Some of the tell-tale signs of meth abuse include sores, scabs and acne on the face. Meth causes many users to feel a crawling sensation under their skin (called “formication”), causing them to pick obsessively at their faces. Heavy meth usage cuts off the supply of blood to all parts of the body, which destroys blood vessels. The result is acne, sores and scabs that can dramatically alter a meth user’s appearance.
Meth suppresses the immune system, leading to slower healing of acne, meth sores and scabs, and the skin loses its luster and elasticity as a result of decreased blood flow. Heavy meth users often look years or even decades older than their actual age. In one of the most circulated and shocking slide shows ever distributed, the Multnomah County Sheriff compiled a series of mug shots showing the before and after pictures of meth users. The photos are testaments to how dramatically meth can affect the appearance of users.
Photo: Multnomah County Sheriff
The physical effects of meth aren’t limited to sores on the face and body—another insidious effect is “meth mouth,” tooth decay that happens as a result of meth use. The drug causes dry mouth and reduced saliva, which doesn’t allow the mouth to neutralize acids. The acids then eat away at the teeth and gums, causing major dental problems. Meth users often have cravings for highly sweet foods like candy and sugary drinks, exacerbating the problem of tooth decay. It is also thought that the corrosive effect of the chemicals in meth may cause wearing away of the tooth enamel.
Meth is a potent, dangerous drug that can have irreversible effects on both the appearance and brains of users. The professional clinical staff at Northbound Treatment Services is highly-trained at helping individuals quit meth and start down a path of long-term sobriety. For more information about Northbound’s chemical dependency services, visit our website.