The effects of using meth can be quite extreme. One such effect is getting meth sores on the skin—mostly on the arms, chest, face, and lips.
Skin sores are just one overt sign of how toxic the substance meth is. It can have a devastating affect on a person’s life. Because it impacts the brain so profoundly, it can cause psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia and hallucinations, and decreased mental abilities. It also causes violent behavior and impulsive risk-taking. Learn more about methamphetamine and its risks.
Meth is a manmade stimulant drug composed of amphetamine and hallucinogenic ingredients. These are often derived from household products like drain cleaner, lighter fluid, brake cleaner, batteries, paint-thinner, or battery acid.
The drug is manufactured mostly in Mexico. Meth use has risen during the pandemic, and seizures of the drug along the border have doubled in the last two years.
Meth is a white powered substance. A more potent version, crystal meth, has a glass-like look and is referred to as ice. Meth can be taken in many ways, such as being smoked, swallowed in pill form, snorted, or injected.
The effects of meth produce a powerful rush, causing the person to feel more confident, energetic, hyperactive, and in need of little sleep. Meth can also cause agitation, irritability, and aggressive behavior. It is referred to as the “meth crash” when the drug wears off. The crash features lethargy, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, cravings, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
What Are Meth Sores?
The skin is where meth can really reveal itself, in the form of sores on the body and the face. Sores can take on different appearances. Some may look like scabs, while others may look like burns, and still others as acne or open wounds. When someone presents with sores on their body, face, or lips, there is a good chance they have a meth problem.
What Causes Meth Sores?
There are many reasons why someone may acquire meth sores. These include:
- Meth mites. The user hallucinates that there are tiny mites crawling on or under their skin. This prompts the person to pick at the skin in an effort to get rid of the imagined bugs.
- Crystal meth pipe. Someone who smokes crystal meth may develop meth sores around their mouth, caused by burns from the pipe.
- Meth sweat. Because meth is water-soluble, it can sweat out through the pores. This irritates the skin, causing sores.
- Restricted blood flow. Meth causes the blood vessels to restrict, which can cause dry, scaly patches on the face or arms.
- Weakened immune system. Meth use causes the immune system to become compromised. This makes it harder to fight off infection, so the sores that are there will not heal in a timely manner.
Because the meth sores cause irritation, the person may continue to pick at or itch their skin. This only makes the sores worse, even leading to infections. Once an infection enters the bloodstream it increases the risk of sepsis, which is often life threatening.
Signs of Meth Addiction
Meth abuse and addiction are very hard on the body and the brain. There are some distinct features of meth addiction that cannot be missed. These include:
- Psychological signs of meth addiction:
- Mood swings.
- Physical signs of meth addiction:
- Droopy skin.
- Severe tooth decay.
- Skin sores on face and body.
- Weight loss.
- Contracting HIV or hepatitis from IV meth use.
- Behavioral signs of meth addiction:
- Risky behaviors.
- Legal problems:
- Child custody battles.
- DUI arrest.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
When someone has developed a meth addiction, they should seek treatment at a residential or inpatient program. Meth addiction is a more challenging substance use disorder to treat and often requires a longer treatment window. Also, the erratic behaviors that are associated with meth are better managed in this higher level of care setting.
The recovery process begins with a detox. It takes about a week for a meth detox to be completed. During the detox and withdrawal, there is some discomfort. The detox team is tasked with providing meds to help manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Benefits of Meth Addiction Rehab
To assist someone in overcoming a meth addiction, the rehab provides a series of ongoing therapies. Each of these works in a specific way to help the person change their behaviors:
- One-on-one therapy. These private sessions with a therapist help the person in recovery identify any underlying issues that may be factors. CBT can assist the person in taking a hard look at thought/behavior patterns that are fueling drug-seeking actions.
- Group therapy. Group therapy is a very important treatment element. A trained clinician leads small peer group sessions during which the group chats about a given topic. These sessions are sources of support and foster bonding among peers.
- Medication. In some cases, the person may have a co-occurring mental health challenge. If so, meds can help manage the symptoms, which allows treatment to proceed in a productive way.
- 12-step program. The A.A. or N.A. The 12-step program is often part of the rehab programming.
- Classes. Classes teach the addict how meth addiction develops and how this dangerous drug impacts the central nervous system and brain. The classes also focus on relapse prevention planning as well as teaching practical coping skills.
- Holistic. Recovering from meth is very hard. It helps to have some holistic techniques that can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. These include yoga, meditation, journaling, and art therapy.
Meth sores are just one of many adverse effects caused by this harmful drug. If you are finding meth sores on your body, it is time to reach out for help. Enroll in a treatment program and change your life for the better.
Bodhi Addiction Treatment Provides Treatment for Meth Addiction
Bodhi Addiction Treatment Center is a full-spectrum addiction and dual diagnosis treatment program. If you or a loved one is showing the signs of meth addiction, including the sores, please reach out today. Call us at (877) 328-1968.