Are you a user of methamphetamine? If so, you know all about the short-term side effects this drug can have on you. However, did you know that prolonged methamphetamine use can lead to drastic changes in your physical appearance? Here are just some of the ways meth use negatively alters your look.
One of the common side effects of meth is a decrease in appetite. If you just use meth occasionally, this won’t be a big issue. But if you’re using meth regularly, this can cause you to suffer shocking weight loss that makes you look skeletal.
Meth also causes diarrhea, meaning that even if you do eat, you won’t be absorbing nutrients properly. Overall, you’ll take on a haggard, thin appearance, losing valuable muscle tone and fat deposits. This is one of the first health problems you’ll work on if you enroll in drug rehab for your substance abuse.
Another side effect of meth use is oily skin. The more you use, the duller and greasier your complexion will become. This will cause you to break out like a teenager, leading to bright red pimples, blackheads, and more all over your face.
Skin and Tissue Infections
Unfortunately, acne is the least of your skin problems when you’re on meth. One of the most troubling side effects meth users experience is a crawling sensation under the skin, often termed the crank bug. You’ll feel like insects are scurrying across your body, and you’ll start scratching and picking in an effort to relieve the discomfort.
Eventually, this leads to numerous open sores all over your body. While this is unsightly enough, these sores have a propensity for becoming infected, leading to inflamed and oozing marks that eventually heal into ugly scars.
Perhaps the trademark physical characteristic of meth users is so-called meth mouth. This is when a person’s oral health declines to the point where their teeth start falling out because of extreme decay.
Meth use contributes to this problem in a number of ways. First, it decreases saliva production in the mouth, which allows cavity-causing bacteria to fester. Additionally, meth causes many users to grind their teeth, which grinds away precious enamel and gives the teeth a shortened, stubby look.
How Long Does It Take for These Changes to Appear?
The bad news is that it doesn’t take very long at all to see drastic changes to your appearance. In as little as three months, you can develop skin and tissue infections that cause scabs and scars. That’s also plenty of time for you to lose a lot of weight, creating an overall sickly appearance.
Meth mouth might not appear for a little longer, but once it does, it will provide a permanent and disturbing alteration to your appearance. While your skin wounds can heal, the only way to restore your natural smile is through extensive dental work.
To protect your appearance, your best bet is to enroll in a drug and alcohol detox program to help wean yourself off methamphetamine. Once your drug detox program is over, make sure to get care from a reputable drug and alcohol rehab center to work on the mental and emotional aspects of your addiction. Drug rehab is the best path to a full recovery from meth abuse.