Methamphetamine (or meth) use is sweeping across the nation, trapping people within its terrible grip. The use of this drug comes with dreadful and widespread consequences. Unfortunately, no community has been spared its ravages. Mothers, fathers, siblings, children and friends have all fallen victim to this drug. Communities, both rich and poor, struggle daily to cope with the effects of methamphetamine use. Disturbingly, an estimated 10.4 million people aged 12 and over have used meth at least once. As this scourge sweeps the youth of the nation, treatment options become increasingly important to community health.
Detrimental Effects of Methamphetamine Use
Methamphetamine is a highly toxic and dangerous drug. Of course, the most frightening side effect of meth is the very real possibility of death occurring from overuse. Meth use causes insomnia, depression, delusions and hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, heart problems, kidney problems and liver issues. Essentially, meth poisons the entire body and causes systemic damage with prolonged use. Users experience a steep decline in appetite, adding malnutrition to the list of meth-induced woes. Those who use meth struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis, so personal care activities and hygiene regimens often go neglected.
Given the list of damaging effects meth addicts experience, it comes as no surprise that this drug causes a change in the personal appearance of users. What does come as a surprise, however, is how swiftly an individual’s appearance declines during the course of addiction.
Methamphetamine Use and Personal Appearance
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. Since meth systematically destroys health and harmony within the human body, the complexion is usually the first part of an individual’s outward appearance to be affected. Acne, if not previously present, will appear. If acne is already an issue, the pimples and pocks will worsen. This is due to an increase in sweating and skin oil production, coupled with the often seen decline in personal hygiene.
As mentioned earlier, meth users suffer from an unfortunately high rate of delusions and hallucinations. One of the most common of these grim hallucinations is sensory, deceiving the user into feeling as though there are bugs crawling on their skin. This leads to obsessive picking, resulting in a multitude of small sores on the facial and neck area. The entire facial musculature form changes over a period of time, due to malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals. As the body attempts to survive, it first consumes fat deposits. After these nutrients are depleted, muscle tissue begins to deteriorate. This leads to a cadaverous and hollowed out appearance, especially notable in the face.
Dental Effects of Methamphetamine Use
Meth mouth is an actual dental condition, typified by tooth loss and extreme decay. Other symptoms of this condition are tooth enamel degradation, tooth fracture and jaw issues. The harsh chemicals of which meth is comprised dissolve tooth enamel, stripping teeth of their natural protection. As the cardiovascular system is affected, blood flow decreases to the gums. This facilitates the rapidity and severity of tooth decay. Additionally, meth use often causes an obsessive behavior of tooth grinding. This results in tooth fracture and further depletion of surface tooth enamel.
Meth Use and Inpatient Treatment
Meth causes physical devastation upon the users. Thus, many question whether or not any type of recovery is attainable. The answer is yes, there is hope for those who wish to conquer their chemical dependency issues. However, this is not a battle that is easily won. In fact, it is speculated that at least a 6 month time period is necessary for successful meth recovery. A 12 month period of intensive treatment may be needed for certain individuals.
The most effective weapon when battling addiction is inpatient treatment. With methamphetamine related cases accounting for over 8 percent of all inpatient admissions, there are many options available for users seeking help. Those entering treatment can expect to benefit from many facets of the treatment model, including but not limited to:
- No access to drugs
Once the patient has been restored to physical health, treatment focuses on aiding addicts in learning healthy coping mechanisms to deal with cravings, and to form new social supports. With appropriate medical and dental care, former meth users can once again attain a countenance of health. It’s true that meth prematurely ages users. However, with inpatient treatment paving the way to good health, former users can hope to return to a semblance of their former selves.