Drug Addiction Treatment
person with head in hands working through the physical signs of meth addiction
By BrightView
Author Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
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Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Dan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S) and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor... read more

Published: November 2, 2022
Updated: November 4, 2022

All drugs and alcohol can cause various side effects, typically a combination of physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. Some drugs have more detrimental physical effects, particularly crystal methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. Some of the physical signs of meth addiction are only temporary while using the drug, but others can result in long-term health problems. To protect yourself from the physical effects of crystal meth, you should enroll in a program at a meth rehab center if you find yourself dependent on this highly addictive drug.

At BrightView, we treat the whole person, not just the substance use disorder. If you have developed an attachment to crystal meth, we can help you break free. Our treatment programs utilize a customized combination of medication, support, and various therapies. Call us today at 1-833-510-HELP to learn more about our comprehensive meth addiction treatment program.

How Meth Addiction Develops

What makes crystal meth so addictive is the intensity of the high it produces. The effects are more powerful and longer-lasting than other stimulants, such as cocaine. The physical effects of crystal meth can lead to an addiction developing quickly, sometimes after just one use.

Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It speeds up many physical processes, such as heart rate and respiration. When it first enters the brain, it releases a large amount of dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure. The individual will feel an immediate “rush” or “flash.” This is followed by a period of euphoria, increased alertness, and physical activity.

Over time, meth use alters the brain’s chemistry. The individual will need to keep taking the drug just to feel normal. As meth use continues, tolerance will develop, and larger doses will be required to achieve the desired effects. This can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

What Are the Physical Signs of Meth Addiction?

Crystal meth is most well-known for the physical effects it causes. You may have heard of the term meth mouth, which refers to rotting teeth. This is one of the most common physical signs of meth addiction.

If you or someone you loved has become dependent on crystal meth, these are some of the other physical signs you may notice:

  • Dramatic weight loss or appearing very frail or thin
  • Intense itching and scratching
  • A weakened immune system and frequent illnesses
  • Skin sores, rashes, and breakouts
  • Pupil dilation
  • Burns on the lips or fingers
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High body temperature

If you suspect someone you care about is using drugs, the above visible signs likely indicate they are using crystal meth. While the signs of each type of drug use have some similarities and differences, the physical signs of meth addiction tend to be slightly more distinguishing.

What Are Other Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

Although crystal meth stands out most for its physical effects on the body, using this substance also manifests mental and emotional symptoms, such as:

  • Impaired memory
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings

It can sometimes be more challenging for people on the outside to recognize these types of symptoms in a loved one. The very same symptoms that point to drug or alcohol use can also indicate a mental health condition. Either way, these signs demonstrate a person’s need for assistance and support through a treatment program.

What Are Some Behavioral Signs of Meth Addiction?

In addition to impacting the user physically, mentally, and emotionally, crystal meth can also lead to behavioral changes. If a loved one needs help to end their dependence on crystal meth, you may see some of the following changes in their behavior:

  • Insomnia, sleeping excessively, or long periods of wakefulness
  • Tweaking, combined anxiety, and insomnia
  • Becoming violent
  • Being secretive or elusive
  • Isolating oneself from others
  • Frequent absences at work or school
  • Failing to follow through on household or childcare responsibilities
  • No longer participating in activities once loved

Using crystal meth can make a person behave in ways uncharacteristic for them. When a person needs help for their meth use, you may no longer recognize them as the person you once knew. If someone you care about is exhibiting concerning behaviors such as those listed above, reach out to your local treatment center to inquire about their meth addiction treatment program.

End Dependence on Meth at BrightView

Awareness of the above signs of meth addiction can help you realize when it is time to talk to someone in your life about getting help for meth use. BrightView’s meth addiction treatment program can help you or your loved one detach from meth dependence and move on to a fulfilling, healthy life. Call us today at 1-833-510-HELP or reach out online to enroll in one of our highly effective treatment programs and start feeling better tomorrow.