Why Methamphetamine Changes a Person’s Physical Appearance

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meth appearance

One of the most well-known ad campaigns against methamphetamines is called “The Faces of Meth.” Billboards all over the country show mugshots of people who have just started using the dangerous drugs followed by another mugshot taken after several years of abuse.

This public service announcement perfectly illustrates how meth can destroy the body and even manages to capture the loneliness and desperation of these individuals. Some of the drastic changes can occur within just a few months.

meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org
meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org

The public service announcement perfectly illustrates how meth can destroy a person’s body and even manages to pick up on the loneliness and desperation of these individuals.  Some of those drastic changes can happen over just a few months.

What’s The Cause?

Recently, scientists began to explore why the drug causes such extreme changes in a person’s physical appearance.

With financial backing from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers from the University of California Irvine and the Italian Institute of Technology began to conduct experiments on rats that had been trained to give themselves methamphetamine.

After much research, the scientists noted that methamphetamine had a direct impact on the body’s cellular structure.

The drug, when taken over time, began to influence the cell structure of the body and advanced the aging process of the cells.

The phenomenon results in a person looking significantly different after ingesting methamphetamine to the point of addiction.

Faces of Meth Ad
Source: Methproject.org

The Damage Done

Scientists noted that the drug increased the amount of inflammation on the face, a direct result of the damage done to the body’s cells.

Scientists also noted that the drug increased the amount of inflammation on the face, a direct result of the damage done to the body’s cells.

Faces of Meth Ad

Acne manifests itself or becomes worse, and the sores from picking and scratching at the face and arms because of “crankbug,” the feeling that insects are crawling all over body, stay infected longer and lead to scarring.

The damage is bad enough that an addict loses both weight and musculature due to a decrease in appetite, and the skin loses elasticity.

There is also “meth mouth,” a decline in oral health to the point of teeth falling out from decay and rotting gums. But the damage is far worse than this.

Autopsies Don’t Lie

Scientists have conducted autopsies on people who died from methamphetamine overdoses and discovered information that corroborates the study above. Those who died as meth addicts were found to have diseases generally found in older people, such as coronary atherosclerosis and pulmonary fibrosis. The autopsies revealed damage to the brain, heart, liver, lungs and skin, damage that may not be reversible, Heart attacks and strokes are just some of the terrible things a meth addict may have to experience.

Methamphetamine use can also make preexisting heart problems worse.

But wait, there’s more: arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), cardiomyopathy (hardening of the heart muscle), aortic dissection (a tear in the aorta near the heart), and sudden death can also occur. And while other drugs may provide long-term data after decades of use, meth addicts do not live long enough to provide us with any.

Meth Addiction Needs Intervention

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that is extremely toxic. Addicts feel a burst of energy, followed by intense euphoria when they consume it, but the negative effects of the drug far outweigh any initial high.

Meth use causes intense damage on a cellular level, in addition to the impact it has on physical appearance and increasing psychotic behavior and paranoia.

The constant distress that the body is under when using methamphetamine makes it nearly impossible for the body to heal itself, and that contributes to premature aging, resulting in a shortened lifespan.

Looks are Everything

The following pictures are of meth addicts before and after 4-6 months of use. The changes are devastating and painful to see. Meth is the ultimate time machine, fast-forwarding the user to an early grave.

meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org
meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org
meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org
meth mugshots
Source: Methproject.org

Why Can’t Methamphetamine Users Stay Sober?

Methamphetamine wreaks havoc on the body and mind, but it is not the most addictive of substances. So why do so many methamphetamine users continue to struggle with alcohol and drugs, and often even continue to abuse other illegal, prescription and over the counter drugs?

Methamphetamine abuse and addiction is a heavily psychological addiction, and there are often very complex layers of mental health issues present. This is one of ht unique reasons why meth users need interventions.

Contact Us Now to Schedule a Methamphetamine Intervention

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Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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