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Drugs & Health Blog

Meth Mouth and Crank Bugs: Meth-a-morphosis

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Sara Bellum

The SBB has already told you about some of the nasty effects that methamphetamine can have on the body—remember that post about how scavengers won’t even eat the dead bodies of meth users?

Not only can meth mess up your body’s chemical structure and even cause problems with your heart and lungs, it also changes your appearance and behavior. Soon, meth users might not even look or act like themselves.

Bad news for teeth and skin. Ever heard of “meth mouth?” It isn’t pretty. Meth reduces the amount of protective saliva around the teeth. People who use the drug also tend to drink a lot of sugary soda, neglect personal hygiene, grind their teeth, and clench their jaws. The teeth of meth users can eventually fall out-even when doing something as normal as eating a sandwich. As if that’s not bad enough, meth can also cause skin problems-and we’re not just talking about regular zits.

Take a look at these pictures from the Department of Justice—but beware, they are disturbing!

Meth users’ skin can start to look like this because they frequently hallucinate—or strongly imagine—that they’ve got insects creeping on top of or underneath their skin. The person will pick or scratch, trying to get rid of the imaginary “crank bugs.” Soon, the face and arms are covered with open sores that could get infected.

No peace of mind. In addition to the “crank bug” hallucinations, long-term meth use leads to problems such as irritability, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, confusion, aggressive feelings, violent rages, and depression.

Users may become psychotic and experience paranoia, mood disturbances, and delusions. The paranoia may even make the person think about killing themselves or someone else.

For more information about how methamphetamine could harm your body and mind, read more in-depth information on NIDA DrugFacts.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


how disturbing. Not sure how anyone could consider doing meth after seeing those images.

idk whats not to get , these people put chemical in , with no water salt or vitamins to push the sweat thru there skin, and anyone who isnt sleepin for 5days in a row multiple times with a day between is gonna go crazy, hopeiquiy
Meth mouth and crank bugs are not true and scare tactics used to deter use by young people They do exist but not from the drug ,and more so to blame is people who are already lazy and have bad hygiene habits.The bugs feeling are the same as having really dry skin. Picking youre face is another one ,done by those with acne who cant keep out of the mirrorr and popping zits with dirty hands. I HAVE used for 25 years. TRUST me you don't want to use meth ever because you wl get arrested and be unable to sleep.STAY AWAY FROM, METH..
Meth mouth is most definitely real I have used for 5 years. I don't have that problem because good hygeine but people who use regularly and cook/make dope tend to have teeth fall out. I've seen it happen plenty of times.
That's because they go for days without brushing your teeth or taking care of them like you.
meth mites and mouth are as true as it gets. 2 days ago I smoke a bad batch and my body is going crazy. I haven't being able to sleep right for over 48 and counting hours. I still sweating this thing and I just hope the damage isn't permanent cus I need to sleep and the itch won't let me. I am truly panicking right now. I feel I want to cry. I hope my body comes through with this thing and at least gets it under control. I am never touching drugs ever again

Sorry you are going through this. If you want to talk to somebody, SAMHSA runs a crisis line that answers calls 24-7 to help people work through their problems. They're a really good resource, and you can reach them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or If you want to get treatment for addiction, you can visit or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find a program near you.

Thats good that u will never touch drugs again...Easy to say..Sorry u r having a terrible reaction. .dont know what people put in makes ya help.
Sorry to say but my boy is using meth. He believes bugs are in his body digging excessively
The Bug feeling is 4 real dude. Betta talk about somethng uve experienced...
Actually it is true.. My mom has been feeling bugs for a while now.. She believes they are in her body and everywhere around her.. Now we find out she's got meth in her system.. Its a real thing
Yes, they are true and your a fool if you think not.
Your delusional
A lot of people dont research the negative effects of drugs until they go through with it. Just to clarify, it feels worse than it sounds!

This is Really Gross, If People Are Smart And Know About meth And How The "Crank Bugs" Then Why Dont they just not let it get to them because they should know better

