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Methamphetamine or Meth: Drug Abuse Signs and Symptoms

Understanding Methamphetamine

Also known as: Speed, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Tweak, Go-fast, Ice, Glass, Uppers, Black Beauties

Know the Signs:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to noise
  • Nervous physical activity, like scratching
  • Irritability, dizziness or confusion
  • Extreme anorexia
  • Tremors or even convulsions
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure and risk of stroke
  • Presence of inhaling paraphernalia, such as razor blades, mirrors and straws
  • Presence of injecting paraphernalia, such as syringes, heated spoons or surgical tubing

It may not be easy to tell, but there are signs you can look for if you suspect someone of using methamphetamines.

Quick Facts About Methamphetamine
  • The number of people admitted to treatment for methamphetamine use problems has been rising for several years.
  • Meth can cause a severe "crash" after the effects wear off and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain.
  • Meth users who inject the drug and share needles are at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.
  • Some methamphetamine users get hooked the first time they snort, smoke or inject it. Because it can be made from lethal ingredients like battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze, there is a greater chance of suffering a heart attack, stroke or serious brain damage with this drug than with other drugs.
  • Though it is easy to obtain, methamphetamine is dangerous. People who take meth can become paranoid, confused and aggressive; they can die from overheating and convulsions.
  • Over time, meth users risk brain damage and addiction.

Your Brain on Meth

In the short term, meth causes mind and mood changes such as anxiety, euphoria and depression. Long-term effects can include chronic fatigue, paranoid or delusional thinking and permanent psychological damage.

Your Body on Meth

Over "amping" on any type of speed is pretty risky. Creating a false sense of energy, these drugs push the body faster and further than it's meant to go. It increases heart rate, blood pressure and risk of stroke.


Meth is a powerfully addictive drug that can cause aggression and violent or psychotic behavior.

It's Not What it May Seem

Even speed drugs are not always safe. Giga-jolts of the well-known stimulants caffeine or ephedrine can cause stroke or cardiac arrest when overused or used by people with a sensitivity to them.

It Can Kill You

An overdose of meth can result in heart failure. Long-term physical effects such as liver, kidney and lung damage may also kill you.

Need help for Meth or Methamphetamine Addiction?

If you or someone you know needs help with a methamphetamine addiction, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment can help. With treatment programs personalized to meet the specific needs of men, women, teens, and young men, Gateway's team of experienced professionals has been helping individuals overcome substance abuse for more than 40 years


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