Meth has some devastating effects on a person’s physical appearance. There are a few obvious signs of meth consumption, including rotting teeth and a pale complexion.
In addition to these problems, many meth users also suffer from what is known as meth sores. Meth sores are actual lesions on the body that are a noticeable side effect of using methamphetamine.
Meth sores can persist for quite some time, and the body’s healing mechanism is likely to take longer to deal with it. Some meth sores are easily visible on people, even after they scab over. However, these sores may occur in private areas of the body where the person can hide them.
Meth is a massive problem because of how addictive a substance it is. Meth was developed in the early 20th century as a decongestant. It was initially used as a stimulant to increase activity and help people focus, but the dire side effects of the drug quickly came to light.
It fell out of widespread use with doctors and became a controlled substance within the US, but that hasn’t stopped people from finding sources that would sell it to them.
The drug is currently available in non-refillable prescriptions and is used to treat conditions such as ADHD and weight loss (over the short term).
However, it’s made its way into other circles because of its ready availability from streetside drug dealers that depend on the substance’s addictiveness to continue sales.
Meth and Its Impact on The Body
Methamphetamine may seem like a harmless substance, usually available in crystals that can be snorted, smoked, or dissolved and administered via syringe.
When someone takes meth, the chemical stimulates the brain’s production of dopamine. This chemical is usually released sparingly by the brain as a reward for a job well done.
Unfortunately, meth short-circuits this reward pathway and forces the brain to empty massive volumes of dopamine into the brain.
The result is a feeling of euphoria along with the natural stimulant drive that meth creates. This manic energy is usually accompanied by rapid speech and thought.
Physically, when someone takes meth, they start being more active because of the drug’s impact on their nervous system. The stimulant nature of the drug may cause a faster heartbeat, potentially causing increased blood pressure, leading to heart muscle collapse.
Meth also affects a person’s immune system, slowing it down and making it unable to deal with threats to the body. Infections like hepatitis B and C are common in meth users because they share needles and lack the immune system support to deal with the infection.
Continual meth usage may also lead to severe kidney damage as the organs try to clean the blood. The kidneys have a hard time breaking down the toxins that meth contains, but they will try, and the difficulty usually strains these organs to the breaking point.
Addiction and Dependence
As noted before, meth consumption creates a flood of dopamine in the brain. When someone takes meth for the first time, this flood and euphoria are unlike anything they’ve ever felt.
Unfortunately, the brain adapts to this situation, making it impossible to attain that same high with the same amount of the drug.
A nasty side effect is that the person doesn’t derive pleasure from their normal activities because the brain’s natural distribution of dopamine is no longer enough for that feeling of accomplishment.
The only thing that makes them get that “high” is taking more meth. This situation is known as tolerance – the ability of the body to get used to specific concentrations of a chemical. Tolerance leads to dependence, as the body can no longer operate without the substance.
Addiction is a brain disease that stems from dependence. When someone is dependent on a substance, they are likely to go to great lengths to get it, even if that means breaking laws and committing crimes.
Addiction changes behavior in the addicted person, from their hobbies to the company they keep. At the point of addiction, the person may stop performing at work or school and even missing critical engagements in their search for the drug.
Addiction changes how a person’s mind works, and it’s because of this change that the person may become a danger to themselves.
The real danger in meth addiction comes with the side effects. It was previously mentioned that meth has severe impacts on the human body when someone uses it.
When someone becomes addicted to the drug, they start using it regularly, leading to massive issues in their appearance. It’s not uncommon to see individuals who use the substance with rotting or stained teeth.
The term “meth mouth” has been used to refer to this problem, which stems from meth aiding in tooth decay by drying out of the mouth’s saliva. However, another physical side effect of using the substance is the appearance of meth sores.
What Causes Meth Sores
Meth sores are wounds that appear in different parts of the body as a side effect of meth use. It may be confusing to see it this way since meth doesn’t actually cause these sores.
It’s not like a needle-track where the method of consumption leads to the wound. In this case, it’s what meth does to the brain. When someone consumes meth, one of the common side effects is hallucination and paranoia.
Hallucinations might be pleasant for some, but for others, they can cause a person to start clawing at their skin because they feel itchy. When they itch, they open these sores.
Itching isn’t the only way to get meth sores, however. Some users consume meth through glass tubes, heated up to release vapor. Sometimes, these tubes are too hot, and when they get in contact with skin, they may burn, leaving a sore or a scar there.
Facial and body sores may result from poor hygiene as well. Typically, when someone starts using meth often, they lose a sense of personal hygiene. This neglect may result in rashes and sores as a result.
