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Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is a lab-cooked, crystalline street drug that can be crushed and snorted, smoked, or injected.


After the initial 30-or-so-minute rush, the high makes abusers feel confident, productive, and sometimes arrogant or argumentative. During this high, appetite drops and energy soars, making meth a highly and quickly addictive substance. 

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Here are some of the signs you may be struggling with meth abuse:  

  • Paranoia 
  • Irritability 
  • Insomnia 
  • Intense itchiness 
  • Extreme restlessness 
  • Confusion 
  • Mood disturbances 
  • Aggression 
  • Increased sex drive 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Repetitive motor activity 

Behavioral Effects of Methamphetamine Use

Meth abuse can cause fairly obvious side effects, such as psychosis (including auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations), paranoia, and severe irritability.   

Because meth is a stimulant, abusing it can lead to total insomnia; users may stay awake for days or even weeks at a time, while eating very little, chasing a high. This is known as “tweaking”. Living with effectively no sleep or food for this length of time is ripe ground for detaching from reality.  

During a meth-induced break with reality, abusers may endorse paranoid ideations, describe vivid hallucinations (“shadow people” and bugs crawling on or under skin are two commonly reported hallucinations), or become convinced that they are not safe. Someone who is “tweaking” is also more prone to engage in criminal activities.

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Physical Behavioral Effects of Methamphetamine Use

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A hallmark sign of meth abuse is constant scratching and/or picking of skin. Other symptoms of meth abuse include dental decay and resulting pain (this is sometimes crudely referred to as “meth mouth”), weight loss, acne and sores, dilated pupils, track marks (IV injection site scars), abscesses (infected skin at IV injection sites), and bloodborne diseases from needle-sharing (think HIV and Hepatitis C). 

Meth abusers frequently experience heightened sex drives. Because meth makes them feel confident and uninhibited, they are more prone to have unprotected sex while under the influence, making them uniquely vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and diseases.  

When withdrawing from meth, it is normal to feel totally depleted of energy. As your nervous system exits fight-or-flight mode, exhaustion sets in. Your body will crave rest more than just about anything else, except maybe food. Once meth is no longer suppressing your appetite, it is likely to return forcefully. Feelings of depression and hopelessness often accompany the physical side effects. 

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We at HCBTS are available 24/7 to take your call and are committed to helping you get the help you need when you need it.

Read more about the levels of care we offer on our substance abuse treatment page.

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