Though meth has recently attained a great deal of social attention because of shows like Breaking Bad, people are still very unclear about what it is and what it does. A Sheriff’s Office in Oregon came up with the Faces of Meth program, where teens are shown before and after pictures of people who are addicted to meth. The change from being attractive and healthy looking people to looking aged, ill and unattractive certainly shock, but do you know what is behind those changes? When you or someone you know is dealing with meth, it is important to know the effects of Meth.
Your Pleasure Centers
When you are trying to understand the effects that meth has on your health and your appearance, it is important to look first at what it does to your brain. Essentially, dopamine is the pleasure chemical that is released in your brain when you do things that you enjoy. For example, the pleasure centers in your brain will release dopamine when you look at something cute, play a favorite game, become intimate with someone you care about very much or talk with friends.
What meth does is that it destroys those pleasure centers. The use of meth alters and in some cases permanently damages the way that those pleasure centers work while providing you with an artificial high. So essentially, what this means is that meth will give you a pleasant feeling while removing your ability to feel pleasure from doing other things. As you may guess, this is a one-two punch that drives addiction very strongly!
The Physical Effects of Meth
Meth is a drug that will degrade your organs and affect the way that you think, but it is also important to look at what it does to you physically. In the first place, it causes tooth rot, a condition often known as meth mouth. Essentially, the meth in the body reduces the body’s ability to produce saliva, and the saliva that is produced is altered. This means that tooth decay can begin very quickly and that it can progress in a very rapid, very pronounced fashion.
People who are addicted to meth are also prone to being scarred for several reasons as the effects of Meth take their toll. As toxins leave the body, they often end up in sweat. The sweat that is produced then irritates the pores causing acne, and poor self-care and a weakened immune system prevent the acne from healing the way that it needs to. People who inject meth may have needle scars, and people who smoke it can have burn scars around their mouths and lips. In addition to this, meth can cause people to think that there are insects crawling on them, something that causes them to itch and scratch.
Finally, the effects of meth also include poor self-care, including a lack of interest in eating or bathing. Both of these things can lead to hair loss, which occurs in both men and women.
Are you or someone that you care about struggling with meth? The first thing to remember is that addiction can happen to anyone, and there is help out there. Call our hotline at 800-447-9081 to look for help, information, or just a listening ear. There are a great deal of information and resources out there. This helpline can be the first step you take in pushing a life towards the light. There is always hope.