Track Marks - A Sign of IV Drug Abuse
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By: Harmony Staff

Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Deja Gilbert, PhD, LMHC, LPC

Updated on 03/28/2022

If you suspect that someone you know is abusing IV drugs, but you aren’t sure, you should look for track marks. These are tell-tale signs of drug abuse. People who inject drugs into their bodies usually have a very tough time overcoming their addiction. Track marks are one key indicator of IV drug abuse.

They feel ashamed about using IV drugs or the addiction has such a grip on their life, they continue relapsing each time they try to get clean. If you notice track marks, you and others can try to help that person to see that treatment is necessary. If this person is ready to get help, have them reach out to our Harmony Oaks Recovery team today.

What do track marks mean?

Have you noticed track marks on your loved one’s or friend’s arms, hands, toes, legs or other areas of their body? If so, it is crucial to know that track marks are a sign that someone is using IV needles to shoot up drugs.

How do I recognize track marks?

Are you unsure of what track marks look like? If so, it is important to learn how to identify these marks on people you love and care about. That way, if you do find out the person is abusing IV drugs, you can do everything in your power to get them the help they need.

Track marks are scars or pinpoint spots, sometimes even sores or scratches, on the body. Generally, these are found on the non-dominant arm, but they can be in other areas such as the leg, hand, dominant arm, neck or other parts of the body. You may notice small scabs, holes or bruises on their body, too.

The exact look of the track marks can vary based on:

  • Which size needle is being used
  • Which drugs are being injected into the body
  • How often the drugs are being injected
  • Sensitivity of the skin
  • When drugs were last used
  • Underlying health disorders

If your friend or loved one has been abusing IV drugs for a significant amount of time, their skin may have cracks or inflammation, discharging something, or show infection, as well. Skin infections are quite common in people who shoot up drugs.

How do I recognize a needle puncture?

The needle punctures are the same thing as track marks mentioned above. It is just another name for the marks that are left on the skin when someone is shooting up drugs.

How do veins repair after IV?

The more that a person abuses IV drugs, the more damage it is doing to their veins. If they are using larger size or dirty needles, those can cause more damage to the veins than smaller, cleaner needles, too. With this being said, for some people, when they quit using drugs, their veins may be able to heal. The exact way to heal the veins depends on the extent of the damage and the type of drug that in use in the first place.

You may be wondering – Can veins heal naturally? In some ways, yes, veins that have damage by IV drug abuse can heal naturally. However, there isn’t a guarantee that this will happen. There are a number of complications that can make it is impossible for the veins to heal themselves.

If you want to know how to heal veins from IV drug use, in most cases, this happens through angiogenesis. It is a process in which the body makes new veins rather than healing the old ones. There are certain ways that you can speed up this process including:

  • Keeping warm
  • Wearing compression sleeves or stockings
  • Squeezing soft objects on the muscles and arteries
  • Exercising regularly to improve overall circulation
  • Taking vitamins such as flavonoids and folic acid

If you do these things, it could help your veins to heal more naturally and back to better functioning, too. If you want to know more about this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Harmony Oaks Recovery center team today.

What are the types of IV drug use vein damage?

Any time someone uses IV drugs it can damage their veins. It also leaves them more prone to infections at the spot of infection and to blood infections. There are also many different ways that the veins can receive damage, as well, such as:

  • Blown veins
  • Collapsed veins
  • Scarred veins

It can be difficult for all these types of damage to heal. However, our Harmony Oaks Recovery team will do our best to help ensure your body gets the best healing opportunities possible.

How long does it take a vein to heal?

If you look at track marks pictures at various stages, you will notice it can take some time before the veins begin to heal. Research shows that the body is resilient and some types of vein damage can heal naturally over time. If someone just has a blown vein, it will generally heal in between 10 and 12 days. However, if someone has a vein with moderate to severe damage, it could be several months or even years before it heals. Even then, the veins may not fully heal.

Unfortunately, there are many complications that can happen when someone chronically shoots up drugs into their veins. The more someone abuses these drugs, the less likely it will be that these veins can be repaired. In addition, once someone becomes addicted to IV drug use, they are likely going to be injecting the drugs multiple times every day. Sometimes, they puncture the same vein over and over again, maybe even to the point where it can’t be salvaged in the future.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to IV drug use, don’t keep waiting for things to just get better on their own. Recovering from addiction takes courage, time and dedication – all of which we know you have or can get with help from our Harmony Oaks Recovery team.

Can I see pictures of track marks?

What do track marks look like? Do you want to know more about heroin track marks or other track mark images? Look over these pictures of track marks today. Do you, if you have questions about seeing them in your loved one of friend? We want to hear from you. We can talk to you about how to best handle the situation and what our team can do to help them, as well. If you have been injecting IV drugs into your body, our team can help you to get clean starting today.

Get IV Drug Addiction Treatment Today

Now that you know more about how to look for IV drug abuse track marks and what they look like, you can spot them in your loved ones or friends if they abuse these drugs. If you are the one abusing IV drugs, we want you to know you aren’t alone. Our Harmony Oaks Recovery team has helped many people overcome this type of addiction. We want to help you, your loved ones and your friends (whoever is using these drugs) to do the same.

Contact us today to get IV drug addiction treatment

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