Drug and Alcohol

Meth Sores: What Are Meth Sores, One of the Worst Symptoms of Meth Abuse?

Meth sores are an infamous side effect of meth abuse. Methamphetamine abuse is one of the most destructive forms of addiction. Learn more in our blog.

What are Meth Sores, A Painful Side Effect of Meth Abuse?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 5, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Meth sores are one of the most severe and visible symptoms of long-term methamphetamine abuse. Meth sores can be described as open, pus-filled lesions that form on the skin due to meth use.

These skin lesions usually develop around areas where the person has injected meth. Also, meth sores can result from skin picking due to formication, the sensation that bugs are crawling on or under the skin. This effect is so common, it's nicknamed "meth mites" or "meth bugs."

Meth sores are often red or grey, and in some cases, they can be infected with MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), a dangerous strain of bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics.

The effects of meth sores can go beyond the physical pain and discomfort associated with the sores. Having meth sores can have a negative psychological impact on someone. It’s often difficult to look in the mirror, and it’s hard to feel good about one’s appearance when parts of your body are covered in open wounds.

Meth Sores: What is Meth?

Meth, or methamphetamine, is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It’s generally used as a recreational drug. It's often known as "crank."

Desoxyn is a prescription form of methamphetamine sometimes used as second-line treatment for patients with ADHD/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, weight issues, and narcolepsy. However, it’s rarely prescribed due to its potency and potential for abuse and addiction.

The chemical structure of meth is similar to amphetamines but far more potent. It is a classified controlled substance that is classed under Schedule II, which means that it has medicinal value but while having high abuse potential. Meth is classified as a stimulant drug, increasing neurotransmitter release in the brain. It increases the dopamine level known for controlling our motivation and pleasure perception.

Stimulants like meth give an energy boost and cause a sudden increase in blood pressure. Meth is pretty popular at parties due to its euphoric and enthralling effects. There are several physical side effects of using meth; one is meth sores. Let's learn more about that below. 

What Are Meth Sores?

You may have seen or heard about meth skin sores. They generally appear on the skin of meth addicts. It is one of the physical signs of using meth regularly. These meth sores on the face or mouth generally appear after using crystal meth. They are open sores and can appear after a few weeks or months of intense use, but small ones can appear within a few days of use.

After that, they can appear on the face, hands, chest, arms, and other areas of the body. Meth sores often accompany a condition called meth mouth, which is extreme dental damage due to meth use, teeth grinding, and other behaviors.

Sometimes people mistake meth mouth for acne. This is because an average person without much knowledge can look pretty much the same. These sores can worsen if no remedy is taken in due time. They can become itchy, inflamed, pus-filled, and start scabbing. It can do severe and irreversible damage to the face and body of the user. 

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Meth sores generally look like a rash or a red dot. Some may also appear like a cut. The meth sores on the face mostly resemble an acute case of acne. Meth users sometimes also have these sores inside their mouths or on their lips. This generally happens to those meth addicts who smoke meth using pipes, which are often very hot.

The condition of meth sores can worsen if they are not treated immediately. An infected sore would appear brown or black. They will end up swelling and filling up with pus. The infection can spread throughout the body.

This is why treating both meth sores and meth addiction is essential. 

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What Causes Meth Sores?

There are multiple reasons and causes behind the appearance of meth sores. Yes, the primary reason is the usage of meth, but there can be other underlying reasons too. Let's learn about them below. 

A few causes behind meth sores are:

Meth Sores: Weakened Immune System

Meth addiction can lead to the weakening of the immune system. This is why it is easy for germs and skin infections to occur. 

Meth Sores: Poor Hygiene

Most meth users end up ignoring personal hygiene rituals. This can cause skin dryness, rashes, breakouts, and infections. 

Meth Sores: Circulation Problems

Many meth users may not be aware of this, but this substance can restrict blood flow. This will lower blood flow to the skin, causing breakouts and infections. 

Meth Sores: Toxins in Sweat

Meth is a water-soluble drug that is released through sweat. This sweat is toxic and can cause the skin to irritate. This irritation can lead to acne and infection. 

Meth Sores: Injuries from Smoking

People who use meth pipes can have burns and rashes around their mouths, leading to meth mouth.

Meth Sores: Skin Picking

Meth bugs or meth mites are another cause behind meth sores. This is a mental disorder where the meth user feels like something like a meth bug, or mite crawls underneath their skin. Many people end up violently scratching their skin, leading to the opening of old sores and forming new ones. 

How Long Do Meth Sores Last? 

Meth sores will continue to appear on the visible area of your body unless they get treated completely. It should be clear by now that the sole reason behind these skin sores is meth addiction or meth abuse. So, unless an individual eliminates this problem, sores will continue to appear. The treatment for meth sores is just a temporary solution to the bigger problem. In detail below, let's learn about treating both meth sores and meth abuse. 

How are Meth Sores Treated?

The best way to treat meth sores is to stop using methamphetamine. However, this doesn’t always happen right away. Treatment options may include antibiotics, topical creams or ointments, and medicated bandages. These treatments can help reduce the risk of infection and speed up healing.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect someone has meth sores. Proper treatment can minimize the risk of infection and help reduce the spread of MRSA bacteria.

