Most people are aware that drug and alcohol abuse affects brain chemistry, but they aren’t as fully aware of the detrimental effects it has on other areas of the human body. The biggest organ in the human body is the skin, which covers everything that is exposed to the elements and beyond. Drug abuse skin problems are an issue with prolonged use and drug sores are identifiable wounds that develop for a variety of abuse-related reasons.
Some drugs that cause skin problems are well known in society, such as track marks on a heroin addict or pick marks on a meth user. However, these are not the only skin conditions that can arise as a result of substance abuse. There are various street drugs that cause acne, and drug abuse skin problems do not just afflict people on copious amounts of meth and heroin.
If you are suffering from substance addiction, and your abuse has started affecting your skin, reach out for help today. There are trained professionals standing by to assist you in establishing a recovery process and in turn clearing up your skin of all signs of abuse. Call 385-327-7418 today to receive life-changing advice.
Drugs Affect All Major Body Systems
People that suffer from a drug addiction almost always have another health issue that is a direct result of their abuse including drug abuse skin problems. There can be issues like lung disease, heart problems, the development of a disorder that causes strokes, various cancers, and mental illnesses. These issues can be found by undergoing chest x-rays and various drug tests to reveal the long-term damage done to your body.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and it is also designed to take a lot of damage. Sun tanning is an example of skin damage, as well as lacerations and body piercings. These skin injuries are understood in wider society; the harm caused by street drugs and the related skin problems that result is not widely understood outside of a few harmful stereotypes.
Drugs that cause skin problems are ubiquitous, and it’s not just a few that can damage the largest organ of your body. Almost all drugs have a detrimental effect on skin quality, including street drugs that cause acne. That is why drug addicts in pop culture are often depicted with pimples and sores; it’s a reflection of what can actually happen to you.
The Skin and Alcoholism
It’s not widely known that alcohol abuse causes drug abuse skin problems. Hyperpigmentation, which refers to dark patches or spots on the skin, can result from overconsumption of alcohol. Alcoholism can also cause hives for a variety of reasons, and it can cause the skin to develop abnormal protruding growths, which can look almost identical to the effects of street drugs that cause acne.
Irregular cell grown in the skin of the mouth and esophagus is also caused by alcoholism, which can lead to large growths or the development of drug sores. Negative abnormalities of the skin due to alcoholism is seen in about 43% of men who abuse alcohol, and 33% of women who drink too much. Alcohol is definitely a drug that causes skin problems.
Spider angiomas, or swollen vessels below the skin’s surface, are also a common skin problem caused by alcoholism. These usually have a centralized red spot with reddish tendrils extending from it that’s reminiscent of a spider web.
Jaundice is probably one of the most harmful effects that the skin can undergo due to an overconsumption of alcohol. Jaundice is used to describe the yellowing of the skin that is caused by a malfunction of the liver. The liver doesn’t process red blood cells correctly and allows a component of dead red blood cells to remain in circulation.
This builds up in the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes causing yellowing of your appearance. While jaundice itself isn’t deadly, it can be a symptom of severe liver dysfunction and is often seen during liver diseases caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Cannabis Addiction and Your Skin
Chronic overconsumption of cannabis can be a problem, even though most people are told that cannabis is not addictive. While it’s true that cannabis does not cause severe physical addiction, it can cause a deep level of psychological addiction and its overuse can cause drug abuse skin problems.
Cannabis arteritis is a drug abuse skin problem caused by excessive use of pot regardless if it’s smoked or consumed orally. This is an uncommon blood vessel disease resulting from the swelling of shallow blood vessels in the skin; this swelling leads to blood clots.
Because blood clots impede the flow of blood, the clots formed by cannabis abuse can lead to necrosis. Necrosis in this context refers to the death of tissue and other cells that are not receiving their proper blood supply. Amputation can result if this necrosis is not dealt with appropriately which definitely makes cannabis one of the drugs that cause skin problems. Young men are the most susceptible to this disease, however, it can develop in anyone that habitually uses a large amount of marijuana.
Potheads sometimes have burns on their fingers from the “carb” of their pipe, causing a type of drug sore. It is especially prevalent on the thumbs of people who use hash or other processed cannabis products. This is due to excessive heat buildup while exposing the drug to flame and while the thumb rests over the air intake hole next to the bowl of the pipe containing pot. The spot that rests over the hole can become discolored and hard which sometimes results in a blister.
How Cocaine Abuse Affects the Skin
Cocaine abuse can cause blood clots in a similar fashion to marijuana use, leading to skin necrosis due to cell and tissue death. Cocaine can also cause painful rashes because it is cut with a wide variety of unidentified chemicals when used to create more bulk upon purchase, and you may be allergic to those extra substances. This puts you at risk of developing drug sores.
Sometimes cocaine is cut with levamisole which is a common dewormer for livestock. Overexposure to levamisole causes a syndrome in humans most easily identified by skin lesions and immunodeficiencies, which leaves users with bumps that look like acne caused by street drugs. These skin lesions are extremely painful and look like a purplish rash that may have a necrotic center. While they can appear anywhere on the body, they are most common on the face, extremities, and ears. About 70% of the cocaine that makes it to the United States is contaminated with levamisole, so most cocaine abusers are exposed to it.
