Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Addiction, Withdrawal and Overdose

The giveaway signs and symptoms of crystal meth addiction and related conditions can be used to recognise dependence and act quickly to intervene before the onset of overdose. Crystal methamphetamine is a potent and highly addictive drug. It affects the central nervous system and is very dangerous.

Why Do We Need to Understand the Symptoms of Crystal Meth Dependence?

crystal methamphetamine rock meth ice

Knowing the symptoms of crystal meth addiction, the side effects of crystal meth use and the withdrawal symptoms related to crystal meth abuse is essential for our community. It’s not just to be informed for the sole purpose of knowing but also because we need to be able to help a loved one in case they begin showing symptoms. As members of our community, if we notice the side effects in a neighbour or a neighbour’s child, we can reach out to them and help them see the issue sooner rather than later.

Methamphetamine in crystal form, also known as Blade, Hot Ice, Tina, Crank or Trash in some English-speaking regions, is consumed in various communities. It is not enclosed within a ‘ghetto’ nor kept away from us as we are not behind any societal barrier. Meth is difficult to cleanse from, and relapse is very high in these cases. In fact, according to an NCBI study first published in 2015, 61% of recovered methamphetamine (and crystal meth) users experience relapse within the first twelve months after going through addiction treatment for their substance abuse.

Your friends and family need your help, but it’s not just that. If you have been through a crystal meth addiction, symptoms of relapse might show up years after going into recovery. Stressors and severe trauma can make you look back on substance abuse. It is expected, logical and understandable, but seeing the signs before relapse is vital for your well-being.

In this article, you will find lists of the crystal meth addiction symptoms, the signs of meth abuse, withdrawal symptoms for crystal meth abuse and paraphernalia used in crystal meth abuse.

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The Difference between Addiction, Abuse and Dependence

One thing worth looking at is what makes someone an addict. Becoming addicted is different to abusing crystal meth. As this drug does affect our bodies physically, we will also look at the defining physical symptoms of crystal meth dependence.

crystal meth paraphrenalia burning ice in spoons

Behavioural Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction

  • Keeping paraphernalia related to crystal meth use
  • Keeping crystal meth ‘at hand’
  • Neglecting the effects of crystal meth on their body, mood and temperament
  • Neglecting the physical signs of meth use that become apparent
  • Preferring to argue, fight or walk away than discuss their use

Behavioural Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse

  • Claiming to take less crystal meth than they actually are
  • Claiming to be taking crystal meth less often than they actually are
  • Buying more crystal meth than before (and using it up in the same time as before)
  • Hiding their stache or additional doses of crystal meth

Behavioural Signs of Crystal Meth Dependence

  • Trembling or tremors when going without the usual dose
  • Sweating (severe perspiration) when not taking crystal meth ‘on time’
  • Picking and pinching at the skin until it becomes sore

The signs of crystal meth addiction are varied, because there is a difference between addiction, abuse and dependence. Usually, treatment workers will define them as follows:

Crystal meth addiction is when you are feeling the need, most often psychologically, to use crystal meth. Dependence is when the need becomes physical, and you experience physical withdrawal symptoms when not using. Substance abuse should be meant that you are taking more than the planned or prescribed dose and is primarily valid for prescription drugs and legal substances. Crystal meth is illegal in the UK. In fact, methamphetamines, including crystal meth, are Class A drugs which means you risk up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both for possession and up to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both for supply and production.

Physical Signs of Crystal Meth Dependence

The physical signs of crystal meth abuse might come up after one or after ten doses, depending on how long-lasting the addiction is and what kind of life one lives.

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Intense itching and scratching
  • A weakened immune system
  • Skin sores, rashes, and breakouts
  • Pupil dilation
  • Burns on the lips and fingers
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High body temperature
  • Tremors and twitching

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Psychological Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction

The psychological signs of crystal meth addiction differ from those of non-crystalline form methamphetamine addictions. Some of them, like having greater focus or concentration levels, sound attractive, but are in fact not as they seem as being concentrated without controlling it is not as good for your communication or work skills. Here is a list of the short-term psychological signs of crystal meth use:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Spontaneous, aggressive behaviours
  • Talkativeness
  • Irritability
  • Increased activity
  • Greater attention
  • Extreme wakefulness

Of course, the longest you use meth, the worse these symptoms will become. Some long-term psychological symptoms of crystal meth abuse also include:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Pathological aggressiveness
  • Mood disturbances
  • Delusions
  • Chronic insomnia

Behavioural and Social Consequences of Crystal Meth Use Disorder

Crystal meth use has been stable statistics-wise in the UK, meaning we are not winning the fight. To win it, we need to be open to preventive measures, aware and ready to help as a community. Behaviourally, people who use crystal meth will show symptoms of heightened to extremes attention and awareness levels, lower social drive in ordinary circumstances, and will begin losing friends and walking away from family. With prolonged crystal meth use, they will lose track of time, begin coming late for work or classes, and underperform compared to previous times.

Socially, crystal meth use has many effects on our communities, with signs of use in the neighbourhood, such as:

  • Frequent fights and attacks
  • Frequented by dealers and other users
  • Rumours about meth labs or meth houses in the area
  • More frequent A&E visits by people in the area with symptoms common for crystal meth use
  • Trash, including crystal meth paraphernalia, is scattered about

Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms are crucial when defining addictions. Depending on how dependent you are, they will vary. The length of time during which you have used as well as the doses you are using will affect these symptoms. While withdrawals are important to know when you are starting your crystal meth detox process, they are also a giveaway sign for users. If you notice someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms at work, at home or in class, then they are suffering from a severe crystal meth dependence (or are otherwise addicted to a similar substance).

Withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth addiction include:

  • Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
  • Long periods of sleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Decreased sexual pleasure
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Disorientation
  • Psychomotor retardation
  • Paranoia
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Psychosis

Symptoms of Crystal Meth Overdose

chest pain is a sign of overdose

One of the most dangerous conditions that accompany crystal meth use is overdose and its effects. Symptoms of overdosing on crystal meth need to be observed and quickly countered before it becomes too late. Overdosing on this substance can be deathly. This drug is illegally produced and often part of mixed substance abuse routines, so it is possible to overdose even if you are taking the same dose. To be ready and able to help, you will need to watch out for the following signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Signs of a heart attack or strokes, such as chest pain or confusion
  • Seizures or micro seizures
  • Abrupt changes in blood pressure
  • A sudden shift in behaviours
  • Kidney failure
  • Intense stomach aches
  • Loss of consciousness

How Is Crystal Meth Dependence Treated?

crystal meth addiction therapy

If you or someone you love suffer from crystal meth addiction, you are safe with us. We are a 100% confidential service which provides crystal meth addiction treatment in a residential facility. Our combined detoxification and rehabilitation services provide medical assistance and dual diagnosis treatment and can help with co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, anxiety and depression. If you are looking for private crystal meth rehabilitation, we are a good choice, as our centre has been trusted by many. We have successfully helped tens of thousands of people in the UK (and some from abroad) to stay clean and sober from both legal and illegal substances they have once abused.


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