Signs of Meth Use: What to Look For & How to Get Help

Each mind-altering substance comes with it a certain level of addictive risk and a number of side effects that affect users in a wide variety of ways. Substance abuse typically begins as a recreational activity for those who enjoy the “high” of intoxication. Wanting to feel that way more often, individuals start abusing these substances more and more frequently, requiring more significant amounts of them to achieve the same effects as their tolerance grows.

Meanwhile, these individuals often experience changes in their personality, appearance, and behavior due to their growing physical dependency and the onset of addiction. Many users try their best to cover up these effects when they’re aware of their existence, but there are many other times when addicts aren’t familiar with or haven’t noticed the changes that have resulted from their substance abuse. When the addicts don’t know to hide these changes, they become apparent to those around them, giving friends, family members, and other loved ones visual cues to let them know that the individual is suffering from a problem.

The intoxicating effects of each substance will vary from one to the next, with some secondary effects that result from abuse of a chemical substance. The signs of drug use that an addict displays will largely depend on the type of drug they are abusing and can be compounded when there’s more than one substance being abused regularly. Some of the most addictive substances include cocaine and crack cocaine, alcohol, heroin, tobacco, and crystal methamphetamine.

These substances are notoriously easy for individuals to become addicted to and notoriously difficult for individuals to quit. For individuals who have a loved one that could possibly be addicted to a dangerous substance like crystal meth, it’s important to be aware of common signs of crystal meth addiction in order to tentatively determine whether there’s an actual problem so that the addict can receive the treatment necessary to recover. However, before one can understand the signs of crystal meth addiction, it’s important to have an understanding of crystal meth and the nature of addiction to crystal methamphetamine.


By definition, crystal meth—known more formally as methamphetamine—is a man-made stimulant that most directly affects the central nervous system. During World War II, methamphetamine was given to soldiers to allow them to stay awake for long periods of time. It’s also been used by people who are overweight and suffering from obesity, and also to ease symptoms of depression. Although there’s currently no legal use for it, a form of methamphetamine is an ingredient in an infrequently prescribed prescription medication that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but more effective and safer medications are available that tend to be preferred by physicians and patients alike.

A key ingredient in methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cold medicines and treats congestion; however, these medications have become a primary source for the pseudoephedrine needed to produce crystal meth in makeshift “meth labs,” the government has been implementing regulations of many cold medicines—considered just as dangerous, if not even more dangerous, than the use of crystal meth is the production of crystal meth, which is done by an amateur, self-taught chemists who combine a variety of unstable and volatile chemicals that make deadly explosions a common accident.


Individuals who use crystal meth tend to enjoy its stimulant properties. Crystal meth is most commonly smoked, but it can also be eaten, insufflated (snorted) through the sinuses, and even injected with hypodermic needles. Upon its administration, crystal meth causes a powerful “rush,” which is typically what gets users hooked almost immediately. The brain becomes flooded with dopamine, creating feelings of immense pleasure and euphoria while also feeling incredibly energetic and confident. Additionally, crystal meth significantly raises the body’s temperature, causes severe insomnia and loss of appetite, frequently causes users to feel very paranoid or even delusional, and commonly causes auditory or visual hallucinations as well.


Becoming addicted to crystal meth results in a number of side effects that profoundly affect the individual’s body, personality, and behavior. Over the course of an addict’s use of crystal meth, the drug commonly causes the person to age, making the skin appear dull and wrinkled and possibly even developing sores all over the body that tend to take a long time to heal. Those that are addicted to crystal meth will frequently appear disheveled and poorly groomed due to caring very little about their appearance and hygiene.

Crystal meth addicts will often pick at the open sores they develop on their bodies, which is partly why the healing of those sores is so prolonged. It’s also common for those addicted to crystal meth to rapidly lose weight, looking very emaciated and malnourished since methamphetamine causes a loss of appetite. Crystal meth addicts tend to have dilated pupils, have jerky or twitchy eye and body movement, stay awake for days or even weeks at a time, and will often commit crimes such as theft in order to obtain money to sustain a crystal meth habit.

Additionally, individuals suffering from addiction to crystal meth tend to have frequent unpredictable and unprovoked emotional outbursts, especially in anger, and might even display psychotic behavior related to the paranoia and hallucinations that are common among crystal meth addicts.


Although crystal meth addiction is widely regarded as one of the most difficult addictions to treat, there have been many crystal meth addicts who have successfully completed treatment programs to achieve recovery and sustained long-term sobriety. Due to the severity of addiction to crystal meth, addicts tend to require a prolonged and intensive recovery program. Crystal meth addicts are most successful in recovery when they receive treatment in a treatment program at a residential facility. They often require an extended medically-supervised detox period followed by the initial inpatient treatment that includes individual psychotherapy before graduating to a halfway house or sober living facility.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to crystal meth or another mind-altering substance, the Palm Beach Institute is here to help. Our team of recovery specialists has helped countless addicts begin the journey to recovery by matching them with the treatment program that meets their individual needs. Don’t wait; call us today at (866) 804-6507 or contact us online today.

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