Physical Signs of Meth Use

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive stimulant that affects your central nervous system. Physical symptoms of meth use can show up whether you’re new to taking the drug or you’re becoming dependent on it, according to American Addiction Centers.

Here are some warning signs to be aware of.

Short-Term Physical Symptoms

Some ways that meth can affect your body after you take it are:

  • Increased physical activity
  • Less appetite
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Faster breathing
  • Overheating

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Meth can make you push your body too hard and fast. You may feel physically exhausted and sleep for a long time, or “crash,” once the drug wears off, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.

You also risk overdosing. Symptoms can include convulsions and a dangerously high body temperature. You could have a heart attack, stroke, or problems with multiple organs. An overdose can kill you if you don’t get emergency treatment right away.

Long-Term Physical Symptoms

If you keep using meth, over time you may notice effects that age you and deteriorate your body, like:

  • Dangerous weight loss
  • Tooth decay or loss (also known as “meth mouth”)
  • Sores from scratching itchy skin

Other Outward Clues of Meth Use

If you’re concerned someone you love might be using meth, you may spot other warning signs, too. Your loved one might:

  • Be unable to sleep
  • Have increasingly poor hygeine
  • Seem disinterested in things they used to enjoy
  • Have mood swings or more aggression
  • Act anxious, irritable, or confused
  • Have syringes, burnt spoons, surgical tubing, or other drug paraphernalia lying around

How to Get Help

You or your loved one can recover from meth addiction. The key is to get treatment as soon as possible.

Residential treatment facilities are one of the best options, says Julie Schmidt, a certified alcohol and drug counselor in Chicago. These programs last for several months and help you work through the stages of treatment, teaching you healthy coping skills, Schmidt says. Residential treatment centers allow you to fully immerse yourself in recovery by providing a safe environment without past triggers and your usual daily activities.

Connect to Care advisors are standing by to help answer any questions they may have about addiction treatment.

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