There are endless images of before and after photos of meth users online, and each tells a horror story. We have elected to not republish images of people who’s lives and bodies have been decimated by crystal meth use and instead simply provide and educational guide in this post.
The toll crystal meth takes on a users body is profound and its not something that is easy to hide. The physical signs of crystal meth addiction are distinct and explicit. The meth users appearance and overall health can often take a very bad turn for the worse which can increase their sense of shame and guilt about their drug use, which all too often feeds their perceived need to get high. In some cases, however, the deterioration of their body become a wake up call for them to reach out for help.
Chronic users often have a gray or yellowish appearance, and often show signs of sweating due to dehydration and overexertion. Another sign of meth abuse is the presence of what is called “meth mites.” A user will sometimes experience the sensation of insects crawling on or underneath the skin and they begin to itch and scratch at them resulting in pock marks and open sores that can leave permanent scars. Acne and skin rashes also result from poor hygiene, poor diet, and dehydration. Skin around the nails is often infected Compulsive nail biting is not uncommon.
Snorting (inhaling through the nostrils) methamphetamine will quickly dry out the mucous membranes and increase dehydration. Sinus infections are common as are nosebleeds. Advanced stages include a deviated and punctured the septum.
One of the more telling signs of methamphetamine use is “meth mouth” which consists of tooth decay and gum disease which is brought on by chronic use of crystal meth. It causes a drying effect on the mouth, yet saliva is critical to healthy teeth and gums. Dental/oral sores are caused by dehydration and compounded by a lack of oral hygiene. Heightened adrenaline levels also lead to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, which further wears down the teeth and gums.
Anxiety and restlessness
Crystal meth causes a rush of adrenaline which brings on repetitive motions such as rocking or even twitching. Involuntary muscle movements and hand wringing are common.
Cardiac problems are common, including irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) and severe chest pains. Sometimes the addict is convinced they are experiencing a heart attack.
Those who freebase the drug will often experience chronic bronchitis and “smoker’s cough” resulting in damaged lungs.
Summary of the physical signs of crystal meth addiction
The use of this drug can be devastating to one’s health and the downward spiral can be rapid, however no matter how far someone has gone, or how bad off they are, there is always hope and always help. If you’re tangled in crystal meth use, or know of a loved one who is, reach out for help. Learn about help resources in your own community and you can also call our hotline at any time.
Our phones are answered by those who understand addiction and can provide guidance and and help you determine treatment options. The call is free 877-794-9934
Learn more about Crystal Meth Treatment in our special report.