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How To Tell If Someone Is On Meth

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 28, 2019

There are certain physical signs that can indicate if someone is using methamphetamines. Noticing these symptoms is often the first step in helping someone get help for meth addiction.

Methamphetamine is an incredibly powerful and addictive stimulant that is illegal to use in the United States. It is most commonly found in a white powder or pill form. Crystal meth is available in glass-like fragments.

People most commonly use methamphetamine by smoking, snorting, injecting, or swallowing it. How the drug is taken will depend on the form it is in.

Methamphetamine elicits an intense and euphoric high. It works by increasing the levels of dopamine of the brain. Dopamine is part of the reward center in the brain and contributes to motivation, concentration, and energy.

This drug causes dopamine to be rapidly released, creating feelings of euphoria and increased energy. People have also reported feeling more confident on the drug. Meth also decreases appetite and increases heart rate and blood pressure.

Signs That Someone Is On Methamphetamine

There are certain physical signs that people on meth tend to exhibit. These signs can include increased wakefulness and physical activity, reduced appetite, and heavy breathing.

People who are on meth may also exhibit symptoms of “tweaking.” Tweaking typically happens when someone is coming off the drug. Common signs of tweaking include sleep problems, psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, and feelings of bugs crawling under the skin.

Additional signs that someone may be on meth include:

  • dilated pupils
  • decreased appetite
  • twitching
  • talkativeness
  • mood changes
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • picking at the skin
  • facial tics
  • decreased need for sleep

People who are on meth may also exhibit symptoms of a crash when the meth leaves the system. Someone who is experiencing a meth crash may sleep for days and appear to be depressed.

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Treatment Options For Meth Addiction

Someone who is addicted to meth will likely need a comprehensive treatment plan to successfully overcome addiction.

A medically monitored detox program is often the first step in treating a meth use disorder. Meth withdrawal can be incredibly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. A medically supervised detox program can provide a safe place to withdraw from meth as well as any medical support needed to ease symptoms.

An intensive inpatient program may also be recommended once the detox program has been completed. Inpatient programs offer personalized treatment on a daily basis for an extended period of time.

Other effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational incentives.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Methamphetamine

Narconon - Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

Meth Project - How Can I Tell If Someone Is Using Meth?

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