Meth Addiction is both dangerous and insidious. While indicators may be evident during advanced stages of addiction, they can be overlooked by those unaware of the signs. According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 4 percent of Americans met the criteria for a substance use disorder within the past year, with approximately 10 percent reporting a substance use disorder at some time in their lives. 

While many indicators of addiction are universal, some substances generate particular side effects within the user. Such is true with methamphetamine abuse. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that causes irreversible damage when abused. Because of this,it is important to understand the common indicators of substance addiction in general, as well as the unique signs of methamphetamine abuse. By understanding these symptoms, you will be equipped to discern if you or a loved one is battling a meth addiction. 

Common Indicators of Addiction

Many signs of addiction are universal. These common indicators may be applied to any substance addiction, from meth, to opioids and alcohol. They include:

Change in Appearance

If an individual has lost or gained significant weight, it is often a sign that a substance addiction has developed. Being indifferent towards personal hygiene or grooming is also common among those battling addiction.

Financial and Legal Troubles

Those struggling with a substance addiction are frequently involved in legal issues, such as arrests or receiving citations. Due to the cost of maintaining a supply of their drug of choice, financial stress is another common indicator of abuse. 

Loss of Interest 

Once an addiction has fully formed, individuals often lose interest in hobbies and relationships they once enjoyed. The addiction eventually becomes the sole interest of the individual.

Neglecting Responsibilities

Neglecting family, employment, or other fundamental responsibilities is a strong indicator of substance abuse. Once addiction has developed, the only remaining responsibility in the mind of the user is obtaining more of their drug of choice. 

Signs of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine has a profound impact on an individual’s life and health. These signs are unique to meth abuse. Along with the previously listed common indicators, the following side effects are indicators that meth use has become an addiction. 

“Meth Mouth”

This term refers to the severe tooth decay and oral deterioration among methamphetamine users. The methamphetamine high can be long-lasting, resulting in large spans of time where oral health is neglected. As an acidic substance, methamphetamine simultaneously dries out the mouth, creating a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Teeth grinding is a common side effect of meth usage which damages the already unhealthy teeth. These occurrences eventually lead to tooth breakage, gum disease, and decay.

Brain damage 

As a stimulant, methamphetamine actively decreases the number of neurons, glial cells dopamine, serotonin, and white matter in the brain. Oftentimes, this loss is irreversible and the brain, along with the central nervous system, remain permanently altered. This shift in functioning can create psychological abnormalities such as psychosis, violence, and permanent impairment of cognitive functioning. 


Scarring on the skin occurs as a result of the mild hallucinogenic properties of methamphetamine. While high on this drug, some users believe that they have bugs, or “meth mites” crawling on or underneath their skin. This leads them to pick or scratch the area repeatedly, resulting in scars or sores. Because methamphetamine debilitates the immune system, these scars take a long time to heal, if they do at all.  

Asheville Recovery Center Can Help  

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that has the potential to cause irreversible damage when abused. It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with this addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation. A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more. 

The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.

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