While the characteristics of a meth addict can vary from person to person, there are a number of common signs that may indicate that someone you know is addicted to meth. Although not every meth addict exhibits all of these signs, a combination of three or more of the characteristics described below is a fairly good indication that meth addiction is present.
By educating yourself on the signs of a meth addiction, you may be able to get someone whom you care about the help that he or she desperately needs.
First, there are a number of common physical characteristics that often are present in many meth addicts. Meth addicts typically have no appetite, which results in major weight loss. Meth also causes severe dryness to the user's skin and mouth, resulting in a condition known as "meth mouth," which is characterized by tooth decay, blackened or missing teeth, sore gums, and even changes to the shape of the user's face and jaw. Due to the deterioration of the jaw due to meth use, a meth addict's mouth and jaw may appear "collapsed" or sunken in. A meth addict also may develop severe acne and welts or sores on his or her face.
Furthermore, a meth addict often experiences major itching, or the feeling that bugs are crawling under his or her skin. The itching tends to cause compulsive scratching, to the point that the addict draws blood or causes open sores that are slow to heal. Rapidly moving, darting, and/or dilated eyes can also be characteristic of a meth addict. Finally, a meth addict sweats a great deal, and often appears to have very flushed skin, due to the extreme rise in body temperature that meth usage produces. Not only is the addict's sweating apparent, but the sweat also a strong, unusual odor that some have compared to the smell of cat urine. As a result of these physical characteristics, a meth user tends to have an unwashed and disheveled appearance.
In addition to physical attributes, a meth user often has certain behaviors that are characteristic of meth addiction. As is the case with most drug addicts, the typical meth addict has an increasing decline in attention to his or her job, school, family, friends, and/or life in general. Like most other substance abusers, a meth addict is unlikely to be able to hold down a job for more than a month or two. Meth addicts tend to act irresponsibly with respect to everyday life activities, such as working, eating, sleeping, and caring for children. Even worse, a meth addict typically exhibits paranoia, as well as irritability, depression, and constant mood swings.
A meth addict often experiences insomnia, which causes very long periods of feeling overly alert, "wired" or agitated, and also may result in long, rambling, conversations, as well as an inability to focus and/or think clearly. Some meth addicts have very unpredictable behavior while under the influence of meth, which can lead to serious sexual promiscuity, spur-of-the-moment crimes, violence, and other unsafe behaviors. Meth addicts also may experience uncontrolled or repetitive movements that result in unexpected behavior, which can turn violent.
If, based on the signs described above, you suspect that someone you know is using meth, don't hesitate to get help for that person immediately. Addiction is a disease, and the addict will have to undergo treatment in order to successfully overcome the addiction.