Methamphetamine goes by at least three popular names — meth, speed, and chalk; sometimes people will also refer to it as ice or crystal, crank or glass. No matter what the name, you should be able to recognize the various symptoms of meth use.
For those involved in early meth use, the signs of meth use will be noticeable from the start; however, no one person may have all these symptoms, and other drugs or explanations may be responsible for the change in a person’s behavior. That said, the symptoms of meth use include a state of euphoria, paranoia, a decrease in appetite, an increase in physical activity, as well as anxiety, shaking hands, or nervousness. Also, you may find the user talking incessantly, moving eyes rapidly. The person may have dilated pupils. The person might also be sweating; this is a sign especially if there’s been no physical activity. The person’s body temperature might increase, too (at some points, the temperature can rise to 108 degrees and cause death).
If a person has been using meth continuously, take into consideration the above symptoms but also look for some of these signs of meth use: weight loss, dry or itchy skin, pale complexion, acne, mood swings, strong body odor, and shadows under the eyes; the person might also pick at the skin or hair, be aggressive or violent, be depressed or withdrawn, bite nails severely, have nose bleeds or dermatitis around the mouth. The person might also have a general lack of personal hygiene.
Take into consideration the above two paragraph of symptoms, plus the following signs if you suspect a person has undergone advanced meth use: extreme weight loss, rotten or missing teeth, corneal ulcerations, and hair loss, as well as symptoms of severe mental illness, similar to schizophrenia (which may include anger, panic, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, and repetitive behavior patterns).
Usually methamphetamine use occurs in three ways, from low intensity use, to binge use, to high intensity use. Low intensity abusers are not psychologically addicted to the drug, usually snorting or swallowing it. Binge and high-intensity abusers are psychologically addicted and may smoke or inject the meth in order to receive a faster, stronger high.
If you’ve observed these symptoms of meth use in a family member or a friend, don’t ignore them. Talk in a sensitive manner to the person about the issue and urge professional, medical help.