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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Decreased cranium circumference

06/11/2008

Question:

I started using snorting cocaine when i was 15. I snorted so much that my nose would always bleed. I would be up for days. When that didnt work i went to smoking it. The longest ive stayed up with no sleep is 9 days. At age 23, I started shooting it along with Heroin. The size of my head was small but not abnormally small. It seems like it has gotten smaller threw the years. I`m 35 now and got clean when I was 26. I`m very self consious of the size of my head. I dont wear my hair up, I cant wear hats because nothing fits me, I dont live life because of it and it`s making me suicidal. Did cocaine have something to do with it? What can i do to get my head back to the size it was before? Signed Depressed Young Woman

Answer:

Hello,

To my knowledge, your head size would not shrink at that age. Your brain continues developing until the mid 20's so that cognition and emotional maturity can lag way behind in a chronic substance abuser/addict.

You may want to see a neurologist. There are problems babies and young children have that result in microcephaly (small heads) because the skull sutures close early. There are also maternal infections like Rubella, Cytomeglovirus, etc. that pregnant moms may get and the infection causes a smaller than normal head.

To my knowledge there is no association with substance use in late teenage years and adulthood that would cause this. Take care and see someone soon for your depression also.

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University