Methamphetamine is a serious and dangerous drug. More commonly called meth, it is one of the top 10 most addictive drugs and causes long-lasting physical and mental health side effects. Meth use among women has been rising, and the consequences are serious. Young women, pregnant women and even middle-aged women are using this harmful drug.
Why Are More Women Using Meth?
Why the rate of meth use in women has been rising is uncertain, but there are suggestions from experts. One of these is the fact that women are under more pressure these days than ever before. They are expected to raise a family, take care of the home, have a successful marriage and hold down a job. This pressure is often cited as a reason why more women are drinking to excess. It could also help to explain meth use, but there is one other important factor. Among all the other pressures of modern womanhood is the pressure to be thin. Among its many side effects, meth causes weight loss. Trying to lose weight this way is both dangerous and effective. People who abuse methamphetamine are seeking a type of euphoria. Methamphetamine users report a quick and intense high that lasts longer than some of the other drugs. Like heroin addiction, methamphetamine addiction centers around the feel-good chemical dopamine. Meth also works on the brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin. The boost in pleasure levels by meth is accompanied by profound changes in the brain’s chemical makeup. If these changes occur repeatedly over time, the brain starts viewing them as necessary. It begins to expect them on a regular basis. Such a shift in brain orientation signals the development of a physical dependence on meth. Doctors classify methamphetamine addiction as one form of a more broadly inclusive condition called stimulant use disorder. Similar to the stimulant crack cocaine, methamphetamine makes drastic changes in normal brain chemistry. For this reason, people who abuse methamphetamine have a strong chance of developing the symptoms of addiction. What methamphetamine abusers may not realize is that meth wreaks havoc on their overall health and physical appearance.
Symptoms of Meth Use in Women
If you suspect a woman in your life of abusing this drug, you should know what the signs of meth use in women are. Signs that someone is high on meth include hyperactivity, excessive talking and energy, euphoria, a decreased appetite and faster breathing. Some people can hide these symptoms of being high or blame them on something else, but there are other signs to look for in women using meth:
- Hair loss. With prolonged use, meth can cause a woman to start losing her hair. This happens because the drug makes her lose her appetite and she is likely to become malnourished and undernourished.
- Crawling sensation on the skin. Complaints of crawling skin are indicative of meth use. Users often feel like bugs are crawling on them.
- Skin sores. As a result of the crawling sensation and for other reasons, meth users pick at their skin compulsively. This leads to sores and infections.
- Tooth decay. Decaying teeth is another sign of meth use. This is often called meth mouth.
The effects of meth use on women are both unpleasant and serious. Many of the health problems caused by meth can be severe. They can also be long-lasting. Women who use meth regularly are damaging their bodies and their brains for the long term.
How Addiction Affects the Family
Not only are there serious side effects and long-lasting symptoms of meth use, women who abuse this drug are also likely to become addicted. Addiction is a terrible disease and it doesn’t just affect the addict. Women who are mothers and meth addicts put their families in a bad position. They may neglect or abuse their children or spouse and they may end up in a position in which they are unable to work and provide for the family.
How Is Meth Abused?
A very powerful narcotic and thus habit forming, meth is abused by:
- Swallowing meth in pill form
- Sniffing meth in powder form
- Injecting meth intravenously or intra-muscularly
- Smoking meth
Methamphetamine is known on the street as:
- Crystal/Crystal Meth
Why Is Meth Addictive?
Meth works by accelerating central nervous system activity. It boosts levels of brain chemicals responsible for producing euphoria. The synthetic drug increases dopamine and adrenaline production. It also blocks dopamine transporter (DAT). This is a protein which binds to excess dopamine and stores it for future use. This process leaves large amounts of dopamine and adrenaline floating around the central nervous system. That’s what produces the dramatic euphoric effects of meth. Methamphetamine is frequently abused because of these feelings of euphoria and the energy it creates. Methamphetamine addiction sets in when people become physically dependent on methamphetamine. They begin to experience a number of dysfunctional symptoms, including:
- Strong drug cravings when not taking meth
- Meth withdrawal when use falls below accustomed levels
- Lack of control over meth intake
- Tolerance to meth’s effects from abusing the drug
- Emphasis on methamphetamine-related activities as a daily priority
Meth is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. Women are using it more than ever to cope with stress and pressure and to lose weight. The consequences are far-reaching and impact both women and their families. If you are a meth user, or you know a woman using meth, it’s time to get help before it’s too late.