A parent’s natural instinct is to protect their child. Sometimes, the outside world can be unpredictable, and keeping them safe is not always easy. This might include the possibility of your child using drugs like meth. Knowing the telltale signs of meth addiction can alert you to a potential problem before the consequences become too severe. Meth use poses serious health risks and needs to be discovered and treated quickly.
In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of meth use so that you can identify whether your child is using it. We’ll also explore what to do if you believe your child is using meth, including getting professional help.
What is Meth?
Before diving into the signs and symptoms of meth use, it is crucial to understand what meth is. Methamphetamine (or “meth” for short) is a highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. It’s a potent stimulant drug that affects how the brain functions, producing short-term feelings of pleasure and alertness. In its illicit form, meth typically appears as a white powder or crystals, which are usually snorted or smoked.
It’s often referred to as ‘ice’ or ‘crank’ and can produce an intense euphoric high when consumed. Because of its powerful effects, meth use is a highly addictive practice and carries serious risks, including addiction, depression, psychosis, heart damage, and death. Chronic use can lead to meth users developing a meth use disorder that requires professional treatment.
Meth and Adderall
Illicit meth is very similar in effects and molecular structure to legally prescribed Adderall. They are both stimulants meaning their use elicits strong effects of euphoria and heightened energy in the nervous system. The key difference between these substances is that Methamphetamine has an extra methyl group on its molecular structure which allows the drug to cross over into the brain more quickly compared to Adderall.
There is much debate on whether Adderall can be a gateway drug to illicit Meth use, and the answer is yes. Once a prescription runs out, it can get very expensive to continue abusing the pills, so many often turn to the streets for its cheaper and more potent counterpart.
Symptoms and Signs of Meth Use
It can be challenging to tell if your child is on meth, as the signs and symptoms can vary depending on dose, frequency of use, and how long the person has been using. With that said, some telltale signs may indicate your child is using the drug.
Physical Symptoms and Signs of Meth Use
The most obvious way to tell if your child is using crystal meth is by looking for physical signs of use. The physical effects of methamphetamine use can vary greatly depending on the dosage, duration, and frequency. Generally speaking; however, some common physical signs of meth abuse include:
- Dilated pupils
- Red eyes
- Increased heart rate and high blood pressure
- Sudden weight loss or lack of appetite
- Agitation, restlessness, or hyperactivity
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Unsteady walking
- Meth mouth and rotting teeth
- Skin sores
- The user going off on a drug binge lasting days
Psychological Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse
People who struggle with meth abuse experience psychological changes due to the drug. These changes can be challenging to spot, as they often manifest differently in each person. Generally speaking; however, some common psychological signs of meth use include:
- Anger or irritability
- Inattentiveness and forgetfulness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Meth induced psychosis
Behavioral Signs of Meth Use
Some common behavioral signs that may indicate your child is using meth include:
- Changes in friends or social circle
- Secretive behavior
- Decline in school performance or skipping school
- Mood swings
- Engaging in risky or dangerous behavior
- Meth paraphernalia such as spoons, tinfoil, lighters, razor blades, small mirrors, glass pipes
Confronting Your Child About Drug Abuse
If you suspect or have confirmed that your child is using drugs, taking action is essential. The first step is to have an honest conversation with them about the situation and the substance abuse. Be sure to express your love and concern for their wellbeing, and be prepared for denial or resistance from your child.
To broach the topic, you can ask how they are doing and what’s going on in their lives. From there, you can frame the conversation around drug use and addiction and gently express your worries.
Listen attentively and without judgment if your child is open to speaking about it. If they become defensive or evasive, it is best to remain calm and avoid an escalation of conflict.
Getting Professional Help
If you believe your child is using crystal meth, seeking out professional help should be a priority. Treatment for drug addiction can include individual or family therapy, medication management, and in some cases, medical detoxification. It’s important to note that recovery is a long and complex process, but it is possible to help your child with the right resources and support.
The Recovery Process
The recovery process for meth addiction typically begins with medical detoxification at an addiction treatment facility, cleansing the body of harmful drugs and toxins. During this phase, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms as their body adjusts to functioning without the drug.
After a meth use detox, a person may need to be admitted into an inpatient or residential treatment center. They will be provided with comprehensive care and support, including individual counseling, group therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning.
The length of stay at an inpatient rehab facility depends on various factors, such as the severity of addiction, the frequency of chronic meth binge, and individual needs. Sometimes, a person may transition to an outpatient program that offers more flexible scheduling and individualized treatment plans.
For many people, recovery from meth addiction is a long-term process that requires dedication and perseverance. A person in meth use or drug abuse recovery may need to attend weekly counseling sessions, join support groups such as 12-step meetings, and develop healthy habits for managing stress.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Your child may attempt to stop taking the drug themselves. If this occurs, it is vital to be aware of the possible withdrawal symptoms that may arise. Common meth withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Irritability or agitation
- Intense cravings for the drug
It is important to note that these symptoms can be uncomfortable and challenging to manage without professional help. If your child is attempting to quit meth, it is best to seek medical assistance or attend a treatment program to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
Strategies for Coping At Home
Learning that your child may have a drug problem can be overwhelming and frightening, but you can do a few things to help them. Here are some strategies for coping with drug addiction in your home:
- Create clear boundaries for appropriate behavior.
- Avoid enabling behaviors such as lying or covering up for your child’s mistakes.
- Let your child know you are there to support them but will not tolerate drug use in your home.
- Encourage healthy activities such as exercise and joining a support group.
- Remind your child that recovery is a long-term process and encourage them to take it one day at a time.
Finally, be sure to practice self-care and take time for yourself. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are many resources and support groups available for families affected by addiction.
No matter what the situation, it is never too late to reach out for help when dealing with drug addiction in your family. With the right resources, support, and dedication to recovery, your child can find hope and success in their journey to sobriety.
The Bottom Line
By understanding the signs and symptoms of meth use, you can ensure that your loved one gets the help they need before further harm occurs.
At New Life House, we believe in the power of recovery and are dedicated to helping young adults find their way back to sobriety. With comprehensive treatment, personalized care, and access to aftercare programs, we are here to provide you with all the support needed to help you or your loved one start a fresh new life. Not only this, but our program is structured, helping those struggling with addiction build discipline and develop a routine for themselves. Our community has stood strong for over 35 years and continues to hold one another accountable for a better standard of living. Contact us today for more information about our program and to get started on the path to recovery.
Last Updated on February 19, 2024