Crack is Made from Cocaine
Crack is cocaine that has undergone a chemical cooking process to create opaque rocks and is then sold at a higher cost than powdered cocaine. Crack is much more potent than cocaine which increases its addictive qualities. Crack is placed in a small glass pipe, with the rock in a bulbous piece of glass. A flame or torch is then held against the bulb for a prolonged period, producing smoke that can be sucked out of the other end of the glass pipe.
Crack use dries out the skin, which makes it one of the leading drugs that cause skin problems. People that do crack will have an ashy appearance which eventually leads to an overproduction of oil on the skin. This results in pimples, which makes crack one of the leading street drugs that cause acne.
Users of crack often have what is referred to as “crack hands;” the heat of the pipe burns the user’s fingers and leaves blackened lesions where it came in contact with the skin. These burns are often circular or linear and are usually on the dominant hand since that is what’s used to hold the pipe in place during consumption.
Skin and Methamphetamines
Most people who imagine drug sores are imagining the skin problems faced by methamphetamine abusers. Meth is well known as a drug that causes skin problems. It is the street drug that causes acne in almost all people who use it regularly.
All stimulants cause the skin to dry out, including meth, cocaine, and crack. However, meth causes the driest skin out of the three listed drugs. The artificial skin drying causes the skin to go into hyperdrive and produce excess oil, which leads to drug-induced acne.
While on methamphetamines, obsession with skin abnormalities occurs. Meth heads methodically dig and pick at their skin causing massive drug sores. These sores are not given a chance to heal in habitual users as the next time they are high they pick at the spot again and rip off the scab.
Some meth users think they have bugs or tubular structures under their skin as well and will destroy their skin in an attempt to pull out these imagined foreign objects. Because the immune system is repressed by meth use, the skin takes longer to heal, and the sores can become huge and weepy. This obsession combined with a weakened immune system makes meth one of the top drugs that cause skin problems.
The smoke involved in meth inhalation destroys the gums and causes them to recede, which leads to sunken teeth and tooth loss. Gums are part of the body’s skin system but it is more sensitive that external skin because it is usually protected in the oral cavity.
Meth use also causes the dulling of the skin and a splotchy appearance as the body uses excess vitamins to metabolize the methamphetamines which deprive the skin of oxygen. This is why meth users tend to look ghostly or pale.
Intravenous Drug Use and Skin Damage
The most common reason for drug-induced hospitalization is a result of infections resulting from injections. Unsanitary needles are often reused and shared, which puts the user at risk for a myriad of skin infections and other drug abuse skin problems that can cause the tissue to deteriorate rapidly.
Wound botulism is very serious but common among drug users injecting substances and causes some of the most famous drug sores. A bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum enters the open wounds at the injection site and creates a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves. This toxin can impair breathing, cause muscle weakness, and can quickly become deadly. Botulism is the most common reason for “track marks,” which is the painful discoloration of the veins used for injection. These track marks are well known by most people in society, making any drug that’s injected one of the drugs that cause recognizable skin problems.
While there is an antitoxin available to stop botulism, there is no way to reverse the damage you have already done to yourself. It can take several weeks or months of hospitalization to completely end the detrimental effects of wound botulism.
Some users avoid some of the risks of intravenous drug use by participating in “skin popping.” This method requires the user to inject drugs, usually cocaine, opiates, or barbiturates, under the top layer of skin so it forms a bubble. Gradually, the drugs are absorbed into the system, reducing the risk of overdose and prolonging the high. It is also easier to do drugs like this, but the popped site can turn into a huge drug sore if the drugs do not absorb fast enough.
Heroin users or those injecting a large number of drugs cannot do skin popping, as the prolonged presence of their drug of choice will cause quick skin necrosis and infection. Some users are so addicted to drugs that they cannot wait for the drugs to travel up their extremities, so they mainline their drug of choice.
Mainlining involves tapping a vein near the brain, so the drug almost immediately affects brain chemistry. However, the tissues of the neck and chest are not as resilient as the extremities, and mainlining causes lesions and tracks on parts of the body that are not as easily hidden as the arms or legs.
If you have resorted to mainlining drugs in order to achieve a high, it’s time to seek help immediately. Call 385-327-7418 now to find out how to start healing yourself.
Save Your Skin by Seeking Help
It’s hard to hide your drug use that causes skin problems because the skin is so visible. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is usually the first thing people notice when they are around you. Almost all drugs cause some kind of drug abuse skin problem, including changes in color, acne, and rashes.
Street drugs that cause acne are especially famous as most people associate excess pimples and the resulting drug sores with substance abuse. Even alcohol causes drug abuse skin problems which will affect your appearance dramatically the farther you sink into alcoholism.
It is possible to seek help with your abuse before it affects your skin quality. Talk to trained professionals now about derailing your addictive behavior. By dialing 385-327-7418 now, you will get immediate advice on starting the rehabilitation process. Seek help before your addiction results in more drug sores and drug abuse skin problems.
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