Crystal meth or just meth is a drug made from a synthetic substance called amphetamine which has a great effect on the central nervous system when ingested. There are several names for the drug on the street such as ice, crank, chalk, crystal, glass, speed and a host of others. Crystal meth is unique as it produces a ‘high’ that can last for up to 12 hours, longer than cocaine.
Meth users and addicts experience a mental high and this causes them to be able to go days without sleep.
Chronic abuse of this drug can lead to psychotic behavior including paranoia, insomnia, anxiety, aggressiveness, delusions, and hallucinations. More than a fifth of meth addicts develop a 6 month or longer psychosis that resembles schizophrenia upon quitting meth. The overwhelming majority of meth in the US comes from superlabs in California and Mexico and more than 50 million people worldwide abuse this drug.
Addiction to this drug has consequences that are apparent and this is why meth users are often called derogatory terms like meth head, speed freak, etc. Very common among the visually apparent causes of meth abuse are meth sores and meth mites.
The Horrors of Methamphetamine
Addiction touches a lot of families and goes on to erode mental and physical wellbeing, finances and relationships. No one is immune to the dangerous side effects of the long-term abuse of any drug and the abuse of meth ranks top in on the list of negative effects. The devastating effects of meth abuse are all too apparent. Meth mites, meth sores, and meth mouth are the most common side effects of meth abuse and it is easily noticeable with meth addicts. Obsessive skin picking often causes meth user’s skin to be covered in small sores and scarring.
What are Meth Mites and Meth Sores?
Meth mites are the effects of the hallucinations experienced by meth users which makes them feel as though there were mites or bugs crawling under their skin. Meth mites are not real but rather they are a side effect of the chemicals present in methamphetamines that cause the skin to dry out. The obsessive picking of the skin as a result of this ‘bug’ hallucination is what results in meth sores. There is no specific timeline or guarantee that a meth user will or will not experience this side effect. Some users experience it on their first use of the drug and some users don’t. Meth mites can occur anywhere on the body but most commonly on the face, chest and upper arm. They start off looking like small pimples then they become dry and turn to small red spots. Upon picking and scratching they then become sores which are bound to get infected.
Meth mites and meth sores are terrible because of how fast and rapid they are to form and spread. They almost invariably become clearly visible on the skin of meth addicts. Multnomah County Sheriff’s office in Oregon recently published photos of meth addicts to show the devastating effects of meth on the skin. They did this in partnership with Faces of Meth and it is hoped that the before and after photos will serve as a deterrent to people who are using the drug or thinking about using the drug.
Meth is a very dangerous drug as it alters facial appearance through the physical and psychological effects. So the user of this drug throws his body into a fight on two fronts. Even small doses of meth can result in widespread acne due to the effects of the drug on the skin. The effects of this drug then transcend into the psychological as users start to experience hallucinations of bugs crawling beneath their skin. This inevitably leads to incessant scratching and itching. The skin also becomes pale and this can be explained by physical stress and frequent illness. This is as a result of the weakening of the immune system. The effect of meth on the skin becomes even more apparent when the user smokes it as smoking of any drug causes the skin to wrinkle and assume a rough texture.
These meth sores also become more apparent with the undernourishment of the skin and body. Methamphetamine has been found to suppress appetite and it leads to a chronic malnourishment of the skin. Eventually, the body is forced to start consuming muscle tissue and facial fat and this is responsible for the gaunt and skeletal appearance of meth addicts.
Cure and Treatment of Meth Mites and Sores
The more meth users become engrossed in their addiction, the less likely they are to care for their body and observe physical hygiene. As a result, it is very common place to find users neglecting bathing, brushing their teeth and nourishment. By the time many addicts realize the destruction of meth to their physical body, it is often too late to heal completely and return to normal and some relatively permanent damage would have been done.
The only real cure for meth sores and some other negative effects of meth use is quitting altogether. Overcoming this addiction requires a complete physical and mental transformation and because of the immense damage of meth to the physical body, full healing may not be possible. Treatment for meth requires a physical detox. Once the body is rid of meth, a return to healthy habits is possible and soon after the skin and the body can attempt to heal.