Meth Sores – Methamphetamine abuse can lead to disastrous effects on a person’s physical and mental health and overall well-being. Much of the damage caused by meth happens on the inside, but the most noticeable harm can be seen right on a person’s skin in the form of meth sores. These are primarily caused by the presence of “meth mites,” or non-existent bugs that the person is hallucinating.
People who use meth are notorious for exhibiting scratches, sores, scabs, and scars. These self-injuries are often associated with hallucinations that make the user believe they have insects crawling under their skin. Meth users often scratch at their skin to try to remove the imaginary bugs. However, several other factors can also contribute to meth sores, including injection track marks, malnutrition, and poor hygiene.
Meth Mites and Crank Bugs
“Meth mites” and “crank bugs” are street terms for the same type of hallucination. People who abuse meth tend to stay awake for several days at a time, and sleep deprivation itself can cause hallucinations in otherwise mentally healthy individuals. Researchers have not found an exact cause of these hallucinations, but there are many possible suggestions, including the following:
Cause 1: Meth use can produce itchiness, anxiety, and paranoia. After many days of sleep deprivation, those who abuse meth may start to perceive the itching as caused by something moving around beneath their skin.
Cause 2: People who abuse meth may have delicate skin due to malnutrition, bad hygiene, or the toxic ingredients used to produce meth. When high, users may compulsively pick or scratch at their already delicate skin, causing rawness, irritation, and sores.
Cause 3: Sleep deprivation and/or the psychotic features of “tweaking” may prompt a user to begin hallucinating and falsely believe that bugs are creating their skin problems.
Meth sores and scabs are characteristic signs of meth abuse. In general, those who abuse meth more often or for a more extended period are likely to display more sores than others. In addition to being unattractive to look at, meth sores can lead to health problems if they become infected. Some of these sores can be treated with disinfectants, but those that become infected will probably require medical assistance.
What Do Meth Sores Look Like?
Meth sores can differ in appearance depending on the cause, level of infection, and how long they’ve been present on a person’s skin. Meth sores on the body, however, tend to present as red dots, cuts, and rashes. On the face, meth sores can resemble pimples or acne.
Sores can also form around the lips or inside the mouths of those who smoke crystal meth. These sores can look similar to canker or cold sores, and they are one of the potential symptoms of what is also popularly referred to as “meth mouth.”
On other areas of the body, sores can sometimes appear similar to chickenpox blisters that the person has scratched. When a sore becomes infected, it may look like a bad blister with a brown or black center, and the blister may also be enlarged and pus-filled.
Without treatment, an infection can spread. If a user with these sores treats the sores properly and stops abusing meth, the wounds will ultimately heal and scar, and some will eventually fade away.
Health Effects of Meth Sores
If a meth sore isn’t thoroughly cleaned and protected, bacteria can enter the person’s body. Minor infections can cause pain and discomfort, and if the infection expands and becomes severe, it can result in fever, fatigue, and diarrhea. Such infections that go unaddressed by medical professionals can be life-threatening. Signs of a burgeoning infection include redness and soreness around the affected area, as well as swelling and the presence of pus, blood, or both in the wound.
How to Treat Meth Sores
The most effective way to treat meth sores is to live a healthy lifestyle, allow time for them to heal on their own and, in the meantime, protect them from infection. The wounds should be cleaned with disinfectants or antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide, and then bandaged. Avoid scratching, picking, or in any way interfering with the sore’s healing process.
And, of course, you should stop abusing meth immediately. Quitting any intoxicating substance is often easier said than done, and, therefore, people who are addicted to meth are urged to seek professional treatment.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Harmony Recovery Center offers outpatient detox and integrated programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. These programs employ services clinically-proven to be beneficial to the recovery process and include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.
If you are suffering from an addiction to meth, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we can help you break free from the abuse of substances and foster the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!