drug abuse affects appearance

How Drug Abuse Affects Appearance

It’s true: Drugs can make you ugly. Drugs don’t make anyone prettier or more handsome, and if you need evidence of that fact, it can be found easiest with your own two eyes. If you do drugs for a long period of time, the chances are high you’ll physically deteriorate to such a degree that friends and family may have a hard time even recognizing you. No one wants that, especially not the person looking back at you in the mirror. Don’t wind up ashamed of your own appearance because your body has been ravaged by drug use.

Need to know more about a drug rehab program? Call us today at 717.969.9126.

How Drugs Affect Your Body

Drugs are often made out of toxic chemicals that your body neither needs nor wants. Unfortunately for some of us, the short-term desires of our brain outweigh the long-term needs of our body. Long-term drug abuse can have a huge impact on what is going on inside of your body as well. Here’s a short list of the parts of your body that are likely affected:

  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Respiratory system
  • Central nervous system

How Meth Can Affect Your Appearance

Methamphetamines (meth) rightly deserve the first spot on this list. Out of any drug, your body deteriorates the fastest — and you look your absolute worst — when on meth. Unlike cocaine, meth isn’t derived from a plant or natural source. It’s purely manmade with ingredients no one would actually want anywhere near their body.

Once you’ve been doing meth for a while, you can likely expect the following parts of your appearance to degrade:

Your skin

Several things happen all at once to meth users: You eat less and lose weight. Skin becomes sallow and saggy. It takes on a dull, pale hue in some areas and develops acne in others. Chances are you’re also picking at your skin without even realizing it. This is when sores and scars develop. Patchy areas of dark and light skin make meth users stand out in a crowd.

Your hair

The chemicals in meth do damage to your hair that no amount of expensive conditioner can stop. Meth users often end up with stringy, thin, brittle hair that sometimes even falls out in patches. Although research hasn’t confirmed it, many longtime meth users who already have a predisposition to baldness may find the onset accelerated by meth abuse.

Your face

Meth ravages your face with a fury. Since you may be snorting the meth, expect the harsh chemicals and solvents in the drug to strip away the insides of your nose. A time-lapsed video would show obvious collapse over time. Since meth users have erratic sleeping patterns, expect dark, sagging eyelids and yellowish eyes. The lack of eating results in hollowed out cheeks.

Your mouth

Meth does your mouth no favors. It does, however, do an excellent job at yellowing and rotting out your teeth. The corrosive and harmful chemicals in meth easily eat away at your teeth enamel until there’s often nothing left but nubs. Your gums will be pale and unhealthy and your breath is likely to rival rotten eggs.

Your physique

Meth abuse often brings on severe weight loss. As you shed pounds your body may actually need, your physique will begin to show it. Posture will become bent, and bones and tendons may begin to show in your extremities.

How Cocaine and Crack Affect Your Appearance

Cocaine abuse is one of the fastest growing problems among the middle class. A U.K. study reported 120,000 regular users and 360,000 casual users of cocaine. Of those numbers, 180,000 are using crack. This is out of a population of only 52 million. Although cocaine is naturally derived from the coca plant, the fact that it’s comes from something natural doesn’t mean it won’t negatively affect how you look and feel. Drug dealers often mix the cocaine with other substances in order to make more money. There are two types of cocaine additives: substitutes and adulterants.

Crack is commonly referred to as “poor man’s cocaine.” Crack is manufactured by dissolving cocaine hydrochloride in water and then mixing the resulting solvent with baking soda or ammonia. The mixture is then heated until the hydrochloride evaporates. If you are a heavy crack or cocaine user, it might be obvious because:

  • Your nose may run or bleed more than the average person.
  • You may cough a lot.
  • You may lose a lot of weight.
  • Your skin may become pale and sallow.
  • If you’re an IV user, you may have “track marks” on your body.

How Heroin and Prescription Opioids Affect Your Appearance

An opioid addiction also consumes almost every aspect of a user’s life. Since opioids rob your body of appetite and hydration, which is why so many heroin users suffer severe constipation, weight loss is common. Heroin and opioid abuse can also lead to greasy-looking skin and hair. Cheeks become sallow and dark circles appear under your eyes from lack of proper sleep. Intravenous heroin users will quickly develop “track marks” as they try to find new veins to puncture. Intravenous use also often results in skin infections and ugly abscesses that can swell up and ooze puss.

But the worst damage from opioid abuse happens inside your body. Longtime heroin and opioid abusers often experience the following debilitating symptoms:

  • Blood infections: These usually affect the heart lining and valves. Intravenous heroin use without sterile techniques can cause dangerous infections.
  • Liver disease: Up to 80 percent of new hepatitis C infections in the United States each year can be traced back to injection drug abuse. Some research has even shown that snorting through a straw can cause hepatitis transmission. As your liver and kidneys fail, the whites of the eyes can rapidly turn yellow.
  • Kidneydisease: Heroin abuse interrupts your body’s ability to properly regulate itself. Toxins aren’t efficiently excreted and harmful materials can back up in the body.

In short, when your body starts to fall apart inside, what’s on the outside soon follows. As heroin eats up your insides, your body will be unable to support proper blood flow and function, and your appearance will quickly deteriorate.

The Case for a Healthy Lifestyle

People are often judged by how they look before they’re judged in any other way. Before you say a single word, a person will often make an immediate judgment of you based on your physical appearance. Is this a good thing? Probably not, but it’s the world we live in.

Sometimes it’s a lot harder to understand how terrible drug and alcohol abuse is when the damage is being done internally. After all, we can’t exactly see what is going on inside our bodies, and it’s often “out of sight, out of mind.” But when you look at yourself in the mirror or when others look at you, it’s a lot easier to say to yourself, “This is what drugs and alcohol are doing to me.” Don’t be that person. You have a life to live, and how you look can have a direct impact on your interactions with others.

Don’t let such drugs or alcohol affect your life like this. Avoid drug and alcohol abuse to stay looking as healthy and youthful as possible. For more information, browse our website, call us at 717.969.9126 or sign up for the The Ranch PA newsletter.

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