Gay men at higher risk for meth abuse - What are the warning signs?Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, is highly addictive.  It can be used by snorting, smoking or injecting.  The components of Meth are highly toxic and include: sodium hydroxide (lye), brake fluid, lithium from battery acid, lighter fluid, rubbing alcohol, drain cleaner, paint thinner, anhydrous ammonia, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus lye, ether, iodine and ephedrine.

What do you look for if you suspect your loved one is abusing Crystal Meth?

Here are some warning signs to look for:

Physical Warning Signs of Crystal Meth Use

  • Dilated pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Uncontrolled twitching or jerking, such as eye twitching
  • Chronic nasal problems – i.e. deviated septum, nosebleeds
  • Bad breath
  • Dry, cracked skin, especially lips and fingertips
  • Dry mouth
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Extreme weight loss, appearing bony and gaunt
  • Sores, abscesses, red dots on skin (from injecting meth)
    • Skin sores or lesions from picking at skin (meth addicts feel as if bugs are crawling under their skin)
    • “Meth mouth” – rotting teeth/tooth loss due to the impact of the chemicals in meth on tooth enamel
    • Burn marks on fingers or mouth (from smoking meth)

Behavior Warnings Signs of Crystal Meth Use

  • Intense focus on a trivial matter or task
  • Grinding or clenching teeth
  • Fidgeting, unable to sit still
  • Excessive talking, rambling
  • Insomnia, not sleeping for extended periods
  • Sleeping for several days
  • Not eating for several days, loss of appetite
  • Repetitious behavior, compulsive actions
  • Hyperactivity, nervous or anxious
  • Short term memory loss
  • Scratching or picking at face and skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis and paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Mood instability
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Indirect Signs of Methamphetamine Use

These are indirect indications of meth use (and could apply to other drugs that are snorted, smoked or injected).

  • Missing or stolen money or valuables or frequent requests to borrow money, particularly with nothing to show for it
  • Aluminum foil with burn marks (if smoking)
  • Straws (used to snort), especially with burn marks (used to smoke)
  • Empty plastic pen cases (used for snorting or smoking)
  • Small plastic bags
  • Water pipes or other pipes (used to smoke)
  • Rolled up dollar bills or paper (used for snorting)
  • Razor blades, IDs and credit cards with a powder residue on them (used for snorting)
  • Syringes and syringe caps (if injecting)
  • Missing or misplaced shoelaces (used to tie off injection sites)
  • Rubber straps or bands (used to tie off)

If you suspect your loved one is using methamphetamine, get help immediately.  It is a deadly drug.  Because of its many caustic chemical components, it can seriously jeopardize your loved one’s health and body.  It is incredibly addictive, so persuading your loved one to go to treatment, or at minimum visit a doctor is very important.

 


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    Last reviewed: 15 Jan 2014

APA Reference
Zacharias, J. (2014). Gay men at higher risk for meth abuse – What are the warning signs?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/true-colors/2014/01/gay-men-at-higher-risk-for-meth-abuse-what-are-the-warning-signs/

 

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