10 Crystal Meth Addiction Symptoms
Crystal meth, also known as methamphetamine, gets its name from the crystallized texture of the drug once it’s cooked and prepared. Much like cocaine, crystal meth acts as a powerful central nervous system stimulant capable of causing considerable damage to brain and body functions. People who’ve used crystal meth for a long time no doubt live with the effects of the drug every day.
Compared to cocaine’s effects, crystal meth can cause significantly more damage because of the way it interferes with dopamine neurotransmitter functions in the brain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Whereas cocaine prevents brain cells from reabsorbing or recycling dopamine chemicals, crystal meth increases dopamine brain cell secretions while at the same time blocking its reabsorbing. These combined effects create a toxic chemical environment within the brain that gradually deteriorates brain cell structures.
Over time, the drug’s effects on the brain and body make symptoms of crystal meth addiction fairly easy to spot. If you or someone you know uses crystal meth on a frequent basis, here are 10 crystal meth addictions symptoms to watch out for:
1. Dilated Pupils
Crystal meth effects can persist for as long as 26 hours after using. During this time, a person’s pupils will remain dilated. Some users may wear sunglasses on a regular basis in an effort to hide this symptom.
2. Body Odor
The harsh chemicals used to manufacture meth come out through a person’s pores, especially when he or she sweats. This smell closely resembles that of cat urine giving regular meth users a distinctive body odor.
3. Frequent Itching and Scratching
Crystal meth addiction tends to dry out the skin and cause persistent itching. This itching often covers the whole body. Users may scratch to the point where sores start to appear on skin surfaces.
4. Poor Oral Health
Commonly known as “meth mouth,” frequent meth users tend to develop serious problems with the teeth and gums. Blackened and/or broken teeth, missing teeth and reddened gums are common.
5. Loss of Weight
A crystal meth addiction all but eliminates a person’s appetite for food causing drastic weight loss within a short period of time.
Crystal meth’s effects on brain function disrupt normal cognitive and emotion-based processing. Feelings of paranoia eventually drive users to avoid social interactions altogether.
7. Repetitive Behaviors
Repetitive behaviors can take the form of doing the same task several times, excessive exercise routines or taking things apart and putting them back together again.
8. Hyperactive Behavior
Crystal meth’s stimulant effects create an energy surge that’s easily seen in a person’s inability to sit still or remain in one place for any length of time. Hyperactive behavior displays can also become violent at times.
9. Eye Twitches
Eye twitches or tics are a common symptom of meth addiction. Addicts have no control over eye twitching, a symptom that continues for as long as they keep using.
10. Mood Swings
Brain neurotransmitter chemicals regulate a person’s emotional and behavioral states. With crystal meth addiction, addicts experience frequent mood swings as result of chemical imbalances in the brain.