Here’s How to Help Someone On Meth
Watching a loved one struggle with a substance use disorder is hard, but watching them struggle with a methamphetamine addiction can be overwhelming. Methamphetamine (meth) is extremely dangerous and highly addictive, and frequent use can lead to devastating side effects and, in many cases, criminal activity.
Before you can help someone you believe has a meth use problem, you should understand methamphetamine and the impact of methamphetamine use on the person. When you know the effects of meth on someone’s physical and mental health and the available treatment options, you can better support them.
Recognize the Signs of Meth Addiction
Meth, also known as crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant drug that can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. Meth causes a sense of heightened euphoria, alertness, and energy due to the release of dopamine, the brain's feel-good chemical, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This feeling of bliss and the constant desire for the "high" it produces drives cravings for meth, ultimately leading to drug use.
The side effects of meth become more serious the longer the drug is used. If you have been concerned about a loved one’s well-being, any of the following signs of meth addiction should raise a red flag.
Physical side effects:
Increased wakefulness and hyper-activity
Insomnia or unusual sleep patterns
Poor personal hygiene and self-care
Tooth decay (meth mouth)
Behavioral side effects:
How Do You Deal with Someone High On Drugs?
Dealing with someone under the influence of meth can be scary and dangerous. Always call an emergency responder if you fear for their life or yours. Otherwise, here are some steps to help keep the person calm and give time for the high to wear off.
Take them to a safe environment. Find a nearby space away from hazards like weapons, heights, or harmful objects. The ideal area will be cool, away from loud noises and flashing lights, with comfortable, inviting furniture.
Reassure and comfort them. Let the person know that the ill effects of drug use will eventually wear off. Give them water and a comfortable seat, and use a soothing voice when talking to them. Let them know you will stay with them until they feel better.
Stay calm and watch your tone. Try to stay calm and avoid arguing with someone high on methamphetamines. Do not criticize or use a sarcastic, aggressive, or accusatory tone when talking.
Offer to help them find help. Someone under the influence of drugs may not be receptive to discussing treatment facilities, but you can let them know you will help find the proper care. Offer to find a healthcare provider and accompany them to family therapy or support groups.
What Do You Say To Someone Who Is Addicted To Drugs?
Your friend, coworker, or family member should know that you care and want to support and help them recover from their meth use. It will be tough on them to hear what you are saying – no one wants to be seen as a “meth user.” Here are some suggestions to help you better communicate with someone with a methamphetamine addiction.
|Say This||Not That||What’s the difference?|
|I am worried that you are not eating much and are losing weight.||You look terrible. Your clothes are falling off you- you’re going to waste away.||Avoid being critical and judgmental.|
|Drug addiction is a disease; the best way to treat it is with appropriate healthcare.||I can’t believe you don’t just stop taking drugs. Where is your willpower?||Do not blame them for their addiction.|
|I have found someone (some place) for recovery support when you are ready.||You think you have it rough; you should see what I had to go through. Toughen up and just get over it.||Don’t lecture.|
|It seems like you are going through a difficult time. I want to help.||You never let anyone help you, and now you have made a mess of your life.||Do not give them a guilt trip.|
Get them the Substance Use Recovery Treatment They Need
It may take several conversations before your loved one is receptive to help or change, but do not give up on them. Continue to show them your love and support, and be there for them when they are ready.
Do your homework and find appropriate treatment programs to help turn the person’s life around. Explain the different treatment options and put them in touch with a treatment provider. Whether they want inpatient or outpatient treatment, assure them you will be there every step of the way.
Caron Treatment Centers for Recovery
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or methamphetamine addiction, Caron can help you get your life back. Caron’s high-quality and compassionate treatment programs meet the excellence of addiction medicine and recovery care.