Learn about Meth Mites, or the resulting sores, scratches, scabs, and scars found in meth users who feel these imaginary mites on or beneath their skin.
Formication and Methamphetamine Use
Methamphetamine users often have sores on their bodies that are the result of their drug use. Meth mites, crank sores, speed bumps or bugs are common symptoms experienced by chronic methamphetamine users. Medically known as formication, this condition occurs due to the severe dehydration and chemical imbalance the drug has caused in their body. A user will have sensory and visual hallucinations of bugs crawling on or inside of them. They will begin scratching and picking at their skin to get rid of the bugs. This action may turn into a repeated destructive act that can involve people using scissors, sticks, knives and blades to get rid of these bugs.
Risk of bacterial infections and contracting other diseases like hepatitis or HIV are increased when a person has meth mites. They will expose their body to a vast range of serious infections such as golden staph. If a sore becomes infected, the site will become inflamed, swollen, sore and pus-filled. At this point, antibacterial drugs are required to treat it. Left untreated, these sores can lead to abscesses, ulcers or septicemia.
What Are Meth Mites?
Methamphetamine is made from a dangerous and toxic concoction of chemicals. When combined, they give a user an intense rush followed by an increase in energy, libido and stamina. Methamphetamines are often manufactured in clandestine laboratories with a range of substances including over-the-counter drugs and household chemicals. Kerosene, paint thinner, rubbing alcohol, battery acid, ammonia and fertilizers are some of the chemicals used throughout the process. These chemicals can cause toxic reactions in the body and many other serious side effects.
Methamphetamines are known to cause a rise in body temperature and increased sweating. The sweat that is produced contains an enzyme that increases blood flow to the skin. Additionally, the excess substance in the body is expelled through normal processes such urine and through the skin. When the sweat evaporates, it is acidic from the enzyme. This acidic sweat removes the protective oils which coat the skin. This combined with dehydration cause a crawling sensation on the nerve endings on the skin, leading users to believe that bugs are crawling on them.
When a user begins to feel this crawling sensation, they will start to consciously and subconsciously pick at their skin. The drug is known to cause people to perform meaningless, repeated acts as seen in the obsessive picking of the skin. Some people will cut and dig at their skin, causing horrible sores and open wounds that the body has trouble healing.
Meth Mites Are a Psychosis
Psychosis induced by stimulants typically occurs when a person has been binging or taking the substance over an extended time. Methamphetamine is one of the most common drugs to induce this type of condition. People who are experiencing a stimulant psychosis lose contact with reality and may become fixated on a particular place or action. They may perform repetitive, socially meaningless, non-goal-directed acts such as sorting rubbish, pacing or searching for things. People who are experiencing a methamphetamine psychosis are been known to pull their hair, teeth and nails out as a response to delusions they are experiencing. They may become violent towards others or begin to scratch and pick holes in their bodies to remove imaginary bugs.
Typically, people who are experiencing these hallucinations and delusions will stop having them once they have stopped using the drug. They may have some remnants of paranoia for some time and it may also be felt every time they take the drug again. If a person has been on a drug binge for many days without sleep, the psychosis will usually stop after the person has slept. In some cases, medical intervention is required and a person could be prescribed a fast acting anti-psychotic drug such as Quetiapine.
Methamphetamine Psychosis is a Waking Nightmare
A user experiencing the horror of meth mites is in a simultaneous state of exhaustion and stimulation . They are unable to differentiate between what is real and what is a hallucination. Some people who have seen others experience the psychosis of meth mites do not believe that they will undergo a similar experience. However, they may soon find themselves picking and scratching at imaginary bugs. Some users also believe that the drug is infected with a virus or bacteria that has entered their body when they have taken it and become irrational and paranoid. Sadly, this paranoid delusion does not make them stop taking the drug and seek help for their problems.
Friends and family who see their loved one going through the horrors associated with methamphetamine use will find this disturbing and destructive side effect very difficult to deal with. In most cases, the user can overcome the hallucinations by hydrating and getting rest. If there are serious health issues associated with the bugs, medical attention should be sought.