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Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse, Addiction and Meth Recovery Information

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Facts about Methamphetamine Use

Abuse and addiction to methamphetamine, also commonly called meth or Crystal Meth is one of the fastest growing drug problems in the world. When used, Meth produces an immediate high and a prolonged feeling of happiness over many hours. During this time after methamphetamine use, the heart rate, breathing rate, alertness level and even temperature of the individual is increased. The individual will suffer from insomnia and will not be able to sleep while the drug is effecting their central nervous system, they will also be irritable, anxious and have drastic mood swings. The drug will cause the skin to feel itchy, and often the user will feel like bugs are crawling inside their skin. There will be extreme distrust, delusions and paranoia, which leads to extremely volatile and violent behavior. The person can also suffer from hallucinations, usually auditory.

Signs of Long Term Meth Abuse

Because the effects of methamphetamine use are very long lasting, a single dose can produce symptoms for up to 12 hours, most of those symptoms of meth use listed above become part of the normal personality of a person who is abusing meth. The insomnia symptom in particular begins to take a larger toll on the person, and the lack of sleep further compounds the irritability, mood swings, paranoia and violent behavior. A very dangerous situation happens called meth tweaking when an addict is able to string together long periods of use. During tweaking, a user can go more than 7 days without sleep and becomes incredibly violent and paranoid. This is a very dangerous situation for police and healthcare workers.

Physical Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse and Health Risks

The production of methamphetamine uses very harsh and caustic ingredients. These chemicals take a harsh toll on the body, on the inside and the outside. On of the most common, and famous signs of meth abuse is called ´Meth Mouth´ and includes severe rotting of the teeth and gums. It is not unusual for methamphetamine users to begin losing teeth after just a few months of abuse as well as developing mouth and gum infections. Another tell-tale sign of meth abuse are meth sores. These sores can appear anywhere on the body but usually are on the face, neck and arms. Meth sores are caused by a combination of symptoms, including the itchy feeling caused by heightened central nervous system activity along with paranoia and finally because the immune system and nutritional state of the meth addict are both decreased. The methamphetamine user will constantly be scratching their own skin until sores develop, and usually become infected.

Methamphetamine causes so many effects and symptoms to so many different organs it is hard to limit possible health risks. The most obvious are heart failure, strokes, liver and kidney damage as well as death from fever, which can reach 108. An equal number of deaths related to meth abuse occur from behavior, including risky behavior and reactions to paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.

Symptoms of Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Methamphetamine addiction recovery requires the person to go through a severe withdrawal phase. The most notable symptom of methamphetamine withdrawal is severe depression which leads to an increased risk of suicide. The meth addict will also suffer from other symptoms that are present in most detox situations including severe cravings, insomnia, irritability and an altered mental state including confusion.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Centers for Methamphetamine Addiction Recovery

Because of the growth of meth addiction in the USA in the last decade, there are now many inpatient and outpatient treatment centers and facilities that specialize in the withdrawal, detox and recovery from methamphetamine addiction. The choice to use an inpatient or outpatient meth treatment center will depend on the support system at home for the patient as well as costs. Because of the risk of suicide from depression, individuals without constant supervision at home should use an inpatient clinic to treat their meth addiction.

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