If you suspect that someone you love is using meth, but you're just not convinced, read on. Teenagers are moody individuals and they are as unpredictable as the day is long.
Because of that it may be harder to tell with a teen. No matter what their age, there are warning signs to watch for.
Short term use can cause a number of symptoms. Meth can keep an individual alert and awake for several days and then they may be fatigued or sleeping for 2 to 3 days straight. If they seem alert and energized when you know they have not slept, be concerned.
Decreased appetite to the point of noticeable weight loss is a classic sign of meth use. They will show little or no interest in food, even their all time favorites won't temp them.
If they are smoking meth there may be burns on their lips or fingers from the glass or metal pipe. If they are injecting it, there will be needle marks, usually on their arms. Nosebleeds could indicate meth is being snorted. Nervous physical activity such as extreme fidgeting, possibly accompanied by scratching or picking at their skin, could indicate use.
Because meth is a stimulant it can speed up the heart rate so they might appear to be out of breath for no apparent reason. Meth users care little about their hygiene and appearance.
If they are overly secretive about their actions, always have a string of excuses to explain their behavior or suddenly start lying to you, check it out. If you find drug paraphernalia such as razor blades, mirrors, straws, syringes, spoons or surgical tubing, this is a clear sign of drug use.
In teens, there are other things you may notice. There may be a loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities. Grades will slip with no motivation to improve. There may be unexcused absences that they can't or won't explain.
Teens will usually steal from home. They may take cash from your wallet or take jewelry and other items to pawn for money.
Long term use of meth can result in dependence making normal day to day activities impossible. Addiction psychosis can include disturbing behavior such as hallucinations, talking to people who aren't there, paranoia so severe they won't be able to leave the house, mood disturbances and repetitive motor activity.
Memory loss is not unusual since meth is toxic and affects the brain. Meth puts the body in overdrive and can damage organs causing stroke and/or liver or heart failure. There is almost always a loss of inhibitions and a false sense of control and confidence which can lead to dangerous behaviors.