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Are Meth Sores Preventable?

While there’s no surefire way to prevent meth sores, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk:

  • Avoid sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia with other people

  • Keep your skin clean and moisturized

  • Avoid picking at the skin, even if it feels like bugs are crawling on you

  • Wear protective gear when engaging in risky behaviors, such as using needles

  • Seek help for drug addiction and get into a recovery program

Meth sores are one of the worst symptoms associated with long-term methamphetamine abuse. The best way to prevent meth sores is to stop using methamphetamine and get into a recovery program. Seeking treatment early can help manage or even eliminate this painful side effect before it becomes too severe.

Although it may seem impossible, there is hope for those struggling with substance abuse. With the right support system and necessary resources, a life of sobriety is possible.

Why do People Get Addicted to Meth?

Meth addiction is complex and highly individualized. Everyone has different reasons for why they use drugs, and there is no single answer as to why someone might become addicted to meth.

Some of the most common factors that can lead to meth addiction include:

  • Stressful life events or trauma

  • Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety

  • Peer pressure from friends and acquaintances

  • Easy access to meth or other drugs

  • Self-medication for physical or mental pain

Meth addiction is a very serious issue, and it can cause a lot of damage in someone's life. If you or someone you know is struggling with meth abuse, it’s important they seek help as soon as possible. There is hope, and recovery is possible with the right support structure in place.

Are there Other Physical Effects of Meth Abuse?

Meth face and meth eyes are other ways meth harms a person's experience.

Meth Face

Meth face is a term used to describe the physical changes in someone's appearance due to chronic meth use. This can include changes in skin texture, wrinkles, and sagging skin, dry and cracked lips, and enlarged blood vessels on the face.

Meth Eyes

Meth eyes are another common side effect of meth abuse. Common signs of meth eyes include dilated pupils, red or bloodshot eyes, and a paranoid or glassy-eyed stare.

Brain Damage from Meth Use

Meth abuse also affects the brain; it can cause changes in behavior, mood swings, increased aggression, confusion, and memory loss. These effects can last long after someone stops using meth and may never fully go away.

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How is Meth Addiction Treated?

Meth addiction can seem hopeless. It's certainly one of the most devastating addictions; meth sores are just one of many awful side effects of meth abuse. Meth is a potent drug that can cause absolute wreckage in a person's life nearly immediately.

Fortunately, meth addiction is treatable. We won't say it's an easy process, but with the right help from drug rehab, anyone can get meth out of their lives.

Most people being treated for meth addiction go through several phases:

Drug Detox

Treating meth addiction is a process that starts with meth detox. During this phase, medical professionals can help manage withdrawal symptoms and provide medications to reduce cravings.

Drug Treatment

Treatment for meth addiction often starts with inpatient drug rehab. Here, patients can receive counseling and therapy to help them learn how to cope with cravings and triggers. They also may participate in 12-step programs or other group support sessions.

Individual & Group Counseling

After detox, the next step in treating meth addiction is counseling. This usually consists of individual or group therapy sessions where people learn how to cope with triggers and develop healthier ways of handling stress and emotions.

Individual counseling is an integral part of treating meth addiction. During one-on-one sessions, a therapist can work with the patient to establish goals and develop strategies for staying sober.

Aftercare

After completing rehab, many people find continued support through aftercare programs. These programs offer ongoing assistance and resources to help the patient remain drug-free for the long term. Aftercare can include support groups, counseling, sober living programs, and relapse prevention strategies.

Why is Getting Treatment for Meth Abuse So Important?

In today's time, drug addiction is seen as a chronic health disorder. It is a dangerous health condition that can alter the functioning and structure of our brains. Fortunately, most of the world has moved on from the earlier perspective of drug and alcohol addiction.

A few decades back, such disorders were seen on the spectrum of moral values. It was seen as a character flaw or a moral failure. Judgment, shame, embarrassment, and isolation still exist. Even when the general public has come to terms with seeing addiction as a medical condition, there is still a silent judgment or frown attached to it.

Meth sores are just one of the side effects of the long list of symptoms and after-effects of using meth. Meth addiction causes many different health complications. These health complications can go from physical problems like an increase in:

  • The chances of a heart attack

  • Respiratory depression

  • HIV

  • Liver diseases

  • Tolerance

  • Overdose

  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

  • Legal problems

One of the main characteristics of drug addiction is being aware of the negative consequences of drug abuse but continuing to abuse drugs. Hence, people start to get in trouble with the law and make risky life choices like unprotected sexual relationships, bad career-related choices, deterioration of personal and professional relationships, and more.

There is only one way out in such circumstances: seeking help.

It is essential to understand that there is no shame in asking for help. It is a brave decision that can save lives.

Leave Meth Sores Behind Forever. Get Help for Meth Addiction at The Forge Recovery Center

Meth sores are a horrible side effect of methamphetamine abuse that can be physically and psychologically painful. If you or someone you love is struggling with meth sores, it's important to seek medical attention right away.

The Forge Recovery Center is here to help. We offer comprehensive treatment for meth addiction that includes aftercare services. Our team of experienced professionals can provide the support you need to leave meth sores behind forever.

Contact us today to learn more about our effective, evidence-based meth addiction treatment program.

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