crystal meth controls the brain and how they think. they cant just "not let it get to them"
I am surprised that everyone still says that the "Crank Bugs" that meth users experience are hallucinations. There is a very real physical thing happening to them which is causing the intense itching. To say they are imagining it is just naïve. Many things can happen to the physical body that may be only determined by a microscopic analysis. When micro capillaries near the surface of the skin dilate unexpectedly or burst, it is very itchy and feels like being bitten by a bug. If you look at where it itches, you can see nothing to cause it. Another very possible cause (in my opinion) is that the meth is causing a die-off of parasites in the user's body that is causing intense, unrelenting itch. Doctors who specialize in this field say that most first world humans have numerous undiagnosed intestinal and blood borne parasites that are rarely uncovered unless blood and stool exams are done. When known anti-parasitic medicines or herbs are taken, the human host will experience a number of symptoms when the parasites are being killed. Google "Herxheimer Reaction". If scavenging animals want nothing to do with a dead meth-poisoned body, it may be that any dormant or active human body parasites are being poisoned, too. If the meth is causing a blood-borne parasite die-off, the microscopic debris can exit through the skin causing intense itching. If intestinal parasites are being attacked by the meth, they give off distress chemicals that flood the system of the host. One of these symptoms is extreme skin itching that is intense and cannot be relieved by normal means. Asking the miserable addicts to just "not let it get to them" is not even reasonable. Could you say this to someone covered in poison ivy or 100 large mosquito bites? I think not. Another possible cause for the itching is scabies, which can be found in less than hygienic conditions. Just because you can't see it with your naked eye, doesn't mean there isn't an actual cause for this.
I've experienced the nightmare of bird mite infestations more than once. I once lived by a duckpond and got them on my legs every time I walked outside, and later on, I picked up a baby bird that fell out of a tree and got them on me again. I also had some kind of scabies-like or mange-like mite on my cats many times. They get into the laundry too, and that was a problem for me because in the past, I didn't do the laundry very often, but I absolutely had to wash the laundry all the time after I got the mites. There are other people on the internet writing about bird mite infestations. They are an unimaginable nightmare to anyone who hasn't experienced it. Some kind of itch mite also lives on public seats, usually seats covered in fabric which cannot be washed, wiped, or removed - I get them badly every time I go to the movie theater, and I get them from sitting on toilet seats. As long as you can keep your laundry clean, and wash your bed blankets a lot, and cover your mattress with a plastic mattress cover, AND cover your car seats, and on and on and on... all of which is hugely expensive and takes a lot of time and effort... then the infestation will be reduced and become tolerable. I imagine a person surviving the chronic poisoning of meth use would not be able to do all those things. Plus, when you scratch these mites, it leaves permanent scars, and I am not a meth user - although I came to this page while looking to see if anyone else on the internet had ever written about "ephedra contamination," which I also experienced - I had to throw away all my belongings after merely touching the SEEDS of the ephedra plant, which I had intended to grow inside my apartment years ago, and the toxic oils of the plant go through your skin, causing all the horrible side effects of ephedra, such as permanent insomnia, absolute insomnia which will never, ever stop unless you wash all the ephedra contamination off of your body. I could not buy anything expensive, and still to this day I keep all my belongings in cardboard boxes and plastic bags, and have very few belongings. The ephedra ruined my life. So I imagine that someone living with meth use, meth contamination, and bird mites WOULD indeed have huge, unhealed wounds all over their skin, and it's NOT a hallucination.
Bed bugs and scabies are REAL.....and can be in a bad batch.....nice tactics......dont do drugs
It is the same as itch scratch syndrome. Your high you scratch it gets dry and itchy again you scratch more it becomes dryer and raw or scratched open... healing skin itches more so you scratch and start over.
its rare to think your seeing anything without 5days up & typically hearing things comes first . the drug makes u sweat & able to sweat without feeling or seein ur own sweat, this witha cold temp an bad hygiene creates a film on the skin made of chemicals, pops and sugar products not eatin anything but small foods now drys the mouth an digestive system , dry teeth rub an spread bacteria that thrive when not consuming water & food (due to lack of saliva produced for lack)
If you were ever addicted to something, you would not question addiction so lightly. Once addicted, your addicted brain thinks for you and all the brain knows (once addicted) is it needs more drugs/alcohol/prescription meds as well. So do your homework on addiction of all kinds before you ask that question again

Say if i knew about crank bugs and then later on i used Meth... would i still have the effect of seeing the crank bugs..????
Thanks:) !

@Abs123--hmmm, interesting question. I really don't know what causes the hallucinations or if you can psyche them out...but, the scary part is with these hallucinations, people really think they're real! So, my point would be since we know about crank bugs and all of the other things that could happen with meth, who would anyone even want to try it?

No, I know from experience..unfortunately, n my is a's frikin but I don't pick, I just rub my eyes till their raw..
yep it is the same
I'm a mother who never knew what meth was I'm only on here trying to see why I never knew the sign of my son being addicted to this drug its to late now I lost him 3 weeks ago nothing in this world could ever hurt me the this has my heart is broken
Iam sorry for your lost !! Will keep you in prayer !!
Sorry to hear of your loss but dont take on the guilt of not knowing. Addicts can often be the best con artists and not necessarily saying your son was. What i am saying is many addicts are extremely good at hiding their addiction. I will prey that you have more peace in your life.
Hi there- I am also a mother to a child who is no longer with me in this physical life...not from the same cause but I can relate to your pain and know how alone it can be to loose our babies. I am not being inaccurate in assuming that your son lost his life not just his spirit/self/mind right? Either loss is devastating, which can go unsaid , no doubt. I just want to clarify as I am trying to learn more about this disease so I may save a loved one from peril....however I can be of service...
So sorry!
well but of course
I'm glad someone is brave enough today the truth .yes there are meth Biggs fr the poison ,but there are a lot of mites on birds ,mice and others .aost 70%of Americans are infected with one kind or another .our gov and cdc know it and are lying .knowing the truth would cause mass hysteria!
I saw them but I told myself that they're not real and that I needed to keep cleaning.
Yes, you absolutely could have the effect of "seeing" the crank bug. I knew of the crank bugs before I ever used meth, and yet I ended up experiencing and becoming convinced that there were parasites in my skin. I could see them actually see them moving. Don't use meth

whoa whoa whoa whoa my teeth aint gonna look like that,,,

Aughh thats gross people should never take or abuse drugs in the first place

ewww thats super creepy im gonna have nightmares!

that is just gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! people need to STOP DOING DRUGS!!!!! AND ABUSEING THEM!!!!

you guys are worng about it it is the best drug ever

heck yes brother
yep i totally agree with you

they are very distrurbing. i woul dnever do it.

this is the truth im tellin u and its nasty and i dont see why people even consider using it its stupid omg WAT IS OUR WOLD COMING TO!!!!!(:

who would ever do such a thing?


methbaby wat are u talking about meth can kill u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meth is the method in which you consume a particular substance

dont do this ppl~~


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