The toll that chemical dependency takes on our internal body eventually begins to show in our physical appearance especially when we drink or use during our teen years. In fact, the effects of drug and alcohol dependency on appearance range from skin and dental problems to eating disorders and physical scars from dependency-induced behaviors. By acknowledging the effects of dependency on our outward appearance, we can better recognize chemical dependency and seek treatment and healing, to repair damage we've incurred and promote health that shows, both inside and out.
Effects of Drug and Alcohol Dependency on Appearance
From smoking and drinking to hard drug use, chemical dependency can quickly damage physical attractiveness as it takes a toll on the body. Here are just a few of the effects of drug and alcohol dependency on physical appearance.
Nicotine dependency can quickly ruin your natural beauty. The toxic chemicals contained in tobacco smoke poison cells and strip the body of oxygen and nutrients, interfering with cellular function. As the largest organ of the body, the skin is particularly affected by smoking. Skin takes on a yellowish or gray hue and loses it healthy glow the longer someone smokes. Wrinkles appear sooner and are more pronounced in those who smoke. The depletion of Vitamin C caused by tobacco smoke reduces the body's production of collagen, the substance that preservers the elasticity in the skin. Additionally, smoking causes repetitive physical acts, such as the puckering of lips or squinting to avoid smoke in the eyes, which increases wrinkling.
Methamphetamines destroy your appearance in two ways by causing biochemical changes and behaviors that affect your teeth and skin. The toxins in meth decrease circulation, which, reducing the body tissue's ability to regenerate demonstrated by pronounced acne and increased healing time required for wounds. One of the most common conditions among methamphetamine dependent individuals is “'meth mouth” rapid and radical destruction of the teeth. This is caused by neglecting oral hygiene, chronic grinding of teeth, and dry mouth that occur while one is on a meth binge. Additionally, many meth users compulsively scratch and pick at their skin creating wounds that do not heal.
Though not everyone who smokes marijuana gains weight, many marijuana dependent individuals often show a marked weight gain. The THC in marijuana increases appetites and results in the uncontrolled eating euphemistically referred to as the “munchies.” Furthermore, as marijuana use increases, there is often a decrease in physical activity resulting in increased weight.
One side effect of regular alcohol usage is weight gain due to sheer of number of calories in alcoholic beverages, as well as the lethargy frequently associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol also affects the circulatory system, causing thread veins on the face and the infamous bulbous “drinker's nose.” Alcohol dependent individuals often do not obtain proper nutrition, resulting in brittle nails and hair as well as gray, sallow-looking skin.