted. The symptoms of meth abuse include:

  • Elevated energy
  • Euphoria
  • Rush
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Movements of jaw
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent nose bleeds due to snorting
  • Blackened teeth that are referred to as ‘meth mouth’

Mental symptoms of meth abuse:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Hallucinations
  • Fidgeting behavior or restlessness

Usage of meth even in small amounts may have very potent side effects. The drug can cause cardiovascular problems and even convulsions and seizures.

Prolonged use can have obvious physical symptoms such as lesions on skin, poor coordination, and weird behavior.

Effects of Meth on Brain:

Short term effects of meth are temporary that may disappear after drug usage is stopped. These may include:

  • Increased wakefulness and energy
  • Increased physical activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fastened heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature or hyperthermia

The drug also produces its long term effects on brain that, in some cases, are not reversible. Such as:

  • Anxiety and depression even after quitting the drug
  • Feelings of guilt and remorse
  • Damaged neurons
  • Impaired learning abilities
  • Failure to concentrate

Other Health Effects of Meth Addiction:

If meth is used via intravenous injections, the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases greatly increases. These diseases may include HIV AIDS and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are able to pass from one person to the other via blood and other bodily fluids. Methamphetamine use also alters the brain structure and impairs the thinking abilities that may lead to dangerous practices during the high phase such as unsafe sex that increases the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

These diseases combined with addiction can have very damaging effects. In a person with HIV, the damage caused to brain by drug is increased by many folds. The permanent damage thus caused to neurons impairs the normal functioning of brain such as thinking and learning abilities, judgment and decision making.

The other long term health effects produced by the drug include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Meth mouth
  • Confusion
  • Intense itching that leads to injuries
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart failure
  • Liver damage
  • Undernourishment because of low appetite
  • Reproductive health issues

Dangers Associated With Secondhand Meth Smoke:

Breathing in an environment contaminated with meth smoke can lead to presence of drug in the blood but so far, there is no evidence of people getting high on meth smoke or developing health problems from smoking secondhand smoke.

Methamphetamine Abuse during Pregnancy:

Using meth during pregnancy can induce serious abnormalities in the baby and can even result into an abortion. The abnormalities produced include poor development of heart and brain and other body organs. Premature delivery can also be a consequence. A number of other behavioral, mental and physical abnormalities are also produced as per studies conducted by National Institute on Drug Abuse. The baby fails to live a normal life.

Overall effects of meth on a user’s life:

  • The users with occasional use of drug usually snort or swallow the drug. They may need drug at times to stay awake for long periods of time or to efficiently perform other tasks.
  • Binge users usually smoke or inject meth to produce immediate effects. It also allows a large dose to be taken at once. Such users are addicted to rush and cannot live without the drug.
  • High intensity meth users, sometimes referred to as ‘speed freaks’, cannot imagine their life without the drug. Their whole life revolves around obtaining the drug and fulfilling addiction at the cost of anything in the world.


Road to drug and alcohol recovery is easy if you follow our extensive addiction recovery guide.