Crystal Meth Signs & Symptoms

Crystal meth is not the most abused drug across the world, but it is certainly one of the most addictive and the most destructive. It is also a very popular drug in certain minority groups, although it has now become more mainstream. Once known as “redneck cocaine” and “PNP” (party ‘n pleasure) on the gay scene, it is now used across all levels of society. This is why it is so important for people to be aware of crystal meth abuse signs and symptoms, so that they can recognize it in the people that they care about and do something to help.

What Is Crystal Meth and How Is It Used?

Crystal meth is usually light brown to white in color if it is in crystalline powder form, or a clear chunky crystal that looks like a shard of glass or broken piece of ice. It even exists as a liquid. The drug can be snorted, swallowed, injected, or smoked, with the latter being the most common for crystal meth. Hence, if you were to find small bags with traces of white powder, glass pipes, or syringes, you have reason to be concerned. It is also common to find small pieces of aluminum foil, inexpensive ball-point pen shafts, or soda cans with a hole on the side.

It can happen that someone uses meth again and again, without a period of rest. This is known as a “run” or a “binge”. Here, users will return to meth every few hours, until they are so incapacitated that they cannot continue, or until they run out of the drug. Some clear signals of a run include:

  • Not sleeping for an extended period of time
  • Losing their appetite
  • Rapidly losing weight
  • Being unusually active
  • Seeming anxious and nervous

What Happens When People Use Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is a very strong drug, stimulating people into quickly feeling a rush of euphoria, which lasts for up to 12 hours. Depending on how the drug is taken, the rush may come on very quickly or not at all, but the euphoria always lasts for a long time. Once users are “high”, they become energetic and no longer sleep, sometimes for days on end. They also stop eating, which is why active meth users often look gaunt, undernourished, and very thin. While they appear active and alert, they are anxious and nervous at the same time.

Users also start to overheat. They may start to sweat profusely, often without feeling hot at all, and without physically exerting themselves. They will have significantly dilated pupils and a strong increase in blood pressure. It is also common for them to develop sexual excitement.

The Negative Effects of Crystal Meth

When meth is produced, harsh and caustic chemicals are used. Because of this, when people abuse the drug, the effects on their body are harsh as well. Furthermore, they generally start to engage in lifestyles that are damaging to them. This is why it is such a dangerous drug.

With repeated use, people tend to develop a rapid and irregular heartbeat. They also experience mood swings, become aggressive and violent, get paranoid and confused, and suffer from insomnia. Their behavior and appearance can deteriorate very rapidly, particularly if they are heavy users.

Often, once people have become addicted, they become delusional and have hallucinations. Sometimes, they also get sores on parts of their body and face, and they will pick at these, making them worse over time. This is because users feel as if invisible bugs are crawling under their skin. Because the chemicals used in meth are caustic in nature and because meth also stops saliva from flowing properly, their teeth start to rot, turn brown, and become pipe-shaped. This is known as “meth mouth”.

When people abuse meth, their judgment is impaired. As a result, they are likely to take part in risky behaviors, including promiscuity. Sometimes, this is to enable them to raise the funds needed to buy meth. Addicted people also prioritize using the drug over all else, including maintaining their home, going to work, and looking after children. Children of meth users often go unfed and unwashed. Those who have pets usually no longer clean up their feces. Those with babies will leave soiled diapers all over the home. Drug paraphernalia can be found everywhere, including within a child’s reach. Hence, if you are concerned about users who have children, you have to take immediate and effective action to safeguard the children, even if this means having them placed out of the home.

Of particular concern as well is that people can overdose on crystal meth. They may overheat so badly that they start to convulse. Cardiovascular collapse is also possible. Meth overdoses are often fatal.

For those who have had a meth run, they often end up having a crash as well. During this period, all they do is sleep, often not doing anything else other than occasionally going to the toilet. They also regain their appetite very quickly. Unfortunately, their body will go into withdrawal at this point, which means that they will try to return to using the drug as soon as possible to stop those symptoms.

What to Do If You Spot the Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Abuse

If you believe someone you care about is currently using crystal meth, there are things you can do to make sure that they get help. It cannot be emphasized enough how dangerous methamphetamine use actually is. Unfortunately, users are often resistant to seeking help, and this means that they will generally require an outside intervention if they are to change their behaviors. This intervention can be organized by yourself, preferably with the help of a professional interventionist, or it can be court ordered. Either way, the road to recovery from meth is very long and very difficult, but not impossible. Being realistic is key. Most previous meth users do not restore their cognitive and memory functions for at least one year after becoming sober, nor do they regain a sense of normality before then.

Get Help Today