Wrinkles, Lines, and Damage: Substance Abuse Effects on Aging

Alcohol and drug abuse can have dramatic effects on your skin and appearance. Many reports deal with the ways that drugs and alcohol affect your health. However, substance abuse effects on aging and skin damage don’t get the same attention. Drug and alcohol abuse has many effects on the body. Additionally, people respond to drugs and alcohol differently.

However, no matter the drug, substance abuse affects your appearance in a way that isn’t pretty. Readers may be shocked or surprised to find out how different substances alter the way you look. This post will explain how drugs affect your physical appearance. Use this information as another wonderful reason to avoid drug and alcohol abuse, or to spot someone who might need your help.

How do Drugs Affect Your Physical Appearance?

Drugs and alcohol alter your appearance in different ways. Some drugs cause swelling and bloating. Others cause a sunken, sickly look. Teeth and hair are affected as much as your skin. As a result, every part of your appearance is altered by substance abuse. Moreover, drug use takes an increasingly heavy toll on your appearance. What may start out as something simple can quickly turn into a massive problem. Additionally, an altered appearance is the first step to more serious medical problems.

You don’t need to look any further than before and after shots of people suffering from substance abuse to see the dramatic effects substance abuse can have on your appearance. Unfortunately, these pictures usually come in the form of mugshots, another hazard of drug and alcohol abuse.

One of the most noticeable results of substance use is advanced aging. Premature aging can ruin your looks, no matter what substance is involved. We’ll look at the aging effects of different drugs. This approach will encourage you to stay clean and help you spot signs of abuse in others.

Aging Effects of Drugs

Premature aging has serious impacts on users. It lowers confidence and makes it harder to find a job. Moreover, looking older may make it harder to find a date or spouse. The aging effects of drugs lead to more serious issues. Dry skin leads to open sores. These open sores risk infection. Stained teeth and bad breath lead to gum disease and other dental problems.

All of these health, skin, and dental issues make people look much older. After all, we expect the elderly to have skin issues because their bodies don’t heal as quickly. When a young person shows those same issues they just look old and unhealthy.

It’s no surprise that problems with looks lead to health issues. After all, people have used looks to judge someone’s health since before modern medicine. However, appearance has never been as important as it is today. The popularity of social media drives a culture obsessed with looks. Almost everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times. Therefore, understanding the way different substances alter your looks is an important step in fighting drug abuse.

Aging Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most frequently abused substances. Anyone who’s had a hangover can tell you about the harmful effects of drinking. Dehydration causes many of the harmful effects of booze. Your skin and body don’t get the fluids they need to work properly. The result is deeper wrinkles and an older look. Alcohol addicts frequently avoid drinking more water because it kills their buzz, making the problem worse.

One of the biggest ways that alcohol makes you look older is weight gain. Obesity is a huge problem in America. Alcohol increases the number of calories you take in. Furthermore, it reduces your desire for exercise. As a result, alcohol abuse causes drastic weight gain.

Alcohol also causes bloating. Alcoholics usually look swollen and puffy. Additionally, alcohol causes inflammation. This makes your joints stiffer and harder to move, making exercise even harder.

Another way that alcohol abuse makes addicts age more is through accident and injury. We understand when an older person trips or falls and breaks a bone. However, younger people who injure themselves while drunk seem much older in their casts and braces. These injuries also make it harder to exercise, further aging addicts and creating an incentive to drink even more.

Aging Effects of Meth

Most people know about some of the effects meth has on your appearance. Even occasional meth use can hurt your complexion. Meth dries out your body. As a result, users get acne more frequently. Moreover, acne outbreaks are worse when on meth.

Dry skin is also the source of the sores many people associate with meth use. Users frequently pick at these sores, leaving open wounds and nasty scabs on their skin. This can also cause deep wrinkles, which are made worse by dehydration. It also results in scars and scabs that take forever to heal, further aging users.

Meth also reduces your desire to eat and sleep. Therefore, users suffer unhealthy weight loss. This causes a sunken appearance. It can also hurt facial muscles to the point where users look 10-20 years older than they are.

The Faces of Meth campaign shows how meth destroys your face. However, one thing people focus on is how it affects teeth. Meth mouth happens because users don’t take care of themselves. The drug, and the way people use it, destroys the gums and teeth. This causes staining and rot. As a result, users have cracked, stained, and rotting teeth. It goes without saying that this makes it hard to look your best in a selfie!

