Illegal Drugs That Cause Hair Loss

illegal drugs that cause hair loss

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Many people associate hair loss with genetics and aging. Premature hair loss may be something that runs in a person’s family or, as they get older, they may notice that their hair begins to thin or even fall out entirely.

While genetics and aging are two of the more common causes of hair loss, another major cause of hair loss is drug abuse and addiction. Substance abuse not only damages physical and mental health but can also have detrimental effects on one’s hair and several drugs can specifically lead to hair loss as a result of extended use and abuse.

Keep reading to learn more about substance abuse and addiction and its effect on hair loss as well as how you can treat both your hair loss and subsequent substance addiction at the Jaywalker.

Illegal Drugs That Cause Hair Loss

Drug Abuse and Hair Loss

For the most part, we all know what substance abuse and addiction can do to both a person’s physical and mental health over time. Drug abuse, whether it be from illegal or legal drugs, can wreak havoc on the body and the brain, leading to the development of severe mental and physical ailments. One of those ailments can be hair loss.

The overall systemic damage that is caused by drug abuse can result in damage to your hair follicles, making it harder or even impossible for your body to naturally grow hair. This can lead to hair thinning and ultimately hair loss.

Structural Damage From Drugs

In addition to drug abuse disrupting your body’s ability to grow hair naturally, repeated drug abuse can also cause structural damage to the hair. Repeated use and abuse of illicit substances can cause inflammation, constriction of blood vessels, and it can also disrupt the natural growth cycle of hair. This disruption leads to premature shedding and the inability of new hair to grow properly.

Hair Loss From Mental Health

Hair loss isn’t just the result of genetics, old age, or substance abuse. Hair loss can also be caused by poor mental health. While many of these mental health issues are the result of drug abuse, that is not always the case. In some instances, drug abuse and addiction are the unintended consequence of self-medicating to help address a mental health issue.

Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and chronic stress can cause hair loss through physiological and hormonal changes in the body.

What Drugs Can Make Your Hair Fall Out?

While drug abuse as a whole can increase your risk of hair loss, certain substances of abuse have a higher rate of hair loss associated with them than others.

Below are some of the most common substances that when abused can result in hair loss.

Meth Addiction and Hair Loss

Commonly known as meth, methamphetamine can cause hair loss through many of the methods we touched on above, including harming the body’s blood vessels and nutrient delivery systems.

Additionally, a fairly common side effect of meth addiction is tactile hallucinations. Tactile hallucinations cause a person to feel sensations that aren’t there, such as bugs crawling on your skin. Side effects of tactile hallucinations can be hair pulling and skin picking, which can cause hair loss.

Marijuana Addiction and Hair Loss

While marijuana might not be looked at as a substance of abuse by some, even those that don’t suffer from marijuana abuse and addiction run the risk of hair loss as a result of regular, prolonged use.

This is due in large part to the effect that marijuana has on the endocrine system as well as hormone levels. The body needs a proper balance when it comes to hormones and anything that negatively alters that balance can lead to hair loss among other health issues.

Cocaine Addiction and Hair Loss

Cocaine abuse can cause hair loss as a result of blood vessel constriction and reduced blood flow to the hair follicles. Additionally, the lifestyle associated with cocaine addiction, including poor nutrition and hygiene as well as changes in sleep patterns can further exacerbate hair loss.

Heroin Addiction and Hair Loss

Heroin abuse impacts the body’s hormonal balance and can lead to hair loss. Nutritional deficiencies resulting from a poor diet, common among heroin users, can also contribute to hair thinning.

How Do You Reverse Drug-Induced Hair Loss?

While reversing drug-induced hair loss is possible, it takes time and there isn’t a guarantee that all the hair you lost will grow back. The most effective ways to reverse drug-induced hair loss include:

  • Low-Level Laser Therapy
  • Nutrition
  • Stress Reduction
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Addiction treatment

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive hair loss treatment that utilizes cold laser light to regenerate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.

LLLT treatment consists of wearing a laser cap a few times a week for roughly 30 minutes at a time. Results typically begin to show within 6-9 months.


A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, can support hair growth and improve its overall health.

Some of the best foods for hair growth include:

  • Seeds – High in vitamin E and omega 3 acids, both of which promote hair growth
  • Fatty fish (ie mackerel, herring, salmon, etc) – High in omega 3 acids, protein, vitamins D3 and B, and Selenium, all of which keep hair healthy and strong
  • Nuts – Rich in vital nutrients and vitamins that promote hair regrowth including zinc, fatty acids, and B vitamins
  • Berries – Loaded with vitamins and minerals that protect hair follicles from getting damaged
  • Eggs – High in both protein and biotin which are both crucial to hair growth
  • Avocados – Great source of healthy fats as well as Vitamin E, both of which help prevent oxidative stress that can lead to hair loss
  • Legumes/Beans – Vital source of, plant-based proteins, zinc, iron, and biotin, all of which support healthy hair growth
  • Spinach – Loaded with nutrients such as folate, iron, and Vitamins A and C, all of which help regrow hair after drug abuse
  • Sweet potatoes – Good source of Vitamin A which affects the production of sebum
  • Oysters – One of the best sources of zinc available. Zinc helps repair and regrow hair
  • Sweet peppers – Great source of vitamin C (one sweet yellow pepper has up to 456% of your daily vitamin C). Vitamin C helps with hair growth

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthier lifestyle can not only improve your overall physical and mental health, but it can also help revere drug-induced hair loss. Getting rest, moving your body, and eating nutritious foods are all essential treatments for hair growth.

For your body to be able to grow hair it needs to be performing at its best and for it to be performing at its best you need to be living a healthy lifestyle.

Stress Management

Since stress is a common factor in both drug abuse and hair loss, learning effective stress management techniques can be beneficial. Engaging in activities such as meditation, yoga, and therapy can help reduce stress levels and promote hair regrowth.

Addiction Treatment

Seeking professional help for addiction and entering into an addiction treatment program, such as the one at Jaywalker, is the most effective way to heal both physically and mentally and get on the right path to living a healthier life.

Most addiction treatment programs incorporate the above mentioned techniques, including lifestyle changes, nutrition, stress management, and therapy.

Receive Treatment For Drugs That Cause Hair Loss at Jaywalker

At Jaywalker, we understand the unintended consequences of drug abuse and addiction such as hair loss. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment options for men looking to get sober and get their life back on track. We treat a variety of substance abuse and mental health issues including:

Whether you are someone who has attempted other forms of recovery without success, or you are looking to begin your sobriety journey for the first time, you may be the perfect candidate for Jaywalker.

As long as you are a male, active and healthy enough to participate in various mountain wilderness activities, willing and able to commit to a minimum of 90 days, and have already undergone medical detox, then you are eligible to be a Jaywalker.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and addiction and fits the above criteria, contact us today.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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