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Detection-Why drugs users are skinny and is it always true?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by rainbowguard, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. rainbowguard

    rainbowguard Senior Contributor

    One of the indications that one of your loved ones or family members might be an addict is the sudden loss in weight. This is very important because this can help us detect our loved ones' addiction. However, I am wondering if it is always true or is it drug specific? If it was the later, what kind of drugs do not have weight loss as one of its symptoms? Why do drugs cause weight loss anyway (biologically)?
  2. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    I think it does depend on the type of drugs as well as the person. Everyone's metabolism is different. There are overweight addicts just like there are skinny ones. I think it's a stereotype based on certain types of drugs. The heroin/crack addict you see on TV is dirty, skinny, etc. Not every single one will look like that.

    Rapid weight loss may in fact be a sign of abuse with certain drugs, but it isn't necessarily the "main" thing with every addiction.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  3. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Meth was the drug of choice with my family members. I can testify right now they got skinny like a stick. Meth kills your appetite and your body will lose dramatic weight. That and they high that you get, you will not sleep and constantly burn calories.
  4. purplepapaya

    purplepapaya Member

    I'm sure it's both drug-specific as well as somewhat dependent upon the person, their level of usage, their metabolism, etc. I recently watched a program that followed a severe heroin addict who was also obese. In my own circle of friends, I used to have a friend who was obese who then became a methamphetamine addict, and he drastically lost weight and it was very apparent in his body and sunken face that he was using meth. I think it's very common for meth users to be thin, but I'm not sure about other drugs. I think it varies more with the others.
  5. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    I agree that the drug use can contribute to weight loss but from my observance it tended to be more of the chemical type, not so much as alcohol or marijuana. My husband would drink a lot and it did not affect his weight but once he started on the crack cocaine the weight loss was very noticeable to me and very dramatic.
  6. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I agree. Drugs can cause you to lose weight but in a "very unhealthy" way. Probably one of the reasons addicts go from being plump to being skinny is that they are much too addicted to this substance, their brain couldn't function well and their desire to eat has already been destroyed. Addicts also tend to be in a lot of distress too which somehow reduces their appetite.
  7. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I spoke in a different thread about a customer of mine who had lost a considerable amount of weight and was looking very unhealthy. My question at the time was something like "if marijuana is so good, why do many look so bad?" At the time I got some criticism for assuming it had anything to do with the particular drug. Yet, the user himself admitted to me that he was going too hard on the drug which he strongly believes in weight loss aside. He was still honest enough to admit he was overindulging.

    Most who commented suggested it probably had nothing to do with the marijuana even though the user confirmed it did. From my observation, I have seen both sides of the coin. I have seen some get very, skinny and I know of one guy who smokes weed several times a day and he is rather plump. I suspect it has something to do with the drug in some cases and something to do with the genes in other cases.
  8. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I think it depends on several factors like the drugs, the body type and severity of addiction. Someone who is too much addicted will be skinny if he or she does not eat anymore just to consume drugs.
  9. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    The two people I know don't seem to change any appearance,I think they take Marijuana so they don't change any physical way can smell it though or the eyes will be like strange or drugged like. I reckon, it can be different for each person and also it can affect the mind and how the person thinks and acts. A person's appearance may or may not change and also, it can also depend on what you take or how you live as well.
  10. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Most drug addicts do seem to be skinny - the only exception I can think of are stoners - who can often get overweight from too much "munchies".
  11. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think it depends on the person, but in general it does serve as a good enough indicator whether or not to start being more observant. I don't think it's a good enough indicator to conclude anything though as some people remain fat even when they use substances like crack, like the mayor of Toronto.
  12. rubydust

    rubydust Member

    It depends on the type of drug they use. Stimulants like cocaine, meth, ecstasy, etc. are appetite suppressants, so someone abusing them simply won't feel like eating. Other drugs, especially marijuana, often improve users appetite. This is why stoners talk about the "munchies". The urge to eat is very strong.

    Another reason why a drug user may look skinny, is that they could be spending all their money on the drug, having nothing left to buy food.
  13. rainbowguard

    rainbowguard Senior Contributor

    Great observation. I never actually think about it but yes, I guess not having enough money to buy food can contribute to the cause why drug users are skinny. Besides suppressing appetite, I guess not having enough money is one of the indications that somebody is using drugs. So when they don't have enough money to take care of basic needs, it can be a suspicious thing as well.
  14. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    While weight loss is one of many signs of an addiction, I'd be very careful in jumping to conclusions JUST based on that fact alone.
    Weight loss can be put down to many factors in a persons life, stress, depression and anxiety are also known to trigger rapid weight loss so while it may be a factor to consider, I personally wouldn't read too much into a persons weight.
    Addicts come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.
    skellyt likes this.