How does meth affect your life?
Signs someone is using meth
Changes in someone’s behaviour or moods that are not characteristic of the person may indicate drug use, or another issue in their life that may not be drug-related.
Want to know more?
Could my child be using meth?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell with certainty that someone is using drugs. Changes in someone’s behaviour or moods that are not characteristic of the person may indicate drug use, or another issue in their life that may not be drug-related. For example, behaviour such as moodiness and being withdrawn can be signs of drug use but they can also be signs of depression.
If you notice a change of friends, money missing, a drop in grades, withdrawal from the family, drug paraphernalia, suspicious activity, deterioration in health, changes in eating and sleeping patterns or household goods missing, there may be a problem. You may notice one or a combination of these things. If your intuition says there is something wrong, then trust it.
Even if it seems apparent that someone is using drugs, it can be difficult to identify what type of drug a person may be using. For instance, some drugs have withdrawal symptoms that are similar to intoxication effects of another, and some people may use a variety of drugs that may mask or heighten the effects of various drugs.
Some common signs of short-term meth use include:
- Dilated (enlarged) pupils
- Reduced appetite
- Increased energy and alertness
- Increased confidence and talkativeness
- Inability to sleep
- Irritability and threatening manner
- Increased rate of breathing, pulse rate and blood pressure
Some common signs of longer term use can be:
- Relationship problems
- Sudden change in friends
- Mood swings or explosive outbursts
- Changes in eating patterns
- Sleep disturbance
- Frequent absences from school or work or declining marks or performance
- Unexplained need for money or money or valuables going missing
- Unwillingness to answer questions or being secretive
- Avoiding interaction with family, or sudden changes in friends
- Trouble with the police
If you feel that your child is using, or if you know they have tried meth or other drugs, there are a number of ways in which you can respond.
Before taking any action:
- Call the Parent and Family Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5050 or 1800 653 203 (country callers) or Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 (country callers) and talk it through with a counsellor or another parent with a lived experience.
- Talk about it with a trusted friend, your partner, a relative or your GP.
"Things I would change if I knew what I know now"
Comments from Parents from the Parent Peer Volunteer Network at the Parent & Family Drug Support Line:
- I would be careful about handing over money.
- I would try and negotiate rather than be manipulated.
- I would take better care of myself instead of placing my son at the top of the list.
- I would go to a support group and get as much information as I could. Information gives you options on how to respond to the issues.
- There is so much that I didn’t know back then. I needed to know if what I was feeling was a normal reaction to my son’s use.
- I would like to be stronger in myself and believe in my decisions and not be so afraid of consequences (e.g. never see my son again, going to jail or mental illness)
- Keep lines of communication open with my loved one and other family members
- Keep relationships going with other family members – do not keep whole focus on the drug user
Understanding drug use
If someone you care about is using meth, understanding drugs and drug use can help you understand why they may use the drug and some of the behaviours.
How to talk about it
Family and friends can often be the first people to recognise there may be a problem, and can be well placed to offer help or contact support services for professional help.
Having a close relationship with someone who is using meth can be difficult and emotionally draining. Their use can cause them to behave erratically, and it can be difficult to know how to act around them.
What to do if children are involved?
If you are a family member or close friend of someone with meth-related problems, you might be concerned about the welfare of their children.
Looking after myself
Problematic drug use not only affects the user, but also the people around them.
John's Story, parent
"I knew something wasn’t quite right but I couldn’t quite work out what it was. And when I asked he said he wasn’t using. But his behaviour was all over the place and he was over reacting to stuff he wouldn’t have sweated on before. He was under stress too so I wasn’t sure whether this was the reason he was getting so hard to live with. Half the time everything would be fine and then the other half of the time he was horrible! It didn’t matter anyway cos whether he was using drugs or not his behaviour had to stop."
Val's Story, parent
"Love keeps most people going. Hold onto it and do not forget who your child or relative is."