With methamphetamine use on the rise in Singapore, it’s more important than ever to know how to recognise the signs of an addiction.
Methamphetamine use remains on a steady rise in Singapore, with new users making up 60% of all new drug abusers in the country. The affordability of the drug and its accessibility have made it the second most popular illicit drug among Singaporeans. UNODC regional representative Jeremy Douglas told Reuters, “The surge in [methamphetamine] tablet supply has pushed street prices down across the region, making them affordable by younger users who are being introduced to the drug.”
The Cabin Singapore has noted that initially identifying signs of methamphetamine addiction can be difficult for friends and family of users due to the relative newness of the drug in Singapore. However, early intervention with those using meth is critical in preventing serious long-term effects on a person’s health and well-being.
Seven Common Signs of Methamphetamine Use
- Meth mouth
- Scabbed skin and acne
- Weight and/or hair loss
- Unusual eye movement
- Odd sleeping patterns
- Serious mood swings
- Repetitive, obsessive behaviour
Methamphetamine is an acidic drug which erodes the enamel of the teeth. In addition, side effects of meth use include dry or ‘cotton mouth’ where the mouth loses saliva, which is critical in protecting the teeth, as well as habitual teeth grinding and clenching. These factors contribute to the rapid decay and loss of teeth known as ‘meth mouth’. Regular users will often have yellowing, decaying or even missing teeth, and may be seen compulsively clenching their jaw.
Scabbed skin and acne
The intense stimulant effects of methamphetamine often seriously dehydrate users, resulting in dry, flaky skin. Meth also damages the heart and constricts blood vessels, creating circulatory problems that further dry out skin and leads to a dull, sickly appearance. Toxins found in meth are sweated out through the pores, which can cause scabs and significant outbreaks of acne.
Additionally, obsessive skin picking or scratching, often predicated by a meth-induced tactile hallucination of something crawling on the skin, can also lead to open sores on various parts of the body.
Weight and/or hair loss
Since methamphetamine acts as an appetite suppressant, users may experience rapid weight loss. The lack of nutrients to the body, combined with the toxic chemicals in methamphetamines, can also cause damage to hair, including breakage and even loss.
Unusual eye movement
A common side effect of many drugs, including methamphetamines, is pupil dilation. Users of meth can experience this more than a full day after use. Consumption of meth can also cause a distinctive repetitive twitch in the eye, which can be seen up to several times a minute. Those attempting to conceal their meth use may wear sunglasses at unusual times to obscure this tell-tale effect.
Odd sleeping patterns
Meth is a powerful stimulant that can keep users awake for days on end with seemingly endless energy. However, when a crash does hit and the effects of the drug wear off, users may sleep from one to three days as their bodies attempt to recover from prolonged wakefulness.
Serious mood swings
People high on meth can be euphoric, highly energetic, and extremely active. In a particularly intense stage of the high, known as ‘tweaking’, users may also display intense paranoia and experience visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. The combination of these psychological effects can also result in violent behaviour.
During a comedown, however, a person may seem exhausted, anxious and depressed. They may be lethargic, and lack motivation for even basic tasks, including maintaining personal hygiene.
Repetitive, obsessive behaviour
Laser-like focus on mundane tasks, like cleaning a home, dismantling and reconstructing an object, or even exercise, is a common psychological side effect of meth use. Compulsive behaviours such as hair pulling, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, skin picking or other random, unusual movements are also often present in meth users.
What Happens if Meth Use is Left Untreated?
Meth use, especially over an extended period of time, can have devastating health and psychological effects on the user. The toxins in methamphetamine, combined with the vicious cycle of prolonged sleeplessness and comedowns, damage the heart muscle, which causes additional damage to the circulatory system, leading to greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Chronic meth use also results in lower levels of dopamine being produced in the brain, which contributes to a persistent flat or depressed feeling that can lead to suicidal thoughts.
The effects of methamphetamine use also extend to a user’s social role. People who become addicted to meth often lose important relationships in their life, have trouble maintaining a job, and experience financial hardship. Because methamphetamine is an illicit substance in Singapore, people who buy and use it are subject to legal action under the Misuse of Drugs Act, considered to be one of the toughest drug laws in the world. Penalties ranging from caning, to steep fines and jail time await those who test positive for a controlled substance.
How The Cabin Singapore Can Help
If you recognise the signs of meth addiction in yourself or a loved one, it is essential to prioritise professional treatment. The Cabin Singapore has a world-class treatment centre where experienced staff specialising in meth addiction can help you take the lead in a successful recovery from addiction, and the reclamation of a healthy life.
Our outpatient programme offers an innovative treatment plan that allow you to tackle your dependency while maintaining work and family commitments. With a 96% completion rate, our renowned Recovery Zones method focuses on addressing addiction in a comprehensive manner to guide you to a successful recovery. An experienced team of specialists will work with you to identify triggers and root causes of your addiction, coaching you through every stage of the recovery process.
For those who require a more intensive treatment programme far away from usual triggers, The Cabin Chiang Mai offers a world-class residential rehab facility where you can focus solely on your recovery.
Meth addiction is a serious condition that requires the best treatment possible. Call The Cabin Singapore to learn more about how we can help you begin your journey to recovery today.