How do I tell if someone is on Meth?

If you’re wondering whether or not a loved one is using Methamphetamine, chances are you’re already overwhelmed with concern.  Signs of methamphetamine use can also look like many other behaviors, mental health concerns, or other types of substance use.  Because of this, is can be confusing to know what exactly is going on with someone that you care about.  However, it’s worth investigating if you have enough suspicion to be worried about.  Here’s what to expect when someone you know is on Methamphetamines:


Physical and Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • High levels of alertness
  • Reduced appetite and rapid weight loss
  • Outbursts or mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Extreme paranoia and/or hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Skin sores
  • Excessive scratching/picking at skin
  • Tooth decay (often called ‘meth mouth’)
  • Twitching, facial tics
  • Excessive talking
  • Psychosis
  • Staying awake for extended, abnormal periods of time followed by sleeping for extended periods of time

In addition to these, you also want to look for other signs that are related to substance abuse in general, such as; lack of money, disappearing often (sometimes with no reason or excuse to be leaving), lying, stealing, illegal activity, looking unkempt/changes in hygiene, changes in social network, changes in habits or priorities, or abnormal behavior compared to how the person normally acts.


Finding Paraphernalia/Drugs

 Most of the time meth is in the form of a white, crystal-like powder.  It can sometimes be other colors including brown, pink or gray.  It doesn’t have an odor and it dissolves in water easily.  Some articles may tell you to taste it to check if it’s meth, please don’t do this.  Depending on the method of ingestion the person is using, you may find straws or dollar bills rolled up, small mirrors, small empty baggies possibly with residue inside, a razor or card, tin foil, glass pipes or other glass smoking devices, steel wool, or syringes.

If you suspect that someone you care about is using Methamphetamines, it’s important to seek the help of a professional before confronting someone that may have a negative response.  Someone under the influence of meth may not be clearheaded enough to listen and understand your concerns about their behavior.  Contact an addictions specialist to discuss the best options for your loved one, including intervention services, in the best interest of yourself and the person you want to help.

At the end of the day, you know your loved one the best and are always going to want the best for them.  If you’re concerned and think that you need to do something to help them, follow your gut.  If they’ve used meth or other drugs in the past, and you feel as though you’re seeing some of the same behaviors; again, follow your gut.  Sometimes when we’re so close to someone, it’s easy to be in denial or not want to believe what’s going on.  But if you’ve found yourself on this article, you’re questioning something that is really important to you.

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