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Drugs & Health Blog

Meth Mouth and Crank Bugs: Meth-a-morphosis

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Few SBB posts have gotten as many grossed-out reactions from readers as this one from January 2010—check out what meth does to your body and let us know in comments what you think.

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 chewing 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 U.S. 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 indepth 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.


Powerful article. Thank you NIDA for all that you do. We are #grateful to be able to #help addicts & alcoholics. We provide a free treatment finder website. Find treatment options in your area please LIKE us on Facebook: Help us help others!!!
Link does not work. THAT is more disturbing than the photos. Do you not check your links? Take a look at these pictures from the U.S. Department of Justice—but beware, they are disturbing!

@jack I wonder why the link did not work for you; it worked for me upon checking it. You can find the pictures at this link:

People who are suffering with meth mouth will experience anxiety, dizziness, confusion, racing heart, sweating, skin issues and some problems in social life. Drinking of plenty of water and eating a healthy and balanced diet. Consult your doctor immediately
What this does to your body is truly terrifying.
why do people do this
Response to why do people do this. It's called addiction. There thinking of the high or the moment not of consequences. Generally a user uses to escape reality because they don't know how or want to cope with something horrific or devastating that's happened to them in there life. It doesn't happen over night and most people don't think it will happen to them.

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