Meth, also called methamphetamine or crystal meth, is a dangerous and very addictive illicit drug. People who use it just once can develop cravings that will ultimately lead to addiction.

Meth addiction can take over a person’s life. Before long, an addict might show major mental and physical signs of meth abuse. Meth addiction can completely change the way a person acts, looks, thinks, and feels.

Drug addiction is a disease, not a choice. As with other mental health conditions, a strong support network is crucial to recovery.

You can mean the difference between life and death for your addicted loved one. You just need to have the tools to help a meth addict get the help they need.

Read on to learn essential tips for loved ones looking to support their family member or friend on their path to recovery.

Understand the Signs of Meth Abuse and Addiction

You can’t know how to help your loved one if you aren’t sure what’s going on with them. If you want to help a friend who uses meth, the first step you need to take is to look for signs of abuse and addiction.

People who use meth will likely try to hide their drug abuse. They might use street terms to refer to the drug when talking about it with others.

Street names for meth include:

  • Speed
  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Crystal
  • Wash
  • Trash
  • Gak
  • Ice
  • Glass

In addition to street names, you should also know the immediate effects of meth use and the warning signs that someone might be using meth.

People take meth because it can induce a euphoric ‘high’. Other signs that someone is under the influence of meth include:

  • Increased attention, alertness, and energy (“rush”)
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite

Most people who abuse meth will try to hide it from loved ones. Therefore, you should also be familiar with some of the more general warning signs that someone has been abusing meth. These include:

  • Sores or scratches on skin
  • Rotting teeth (meth mouth)
  • Weight loss
  • Burn marks on fingers or lips
  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased anxiety/paranoia
  • Increased anger/ aggressive behavior

These are just a few of the most common warning signs that a loved one could be using meth.

Other signs include finding paraphernalia such as glass pipes, needles, spoons, or tin foil. You might also notice behavioral changes in your loved one. They might be less open with you and start hanging out with a different crowd.

Every addict shows different signs of their meth abuse. If you are dealing with a close loved one who you suspect has an addiction, you can use these signs to determine whether they really need help.

Make Sure You’re Not Enabling Them

One of the toughest things about addiction is that those who try to help often end up hurting instead. In particular, enabling can be a big problem. Enabling happens when an addict’s loved ones try to “help”, but instead hurt the addict by preventing them from experiencing the negative outcome of their actions.

For example, if you know your friend is addicted to meth, it would be enabling in most cases to give them money.

It is likely that they need money in the first place because they have spent all of their own on drugs. By giving your friend money, you not only prevent them from having to deal with the financial effects of meth addiction, but you could also be helping them buy more drugs.

It can be hard to draw the line between enabling and supporting your loved one. As a general rule, enabling is different from truly helping in that it allows and helps the enabled person to be irresponsible.

Have an Honest Conversation

At some point, you may need to confront your loved one about their meth problem. This may seem daunting at first. You could be met with any number of reactions, including denial or anger.

But having an honest conversation with your loved one can also establish trust between you and set up a relationship in which you are able to truly help them.

When it comes to talking about drug abuse, you want to show your loved one that you are willing to listen without judging. You can try telling them that you care about them, and that they haven’t seemed like themselves lately. This opens the door to a talk about what’s going on, without threatening them.

Once you have listened to everything your loved one has to say, it might feel right to express concern for them. Expressing concern shows your loved one that you love them and are worried about them, without blaming or judging them. Your concern could be about anything related to their wellbeing—their health, social behavior, or what’s going on at their job.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

Being close to someone with a meth addiction can be very hard. The person may act completely unlike themselves. They might be aggressive, mean and emotionally absent. Trying to establish a relationship with an addict that includes trust is hard work.

It’s very important that you make sure you are getting the support you need as well. This looks different for everyone. You may find that therapy helps you to deal with the emotional stress of the situation. Simple things like eating well and exercising can help you find the strength you need to rise to the task.

Whatever the case, self-help is essential if you want to help your friend or family member who is struggling with meth addiction. The stronger you are, the more able you will be to help your loved one.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

You should never take it upon yourself to try to completely heal your loved one. Although close and supportive relationships are very helpful for addicts, most will still need professional treatment. If you can establish trust, you might be able to convince your loved one to seek the help they need.

Meth addiction treatment saves lives. The pillars of treatment for meth abuse include:

  • Behavioral Therapy. Meth addicts must understand their behavior and thoughts in order to overcome their addiction. Therapy helps to uncover toxic thought patterns that lead to drug abuse.
  • Group Meetings. Peer support is a huge part of the recovery process. By hearing the stories of others and sharing their own, addicts are able to understand themselves better and gain tools to fight their addiction.
  • Alternative Therapies. Modern addiction treatment is all about helping people to find power and resources within themselves. Activities such as meditation, yoga, art therapy, and healthy dieting can all be powerful tools for change.

To find the right treatment center for your needs, search our database today.

Sources:

  1. Methamphetamine Drug Facts
  2. How to Help an Addicted Friend or Relative
  3. How to Recognize a Substance Use Disorder

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