Aging Effects of Heroin

Heroin is one of the fastest growing problems in America today. Many people turn to heroin as a replacement for prescription opioids. Heroin use causes many of the same things as meth. Users have dry skin and a sunken appearance.

Additionally, heroin users who use needles have skin scared with track marks and sores. These wounds become infected, causing abscesses. Moreover, heroin users don’t use good hygiene habits. Some even think that showering or bathing hurts their high. Therefore, users have dirty, rat-nest hair and smell awful.

Heroin causes weight loss. Ironically, it also causes cellulite to build up. Combined with the extreme weight loss, these cellulite deposits are extremely noticeable. As a result, heroin users look even older.

Aging Effects of Prescription Pain Medicine

The opiate epidemic has caused devastation across the country. Pain medicine addicts suffer from many of the same aging effects as heroin users. They have dry skin and don’t want to put energy into their appearance.

Opiate abusers frequently feel warm as part of the effects of the drug. This causes users to sweat much more. As a result, they often smell worse. They are also more likely to have dark sweat stains on their clothing.

Another effect of opiate abuse is bloodshot eyes and bags under the eyes. Using prescription painkillers can make you sleep more. However, you won’t look refreshed and alert. Instead, users look like they haven’t slept well in days. These effects can make you look much older than you are.

Aging Effects of Benzos

The focus on heroin and prescription painkillers overshadows another growing abuse problem: benzos. Doctors recommend these drugs for anxiety and panic attacks. However, people have started abusing them at an alarming rate. Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin are some of the most frequently abused drugs in this category.

Benzos affect users much like alcohol. They make users sleepy and hurt their coordination. As a result, abusers suffer frequent cuts, burns, and scrapes from accidents.  Additionally, users don’t pay as much attention to their appearance. As a result, they can be unshowered and unkempt.

Aging Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine affects the body much like meth does. They are both stimulants and dehydrate the body. Moreover, they both reduce the desire to eat and sleep. Therefore, people who regularly use coke can appear sunken and withered. They have dry, cracked skin and appear much older than they are.

Additionally, the most common way to use coke is by snorting it through the nose. This results in damage to the nose which can cause it to become misshapen or bent. Moreover, coke users experience frequent nosebleeds. It’s hard to look your best when you’re constantly fighting a bloody nose.

While many people who use cocaine lose weight, some people can also gain weight. This usually happens when people pair cocaine with booze. The effect is known as coke bloat. As a result, people can appear incredibly puffy and overweight. This makes users look much older and out of shape.

How to Tell if Someone is on Drugs by Looking at Them

Any of the things this article talks about can indicate that someone has a problem with drugs or alcohol. However, there are several things to keep in mind. First, people with drug problems don’t always look the same. Addiction comes in all shapes and sizes, so the fact that someone has dry skin doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an addict. Additionally, someone can be addicted without showing the physical signs this post highlights. This is especially true in the early stages of addiction.

As a result, there’s no way to tell if someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol by looking at them. However, you can use this information with other observations to spot the warning signs of addiction. People are very sensitive about their appearance. Therefore, you should be careful before questioning someone about drug and alcohol use based on how they look. However, getting someone the help they need might be worth a bruised ego.

Looking Better, Feeling Better: Fighting The Aging Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

There is some good news for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Users can undo some of the damage. The body is extremely strong and good at what it does. Users that quit drugs and alcohol can reverse some of the damage.

Some of the reversal comes from having the energy and desire to care about your appearance. Additionally, as the body heals it looks better along with feeling better. Users who quit are better able to make sure their bodies get the right amounts of food and water. Additionally, recovering addicts are more likely to exercise. This builds muscle and reduces weight gain. It is also an effective way to fight bloat.

Look Your Best, Feel Your Best

Drug and alcohol abuse devastates families and individuals. Understanding the way that addict affects your appearance is an important step to living an addiction-free life. Our society places a huge focus on appearances. The impact of addiction can hurt your appearance, which can make other parts of your life even more difficult.

Use the information in this post to help you get or stay clean. You can also use the information to help spot someone who might be fighting their own battle with addiction. There are many great reasons to avoid drugs and alcohol. However, looking older and feeling worse rank near the top. You should ask yourself, “is this worth sacrificing my looks?” Hopefully, the information in this post will allow you to answer with an emphatic “NO!”.  

Wrinkles, Lines, and Damage: Substance Abuse Effects on Aging
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By | 2018-07-11T01:37:55+00:00 February 3rd, 2018|

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Northpoint Recovery
Northpoint Recovery is the premier drug and alcohol rehab, detox, and treatment facility in the Northwestern United States.

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