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What Causes Drastic Changes in Appearance from Meth Use?

sad woman in the city

Methamphetamine use produces an intense and pleasurable rush. However, some of the long-term effects of meth use are the severe and lasting changes to both physical appearance and bodily function that it causes. Let’s explore how meth can change the body drastically even after just one use.

What Meth Is Made Of

Several highly toxic ingredients are used in meth manufacturing to provide the intense high that it offers. Each ingredient is toxic on its own, but, when they’re combined, they have been found to cause the body’s cells to age and die at an abnormal rate. Some of the more common ingredients found in meth include:

  • Toluene
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Acetone
  • Lye
  • Lighter fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Red phosphorous

The above products, and several others, are largely responsible for the severe physical changes seen in users.

Facial Changes

Meth’s corrosive properties cause users to have an aged and worn look. Common facial characteristics seen in meth users include dry and sagging skin, open sores, severe acne, and paleness. All of these can be seen in a campaign called “The Faces of Meth,” which shows the drastic and startling facial changes in users before and after becoming addicted to the drug.

The open sores so common in meth users are due to delusions of parasitosis, a condition in which the user experiences a crawling sensation under or on the surface of the skin and feels compelled to scratch and pick their skin to remove these “meth bugs,” causing open sores to form.

man suffering from toothache tooth pain

Dental Changes

Meth use also causes extreme tooth decay because use causes the blood vessels to shrink, which reduces blood supply to the mouth. This causes salivary glands to stop working, and they can no longer serve their purpose of controlling acid content on teeth. Without saliva, acid is free to eat away at tooth enamel to cause cavities, and it also corrodes the gums.

“Meth mouth” becomes even more severe when a user begins compulsively grinding their teeth, a common behavior when high on the drug. Continued neglect of the teeth by not brushing or flossing also worsens the condition and, in most cases, causes irreparable damage.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is another visible effect of meth use, and it is often why individuals begin using in the first place. However, continued meth use without IOP drug rehab causes the body to use its fat reserves and muscles to stay alive. When this happens, a user can look several years older than they actually are after only a couple of years of use.

You Can Overcome Meth Addiction

Trying to detox from meth on your own is very stressful and dangerous for your body. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, outpatient meth addiction treatment from BlueCrest Recovery Center can help. Our New Jersey outpatient program offers safe treatment for withdrawal symptoms and employs the holistic treatment of mind, body, and spirit. Start reclaiming your life today. Call (973) 298-5776.