It’s no secret that drug abuse does a lot of damage to your body. It affects our brains, our teeth, our skin, and particularly our hair. There are a number of things you need to know about drug-related hair loss.
First and foremost, it is much more common than we would like to believe. Unhealthy hair is one of the most common ways to tell if someone is abusing drugs. Your hair may not even completely fall out when you are in the thick of a drug addiction, but it won’t look good either.
Drugs are toxic. There is no way to avoid the physical effects of prolonged substance abuse. If you are a regular drug user, you can count on it negatively affecting your body in more ways than one.
Much like our skin, our hair requires specific nutrients in order to grow and stay in good shape. Drug abuse interrupts these nutrients from doing what they need to do, which can quickly lead to premature hair loss.
Drug abuse can lead to a condition known as ‘telogen effluvium’. This is categorized as unexpected hair loss as a result of stress or a traumatic event. Drug users typically suffer from some form of stress or trauma which may have been what led them to drug addiction in the first place.
A large number of addicts got to where they are because of a poor upbringing or some sort of trauma in their past. A big reason why so many people turn to drugs is to avoid having to deal with these issues.
Once you begin abusing drugs, the hair goes through structural changes due to the chemicals introduced by the drug. Over time, the hair weakens and begins to fall out.
Combine this with addiction-related stress and the overall poor hygiene of most addicts. Malnutrition can lead to a number of physical ailments, including thinning of the hair. The sleep patterns of drug addicts are often interrupted or sporadic, which is another reason for premature hair loss.
Drugs That Cause Hair Loss
What drugs cause hair loss? Beyond illegal drugs, there are actually a number of prescription medications that can result in premature hair loss. Adderall and other ADHD drugs have been linked to hair loss.
Beyond being an ADHD medication, Adderall is a widely abused drug that is often referred to as “kiddie coke” because of its cocaine-like effects on the brain.
Multiple studies have linked cocaine abuse with hair loss. The cells in our hair follicles are some of the most active cells in the entire body. Cocaine has a high enough toxicity level that it can reduce cell division in the hair follicles, leading to the development of telogen effluvium.
The other issue with cocaine is you don’t know exactly what you are ingesting. Most forms of powder cocaine can be cut with many other substances, including rat poison in some cases. Cocaine users who ingest cut cocaine are much more likely to develop hair loss.
There is no direct correlation between alcohol abuse and hair loss, however binge drinking, and alcohol use combined with other drugs will definitely result in nutrient deficiencies.
This can ultimately lead to hair loss. Methamphetamine is another one of the primary drugs that can result in hair loss. Meth users experience increased levels of stress and anxiety, which can lead to nervous, fidgeting habits such as picking at the skin and hair.
The more you pick at your hair and scalp, the more damage you are doing to your hair follicles. Meth is also known to increase testosterone levels, which can also interrupt hair growth.
People who are addicted to cocaine or methamphetamine are typically malnourished and do not have a normal diet. You can suffer from hair loss just from having a bad diet alone. Typically, with drug addicts, healthy food is often replaced with junk food.
Meth users are known to crave sugary foods and beverages as a result of the stimulating nature of the drug. The resulting gaunt and sickly appearance associated with cocaine and meth use are often a result of poor diet in combination with introducing toxic chemicals into the body.
Is Drug-Induced Hair Loss Reversible?
Luckily, drug-related hair loss is commonly reversible once you quit using drugs. This can be an added incentive to get sober. We all care about our appearance in one way or another.
Getting off of drugs and regaining your physical health can be a huge confidence booster that can help keep you sober. You’d be very surprised how quickly your body can bounce back from an extreme drug addiction. It’s not always the case with everyone, but typically if you quit using drugs, your physical appearance will improve.
After all of the toxins from the drugs are flushed out of you, your body can quickly return to its normal functions. This will help you get your complexion back and promote the regrowth of your hair.
Getting sober is not easy, and just because you may start to look and feel better does not mean you will remain sober. It’s going to take a lot more than an improved physical appearance.
Treatment for your addiction must address the root cause of how you got there in the first place. Through treatment, you must learn new ways to cope with stress and anxiety and get down to the bottom of what is really going on.
There is a lot of soul searching and reflection that must be done in order to achieve sobriety. It’s a long hard road, and it truly is a one day at a time situation.