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Meth Abuse Among Women

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

March 25, 2019

Women who abuse meth are at an increased risk for a number of dangers and negative effects. Getting help for meth abuse can help women avoid these risks and learn to thrive in sobriety.

Meth addiction among women has become increasingly common. In fact, the Gender Medicine Journal found that women are more prone to using meth at a younger age than men.

A study published by the American Journal of Public Health found a rise in the use of meth by pregnant women.

Methamphetamine is part of the stimulant class of drugs and works by increasing activity in certain parts of the brain. As a central nervous stimulant, things like heart rate and blood pressure are increased while on meth. People also report feeling more energy and motivation from the drug.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug that can have a significant impact on a person’s health and life. As one of the most addictive and dangerous substances on the street, anyone who uses meth is at risk for developing an addiction.

While taking meth can certainly elicit positive feelings, the negative effects of the drug far outweigh the good. Women who abuse meth are at risk for developing dependence and addiction to the drug that can potentially wreak havoc on all aspects of their lives.

Risk Factors Associated With Meth Addiction Among Women

While the number of men and women who abuse meth tend to be similar, there are certain risk factors that make women more prone to meth abuse than men. Women who abuse and are addicted to meth often share certain traits and life circumstances that men do not.

Some factors that may put a woman at an increased risk for meth abuse and addiction include:

  • history of abuse
  • history of suicide ideations or attempts
  • unemployment
  • a partner who abuses illicit drugs
  • using meth as a means to control or lose weight
  • smoking methamphetamine
  • introduction to the drug by an intimate partner

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Many women who abuse or are addicted to meth have a partner who is also a methamphetamine user. This can make getting help difficult, especially if the partner is not ready to give up meth use.

Dangers Of Meth Abuse Among Women

Most people don’t go into using meth expecting bad things to happen. In fact, many people feel a certain sense of invincibility when using illicit drugs. However, when it comes to meth, there are many potential risk factors that come with its use and abuse.

The first and most obvious risk factor of using meth is the chance of addiction. Some people even report becoming addicted to meth after the very first use. The more a woman uses meth, the more likely she is to become addicted to the substance.

What’s more, women who use drugs like meth are more likely to participate in risky behaviors. This can lead to increased risk of sexual assault, injury, and even death.

Meth abuse can also be detrimental to a woman’s body. Meth has the potential to permanently damage a woman’s reproductive organs as well as her brain, heart, liver, and lungs.

Additionally, meth abuse can result in higher levels of aggression and paranoia. This can lead to higher rates of domestic violence in couples who use meth together.

Long-Term Consequences Of Meth Abuse Among Women

Women who abuse meth are at risk for a number of long-term health consequences. Methamphetamine can result in severe damage to the brain and the cells in the brain, especially as they relate to dopamine and serotonin. This damage can impact everything from a person’s ability to feel pleasure to nerve function.

Other long-term problems that can arise from meth abuse include:

  • mood disorders
  • sleeping problems
  • anxiety
  • aggression
  • “meth mouth”
  • skin abscesses and infections
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • motor and movement problems
  • paranoia

Additionally, women who abuse meth long-term are likely to build up a tolerance to the drug. This means that they will need to take more of the drug to get the same effect. Taking more meth only increases the risk of its negative side effects and heightens addiction.

Meth Abuse And Pregnancy

Women who abuse meth throughout pregnancy put both themselves and their unborn children at risk for severe consequences.

Meth abuse throughout pregnancy can result in:

  • premature birth
  • birth defects
  • problems in the development of the fetus’s vital organs
  • in utero brain hemorrhages or strokes
  • skeletal abnormalities
  • low birth weight
  • learning disabilities

Additionally, babies born to meth-addicted mothers may also have problems like trouble swallowing or sucking. They may also be restless and irritable, making it hard to console them.

Treatment For Women Addicted To Methamphetamine

Men and women experience meth addiction differently. This means they will also experience recovery from meth addiction in different ways.

One of the most successful forms of treatment for women on meth is gender-specific inpatient programs. These programs provide a safe, drug-free, women-only environment where women can not only quit meth but learn how to live a life in sobriety.

To learn more about meth abuse among women and treatment options available for women addicted to methamphetamine, contact our treatment specialists today.

American Journal of Public Health - Amphetamine- and Opioid-Affected Births: Incidence, Outcomes, and Costs, United States, 2004–2015

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - Methamphetamine Abuse in Women of Reproductive Age

Gender Medicine - Gender differences in methamphetamine use and responses: A review

NPR - Another Drug Crisis: Methamphetamine Use By Pregnant Women

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