Methamphetamine is a highly addictive illicit drug also known on the street as meth, ice, crystal meth, crank, and other slang terms. Meth is made in makeshift labs using toxic chemicals and cough medicines.
Meth use among women has many of the same bodily effects as it does on men, including an intense euphoric high, decreased inhibitions, as well as physical and mental dependence.
While most people who abuse meth will likely experience effects such as weight loss, tooth decay, and other negative issues, it can also cause unique problems in the female body.
Effects Of Meth On The Female Body
When someone uses meth, dopamine levels in the brain increase substantially creating an intense euphoric high. Ongoing meth use may affect many aspects of the female brain and central nervous system.
Changes To Gray Matter
Gray matter is the neural tissue of the brain that contains nerve fibers and has a brownish-gray color.
Gray matter is also where “processing” in the brain is completed for memory, emotions, decision making, and self-control.
Women who use meth often experience a deterioration of gray matter in their brains at a higher rate than men do.
This causes an array of negative consequences for her and any children she may have in the future.
Meth use in young females may cause permanent brain damage due to the way meth interferes with brain development. These effects can alter the cognitive, emotional, and sexual life of the woman using meth.
Neuroplasticity refers to how the brain reorganizes synaptic connections, particularly in response to learning or following an injury.
Women who abuse meth will likely experience decreased neuroplasticity. This means they will have a harder time with memorization, learning, motor skills, and more.
With decreased gray matter and neuroplasticity also come drastic changes in mood.
Women who use meth will oftentimes develop symptoms of depression, meth-related psychosis, and other mental health issues.
Factors That Influence The Effects Of Meth On Women
There are several factors that may contribute to the amount of damage the female body endures due to meth abuse.
Some of these factors include:
- length of time using meth
- amount of meth used
- method of meth ingestion
- pre-existing health issues
- co-occurring mental health disorders
Meth is often cut with other dangerous substances such as the synthetic opioid fentanyl and other harmful chemicals, such as red phosphorus. These cutting agents may exacerbate the harms of using “pure” meth.
Other Adverse Effects Of Meth Abuse In Females
When meth is used for a long period, there are a range of mental, physical, and behavioral side effects that will likely show up.
- tooth decay (meth mouth)
- intense cravings
- dramatic decreases or increases in body temperature
- meth sores and abscesses
- premature aging
- increased irritability
- damage to blood vessels
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
- increased sexual activity and STD exposure such as HIV/AIDS
These effects may not show up in everyone who uses the drug but may be influenced by the person’s sex, how long they’ve been using methamphetamine, and how much they use at a time.
Addiction Treatment Options For Methamphetamine Addiction
If you or a loved one are using methamphetamine, help is available in the form of evidence-based treatment at a treatment center such as Bedrock Recovery Center.
Many rehab programs offer either gender-specific care or gender-specific therapy groups to address the unique issues women face alongside or due to substance abuse.
Treatment programs for a meth addiction may include:
- outpatient treatment
- medically monitored meth detox
- group counseling for drug use among adolescent females
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- support groups for drug addiction
- short-term or long-term inpatient meth treatment
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
Finding adequate treatment for methamphetamine use is an important first step to avoiding serious withdrawal symptoms and achieving long-term recovery from substance abuse.
Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Call our helpline for more information about residential treatment for meth abuse at Bedrock Recovery Center. Here, women can find the health care services they need to reach sobriety.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2014/03/methamphetamine-alters-brain-structures-impairs-mental-flexibility
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse