The corrosive effects of methamphetamine use on physical appearance are pronounced. It’s the horrifying type of transformation of which nightmares are made. In a matter of months, meth, a highly addictive stimulant, can make you look and act like a monster. Violent and aggressive behavior, triggered by an overstimulated amygdala, or the part of the brain responsible for detecting fear and dangerous situations, usually diminishes after meth has left the body. Much of the physical damage done, however, can be permanent.
The blackened, rotting teeth, characteristic of many users is commonly referred to as “meth mouth.” Methamphetamine use triggers dry mouth, creating an environment unsuitable for neutralizing acids and reducing bacteria. Tooth decay becomes rampant. Poor nutrition, tendency of users to seek out sweet drinks and neglected oral hygiene all fuel the decline of their oral health. The harsh chemicals found in meth further aggravate the situation. Habitual teeth grinding, a side effect of meth use, causes cracked and fractured teeth and an unsightly smile.
Graying, Crepey Skin
While most of the population seeks methods to appear more youthful, meth users engage in activities which advance aging. This dangerous drug wreaks havoc on the body, inducing an accelerated heart rate and increased inflammation. Blood vessels constrict while under the influence, restricting blood flow and destroying cells. Not only does this create the appearance of dull, gray skin but it makes it more difficult for the body to heal.
A lack of appetite leads to poor nutrition. Toxic chemicals poison the body. Prolonged use leads to diminished bone density, deteriorated muscles and a loss of body mass. Users experience itchy, acne-ridden, crepey and sagging skin.
Open Sores and Pock Marks
Formification, a sensation that insects are crawling under the skin, is a hallucination experienced by meth users. Open sores, wounds and pock marks are left behind as users attempt to remove “crank bugs” through obsessive digging and cutting.
Scraggly, Unkempt Hair
Another obsessive behavior displayed by users is a compulsion to pluck or pull hair, leading to bald spots. The luster of remaining hair disappears as malnutrition and toxic chemicals take hold. Strands become brittle. An altogether bedraggled look is brought about with an extreme lack of hygiene.
Users display strange behaviors including involuntary twitches and muscle contractions. Fidgeting, facial tics and uncontrollable writhing, jerking and flailing movements are characteristic of a person high on meth. Tremors and convulsions are more severe reactions.
The negative effects of meth on appearance are swift and scary. It doesn’t take long before users no longer recognize themselves. There are many accounts of meth use quickly leading to addiction. Do you want to avoid this ghastly look? Do everything in your power to avoid meth.
Learn more about the devastating effects of this highly addictive stimulant at methproject.org.