Becoming addicted to any substance can have negative effects on physical and psychological health. However, there’s one drug notorious for the toll it can take on a person’s appearance: meth. Anyone who has seen the infamous “Faces of Meth” before and after pictures knows just how dramatic these changes can be.
While these images may be shocking, they only tell half the story of meth addiction. Using meth can significantly alter a person’s appearance and physical health, but this doesn’t mean that a better life isn’t possible. After stopping meth use, many of the physical and psychological effects of long-term use repair themselves, serving as a testament to the restorative power of recovery.
The Effects of Meth Use on the Body
The effects of meth use on the body can be dramatic, altering some people to the point that they’re unrecognizable. Some of the most common of these physical effects including:
- Facial sores and acne
- Scarring from excessive scratching
- Loss of muscle tone and facial definition
- Premature skin aging
- Increased rate of tooth decay
Aside from these physical side effects, meth addiction can also alter the structure of the brain, damaging its reward pathways and impacting motor skills, memory and cognition.
Transformation in Recovery from Meth Addiction
While meth addiction can damage the body in significant ways, the positive effects of sobriety can correct most — if not all — of the physical changes caused by long-term use. Meth use suppresses hunger. As appetite slowly returns in recovery, so does facial fullness and definition. Over time, facial sores begin to heal and dental health improves. Studies show that over time, even cognitive function improves.
Stories of Hope
There’s always hope for a better life outside of meth addiction and some representatives at The Recovery Village are living proof of that. The photographs and stories of these three call center representatives demonstrate just how dramatic the positive changes associated with recovery can be. If you’re struggling with meth addiction and considering seeking help, know that people like The Recovery Village’s own Mikey, Kristy and Eric are ready to talk to you about how treatment turned their lives around.
On meth, I felt like Superman. I would go days and days without sleeping, eating or even resting. For me, meth was tied to sex. In the LGBT+ meth scene, sex is at the center. The further into the scene I went, the more meth I did. The more meth I did, the more dangerous the sex. It finally got so bad that I had no choice but to surrender to it and accept where it was taking me: to the grave.
Instead of killing myself though, I decided to get help. I’d tried to stop on my own, but it never lasted. My best efforts to stay away from meth always ended with me using more meth. This time it had to be different. I got real help. I haven’t used meth since that day. I’ve been clean for almost 17 years.
Let me explain what’s different in my life now: not much. Life continues to happen. I still get bills (but not from the courts or bill collectors anymore), and I still have problems (although not as bad as multiple involuntary institution stays, mental breakdowns or death threats). What’s different is the person I am today. I’m fine with being me. I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m generally happy, even when I’m angry or sad. No matter what happens in my life, I know how to deal with it. I’m much more than the man I thought I could be, I’m the man I want to be. If you take anything away from my story, I’d like it to be this: recovery delivers everything that meth promised. I hope you live to tell your tale.
I started using meth at the age of 14. My using lead me to multiple arrests, homelessness, prostitution, many court order rehabs and the loss of my 2-year-old daughter in a custody battle. Meth brought me to do the worst things possible: rob and steal, cheat and lie, and completely go against my morals and beliefs as a human being.
I entered treatment, along with the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous, in June 2010. Treatment and recovery gave me a life I didn’t even know existed. I implemented every suggestion given to me and worked on my underlying issues that I did not even realize I had. I changed everything: people, places and things. I surrounded myself with “clean” people doing the right thing.
Today I have almost nine years clean. I have full custody of my daughter, I went to college, I have a home, I have a car and a valid driver’s license, people trust me and I get to help save people like me every day at Advanced Recovery Systems. Most importantly, I have me. I have my spirit back. I have happiness. I wake up every day without the need to get high and I love my life.
During my addiction, I had lost my relationships with my family, friends, and godchildren. I was quickly losing the respect of my coworkers and employer. My whole life was revolving around when I could feel numb again. Today I have a successful career, am in the process of rebuilding my life, and am living my life again rather than hiding from it.
Meth addiction can feel like an uphill battle, both for the person who is addicted and their loved ones. However, these stories demonstrate a truth that’s easy to forget: help is always closer than you think. With comprehensive treatment, recovery from meth addiction is possible. The Recovery Village has helped thousands of people at centers located across the country. Reach out today for information about our comprehensive treatment plans, evidence-based therapies and co-occurring care.