Meth acne is a side-effect readily visible in users who don’t take proper care of their hygiene. The unfortunate consequence of meth sores is that they don’t heal as quickly as a person normally would.
The increased healing time comes from the body’s natural repair system suffering because of constant drug use. Meth sores vary in severity, just like each meth user is unique in their use patterns.
One of the scariest ways for meth sores to form comes from the combination of hallucination and paranoia to create the illusion of mites under the skin.
Meth Mites and Meth Sores
The brain is a powerful organ, and it can do amazing things in the right circumstances. It can also be hazardous with the wrong chemicals pumped into it.
When a person takes meth, there’s a chance that they will feel their skin start to itch, but more often than not, this hallucination is accompanied by paranoia about that itching.
The result is a feeling that something is crawling under their skin. This sensation is referred to as formication – the sensation of mites or insects within the skin. The hallucination might become very vivid, with the user seeing the mites moving under their skin even though there aren’t any.
The Meth Recovery Process
Recovering from meth takes time, but it becomes infinitely easier when a recovering person has the support of a facility.
Meth recovery starts with making an appointment for a first visit to the facility. On this first visit, the professionals and staff will likely ask the patient some questions to establish a baseline for their addiction.
These questions help the team formulate a customized plan for the patient. Addiction is a highly personalized disorder and requires care that focuses on the individual. No “one-size-fits-all” cure works to overcome this problem.
Alongside the facility’s staff, there are usually mental health professionals that might also ask questions to develop a profile of the patient’s mental state.
These questions are necessary, and staff is trained to accept the patient’s answers and know when to delve further into the topic.
This approach also helps them determine whether the person may have other co-occurring mental disorders that they may need to treat simultaneously. Once the initial visit is complete, the patient can then move on to detoxification.
Detoxification is the process by which a person breaks themselves of the physical draw of addiction. As a person consumes meth over time, their body changes to make it difficult to stop using the substance.
When an addicted person stops using the drug, the body throws up barriers to urge them back into use. These barriers are withdrawal symptoms, and detox helps manage those, allowing the recovering person to break their dependence.
The best meth treatment facilities typically have detox centers that have medical staff available at all times. Availability of trained medical staff is a precaution to deal with severe withdrawal symptoms.
While a person can theoretically detox independently, they will have a hard time staying away from the drug when the symptoms and cravings reach their highest point.
Detox facilities are isolated from places where users could acquire the drug, forcing them to stay clean even when symptoms become intense. When detoxing outside of a facility, there’s a constant threat of relapse as cravings get bad.
Once a person gets through detox (which usually lasts for about a week), they can start receiving therapy to help them overcome the psychological aspects of addiction.
Meth treatment facilities understand that breaking physical addiction is only the first part of helping a person recover. Psychological dependence needs to be treated as well.
Meth treatment facilities do this through behavioral therapies that have shown promise in assisting individuals to overcome their urges. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of those that has shown the most promise in helping recovering individuals leave meth behind.
CBT teaches a person to spot the negative thoughts that lead to their negative behaviors, such as consuming the drug to get high. Once a person can spot these urges, they can take steps to avoid giving into them.
Behavioral therapies can be administered in both inpatient and outpatient facilities. Inpatient facilities allow for a more controlled environment but require the recovering person to give up their freedom of movement for a time.
These facilities can also be somewhat expensive, as the cost of treatment includes room and board. Outpatient facilities are more attractive to patients who want to retain some level of autonomy.
Since recovering persons attached to outpatient facilities don’t need to stay at the facility, they can maintain their everyday lives, including their professions and social engagements.
However, the temptation to use may be more substantial since they will be in a familiar environment. These patients need to be even more vigilant because of the risk of relapse. Outpatient facilities are better suited to individuals who can already manage their urges to some extent.
These facilities only provide support for up to a few months after detox. Total recovery only happens when a person no longer feels any urge to use the substance.
For this to happen, a recovering individual usually needs a support group or network to help them cope. Several support networks can help recovering persons be accountable for their sobriety and inspire others to take the same route.
They also foster community and friendship among their members.
Best Facilities for Meth Treatment
California has a lot of facilities that a person can go to overcome meth addiction. Combatting meth sores starts with recovering one’s ability to heal oneself.
That healing will happen once someone decides to go through recovery. Facilities such as The Discovery House offer an individual a place to come to when they want to experience a personalized recovery approach tailored to their needs.
Medical staff and trained mental health professionals are there to guide recovering persons, helping them come to terms with their condition and giving them options to overcome it.
If you’re ready to leave your dependence on meth behind and return to society, contact us today to set up your first meeting now. We’ll be eagerly awaiting your arrival!