The sores seen on meth users aren’t caused directly by the drug itself, but more of the actions of the user. Unlike alcoholism that indeed destroys liver tissue, the abuse of meth causes mental reactions and sensory hallucinations. These prompt users to scratch, dig and pick at the skin, causing a variety of sores. If the self-mutilation wasn’t bad enough, the overall physical conditions resulting from meth use compound the problems developed by these wounds.
Why Does Meth Cause Sores? Sensory Hallucinations
Meth users are subjecting their skin and pores to acidic compounds that are released from sweat glands. When the oil evaporates, the byproduct affects the nerve endings, causing a sensation of crawling bugs. During this process, the meth user will pick at various affected areas until sufficient damage is caused to quell the sensation. In extreme cases, meth addicts will use knives and other sharp objects to rid themselves of these “bugs.”
This is the beginning process of the sore itself. When a sober person cuts himself on a sharp object, the individual will usually discontinue the activity and bandage the wound. Meth addicts will continue to pick and scratch at a single location until the nerve endings have been nullified. This could lead to larger sores on virtually any location of the body. However, the face and arms are the most obvious locations for these sores to occur.
It’s possible for an individual to claw at himself subconsciously as well. There are many possibilities for a sleeping individual to cause severe wounds from incessant scratching throughout the night. Because the person is unaware of the damage that’s occurring, the wound could become quite large and infected.
Why Does Meth Cause Sores? Bacterial Infection
Once a sore has developed, bacterial infection could occur making the wound inflamed, swollen and/or filled with pus. Infections are common for the meth user, as he’s unconcerned with proper hygiene. Given the right circumstances, a simple scratch from a fingernail could create an episode of blood poisoning. In many cases, it’s the infection of the sore that becomes the most visible evidence of meth abuse. Abscesses, epidermal ulcers and other ailments are common developments for the addict, putting his life in serious jeopardy from afflictions such as septicemia.
Why Does Meth Cause Sores? Malnutrition
The decreased appetite and dehydration of meth addicts drives the sores to become worse over time through malnutrition. Although bacterial infections are incredibly easy to contract at this point, the onset of malnutrition and dehydration prevent the body from properly fighting the infection. The human body has a more delicate balance of needs than what many people may realize, and a single day of not eating could cause severe physical and mental complications. Without the capacity to heal, the sores continue to worsen, causing a great deal of damage to the individual’s body.
Methamphetamine abuse can take a severe physical toll on a user, but that won’t stop the individual from using the substance. These individuals truly cannot fathom the destructive nature of the drug. If you know someone who’s addicted to meth, call the hotline at 800-447-9081. Addiction to meth can be a slow and painful way to lose oneself.