You may have heard of crystal meth. You may have even seen TV shows that depict its use. Yet, nothing can prepare you for witnessing this drug’s effects firsthand. If you’ve got a friend addicted to methamphetamines, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed how quickly the drug has taken over their life. Meth is highly addictive and can lead to terrifying psychological and behavioral changes. You may see your friend act in strange, unpredictable ways that leave you scared and disturbed.
The transformation may be heartbreaking to watch, but it’s not a life sentence. Your friend can break free. Your encouragement, accountability and inspiration could be the resources your friend needs to see them through this difficult time and find hope.
Signs of a Methamphetamine Addiction
Methamphetamines have an incredibly high potential for abuse and addiction. The drug produces an intense high followed by an abrupt crash that can leave users scrambling to find more meth. Perhaps your friend is using meth to mask feelings of depression or PTSD. Maybe they tried the drug recreationally and are now trapped in a cycle of use. Recognizing the signs of a friend’s meth addiction is one of the first steps toward getting them the help they need.
Major signs of meth misuse and addiction include:
- Noticeable changes in appearance, such as drastic weight loss, sores or scratches and red, swollen eyes
- Track marks
- Rotting or decayed teeth
- Drug paraphernalia around their home, such as needles, tourniquets or burnt spoons
- Irritability or violent outbursts
- Long periods of wakefulness followed by a sudden crash
- Problems at school or work
- Compulsive and risky sexual behaviors
- Withdrawal from family and friends
What Does Meth Do to You?
Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug. Using it, even for a short time, can quickly consume your friend’s life and lead to addiction or even death. If you have a friend that’s consistently getting high on meth, it’s important that they understand that the drug can lead to many serious physical and mental long-term effects, including:
- Irreparable tooth decay, also called meth mouth
- Permanent scarring caused by obsessively picking and scratching
- Damaged blood vessels in the brain and heart
- Memory issues, especially motor and verbal skills
- Psychiatric issues, such as mood disturbances and anxiety
- Psychosis, including hallucinations and extreme paranoia
- Difficulty feeling pleasure without the drug
How to Help Someone Addicted to Meth
How do you help your friend if they struggle with a meth addiction? Only your friend can choose recovery. It’s not your job to change them or try to force them into a treatment program. However, your bond may encourage them to take that first brave step on their recovery journey.
1. Identify and Stop Enabling
Enabling usually starts with good intentions. You see your friend is struggling, and you want to help. However, enabling prevents your friend from experiencing the negative consequences of their meth use. Some examples could include:
- Covering for them at work or school
- Bailing them out of jail
- Buying them groceries
- Paying their bills if they fall behind
Identify the things you’re doing that could serve as roadblocks to recovery. Replace them with positive, supportive behaviors that still hold your friend accountable.
2. Have a Heart-to-Heart
Talking to your friend about their troubles with meth can be an intimidating prospect. Yet, a simple, heartfelt conversation could pave the way for positive change. Here are some things to keep in mind before the big talk:
- Don’t talk to your friend while they’re high or coming down from meth.
- If they get irrational or violent, table the conversation until later.
- Choose your words carefully, avoiding judgment, criticism or an argumentative tone.
- Speak with compassion, understanding and an open mind.
- Try to help your friend feel loved, respected and supported.
3. Help Plan an Intervention
Chances are you’re not the only one concerned about your friend’s meth addiction. A planned intervention with other family members and friends could be the wake-up call your friend needs. An intervention serves as a constructive conversation where loved ones address the damage a person’s substance use is causing. This step could include the introduction of a treatment plan and even transportation arrangements to take your friend to an effective rehab center or meth treatment program.
Meth Addiction Help at Gateway Foundation
Understanding the treatment options available for meth addiction can help your friend find the freedom they need. At Gateway Foundation, we curate our programs to the needs of the individual. Our meth addiction treatment services offer a highly personal approach to care that views your friend as an individual, not a statistic. If you would like to discuss your friend’s unique needs, please contact us today.