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The Leather Skin and Toothless Grins of Meth Addicts
Methamphetamine addicts appear to deteriorate physically more quickly than people who abuse other substances such as heroin or cocaine. In fact, law enforcement efforts have sometimes focused on the ill health of meth addicts as a form of deterrence: by posting before-and-after pictures of meth users, people are able to make quick and vivid associations about the risks of meth addiction. But when you understand exactly what it is about meth use that causes skin, face, and dental problems, you’ll see just how dangerous this drug really is.
Before we present our explanation of why meth causes users to get worse and start to look miserable, check out the following page which features numerous before and after pictures of meth users, courtesy of the police and The Good Drugs Guide at TheGoodDrugsGuide.com.
Most of the pictures mentioned above were taken at fairly short intervals showing how shockingly fast meth can cause aging, injury, decay and decay of a person’s skin and teeth. These effects can be attributed to a number of aspects of methamphetamine abuse and dependence:
*When smoked, meth produces toxic chemicals that are then released into the face and hair. While all types of smoke tend to dry out and eventually “heal” the skin, meth is particularly toxic and results in accelerated skin aging.
* Meth disrupts the circulatory system, reducing blood flow and leading to a reduced ability to fight the effects of stress, disease and infection.
*Methamphetamine users are known to pick at their skin as a result of the constant, but mistaken, sensation of insects crawling under their skin. (How Meth Destroys the Body PBS Frontline) Skin plucking creates wounds that do not heal properly and causes infection in some users that could prove life-threatening given the lack of care most meth users have for personal hygiene.
*Cheeks become inflamed and the face pulls down in an aged appearance reminiscent of a stroke victim. This is caused by “meth mouth” (discussed below) and malnutrition – a common problem among meth users.
Meth Mouth is a well-known phenomenon that results in severely damaged teeth and other dental problems. Meth is a corrosive substance and is extremely toxic; acids and phosphorus, among other substances, quickly damage the protective tooth enamel, which leads to rapid tooth decay.
Met also interferes with the normal functioning of the salivary glands. Saliva is needed to protect the teeth and gums and provide a healthy barrier against what would otherwise be harmful forms of bacteria. Because meth also restricts blood flow to the mouth, this combined with the impedance of the salivary glands creates an environment where the teeth and tissues in the mouth decay and die in a shockingly short amount of time.
Many meth users have broken and badly damaged teeth that cannot be repaired or would be prohibitively expensive to repair. Consequently, they are prone to self-confidence and other emotional problems as a result of their appearance and reluctance to smile.
More than any other drug, meth causes psychotic episodes in otherwise normal people. While the exact cause of psychosis associated with meth use is not fully understood, what is known is that these psychotic episodes can sometimes occur even long after a person has successfully broken free of their addiction and stopped using the drug:
“Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years after cessation of methamphetamine abuse, and stress has been shown to precipitate spontaneous relapse of methamphetamine psychosis in former psychotic methamphetamine addicts.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse and Methamphetamine Addiction)
These psychotic episodes often cause both active methamphetamine addicts and people in recovery to injure themselves, either intentionally, accidentally, or because they injured themselves during physical confrontations with other people, health care professionals, or law enforcement officials. Some of these injuries are disfiguring and can be permanent, including facial disfigurement.
Generally, meth addicts age quickly, behave badly, engage in dangerous activities, and look badass while doing it. There is nothing glamorous or exciting about it: the path meth addicts travel is one of physical and emotional ruin. And given that serious damage can occur within just a few months of methamphetamine use, youth should be warned that they can go from young adulthood to toothless and tired old man in just 8 weeks. All it takes is consistent use of methamphetamine.
Don’t destroy your face, your smile, your health; if you are addicted to methamphetamine, get help before it’s too late. The sooner you take action, the less likely the deterioration will be permanent.
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