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Is Your Teen Using Crystal Meth? Watch for These Telltale Signs and Symptoms

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Most teens display mood swings and weird behaviors at times. It’s just a part of growing up.  In addition to struggling with the effects of hormones, they are under a great deal of pressure to meet expectations.  But, could their odd behavior be a sign of something besides normal “growing pains?”  As a precaution, parents need to know the warning signs of crystal meth use and the dangers involved.  

Shocking Facts and Statistics About Teens and Crystal Meth Use

Crystal Meth UseA report issued by Monitoring the Future estimated that only about one percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders had used meth in the past year.  Although one percent seems low, look at it another way.  More than 11.1 million teens are in those three grades.  One percent of 11.1 million is 111,000.  

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, drug use among teens increased 60% between 2016 and 2020.  The report also shows that by the time they are in the 12th grade, more than 46% of teens have tried an illicit drug.  Sadly, about 4,777 people aged 15 to 24 years old died of an overdose in one year alone.

Knowing what to look out for can help bring down the number of teens and crystal meth use.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Use by Teens

The signs and symptoms of crystal meth use are two separate entities. Of course, each teenager responds to drug use differently.  However, many of the signs and symptoms below are common among people who experiment with crystal meth.

Signs of Crystal Meth Use

The signs of meth use are physical effects that can be observed by someone else and can include:

  • Weight loss – As a stimulant, meth speeds up the body’s CNS.  It has been used medically to treat obesity.  If your teen is using crystal meth, a noticeable drop in weight is an early warning sign.
  • Skin lesions – Crystal meth causes a sensation of bugs crawling on the skin.  This effect causes scratching and picking at the skin, creating sores.
  • Meth mouth – If your teen is having dental problems, it may be a result of meth use.  The drug causes dry mouth which can lead to tooth decay.  You may notice burns on your teens’ lips that may indicate smoking through a hot pipe.
  • Tweaking – Meth users often use it for days without sleeping or eating.  Teens who are going through this process often display agitation, violent outbursts, rapid eye movements, jerky body movements, and a quivering voice.
  • Diminished cognitive functioning –  Crystal meth damages the brain causing memory loss, poor concentration, and problems with school or work.  These signs may be attributed to normal teen behavior, nevertheless, it’s prudent to consider that they may be signs of crystal meth use.
  • Unusual sleeping patterns – Crystal meth may cause teens to appear restless for several days, then sleep or “crash” for the same number of days.  
  • Secretive behavior – When a teen is using meth, they often isolate themselves.  If your teen repeatedly avoids spending time with family or old friends, crystal meth could be the reason.  
  • Lack of personal hygiene – Typically, teens tend to be very concerned about their appearance.  But, when using crystal meth, their appearance is no longer of major importance.  
  • Other physical signs – When a teen uses crystal meth you will notice outward signs such as dilated pupils, ticks, irritability, and hyperactivity.

Teens who display these potential signs of crystal meth use are at higher risk of overdosing.  Also, one of the main concerns surrounding meth abuse is the risk of being unknowingly exposed to fentanyl which is a powerful, lethal substance.

Symptoms of Crystal Meth Use

Symptoms of meth use are the physical and emotional effects felt by a person.  Some of the symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to noises
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Disconnected thoughts
  • Mood swings
  • Body aches and pains
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Apathy
  • Chronic depression

Using the above information as a guideline will help you realize what your teen is going through. Crystal meth can take control of your teen’s mind and body, leaving them helpless to resist using.  They need compassion and professional treatment to safely and effectively overcome their meth use.

What Are the Dangers of Using Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, similar to amphetamines.  It is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.  The drug produces an intense euphoria that lasts about 12 hours. The route of ingestion affects how quickly, how long, and how intense the effects are felt.  

Even short-term crystal meth use can result in damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys.  It also increases the risk of stroke.  In many cases, some of the damages caused by meth are irreversible.  

Other side effects can include high blood pressure, frequent illnesses, increased libido, and a generally weak, frail body.

Crystal meth is known by street names such as:

  • Black Beauties
  • Crank
  • Crystal
  • Crystal Meth Glass
  • Hot Ice
  • Methies
  • Super Ice
  • Tina
  • Uppers
  • Yaba

Familiarize yourself with these names so you’ll know what they mean if your teen mentions them.  

How to Help Your Teen Overcome Crystal Meth Use

The most effective approach to treating crystal meth addiction involves a comprehensive program of evidence-based therapies.  Some of the treatment options may include medical detox cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, skills training, and counseling.  

If your teen is using crystal meth, contact Design for Change Recovery at our Lancaster, CA facility to learn more about available treatment plans.  One of our counselors will be happy to recommend a program that is best for your child’s needs.


Is Your Teen Using Crystal Meth? Watch for These Telltale Signs and Symptoms