Methamphetamine Addiction in Women: What Draws Them to This Dangerous Drug?
Unfortunately, methamphetamine addiction among women is becoming much more common. Perhaps you’re a woman who has been using this dangerous drug yourself. There are many reasons why you might feel that it helps you, or that you need it. However, there is probably so much that you don’t know about it.
Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the street. If you’re using it, it’s important for you to stop. If you’ve already developed a physical dependence on the drug, quitting might feel like an impossible task. Please know that it’s not. You can stop using it when you have the right tools and support to guide you.
Let’s take a moment to talk more about meth addiction in detail. We want you to be informed if you’re a regular user. It’s critical for you to understand the risks involved.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine is a drug that falls into the stimulant category. It comes in many forms, one of which is a white powder or pill. A popular form of this drug is called crystal meth. When the drug takes this form, it can look like glass fragments or shiny rocks.
Chemically, methamphetamine is very similar to amphetamines, which are used to treat several medical conditions. ADHD, sleep disorders and narcolepsy are among these conditions.
There are several other names that meth may go by on the street. Among these are:
- Crystal Meth
No matter what you call it, this drug is extremely dangerous. It’s possible to become addicted to meth very quickly once you start abusing it. Some experts even claim that it’s possible to form an addiction to it after one use.
This substance can be abused in several different ways. One of the most popular ways is to smoke it, or by inhaling the vapor from it. If the drug comes in a pill form, it’s possible to just swallow the pills. Pills can also be crushed. The powder can be used for snorting meth.
As time goes by, meth addicts will form a tolerance to the drug. This means that using it with the same administration methods or in the same amounts won’t be as effective. When this occurs, drug abusers may resort to injecting the substance directly into their veins. They will dissolve the powder in water or another liquid before injecting it into a vein. This produces a quick, euphoric high that is much more intense than other methods.
D-meth is a drug that causes an ever-evolving high. The experience of using it is quite different from other drugs. The changes in the high may be one of the reasons so many people feel drawn to it.
During the first few times the drug is used, the high is more of a rush. Drug abusers experience an intense feeling of euphoria. The user’s heart rate speeds up, and their blood pressure increases along with pulse rates. This type of high usually lasts for as long as thirty minutes before “dropping off”. When this occurs, a different type of feeling is experienced.
Sometimes the high after the rush is called “the shoulder.” This is the period that causes people to become argumentative with others. People become delusional during this phase as well, and it’s a period that can last up to sixteen hours.
Eventually, a meth user may resort to bingeing. This is when they will use the drug (sometimes without eating any food) for up to fifteen days. Eventually, there will be no rush, and no high. It is at this point that a person is called a “tweaker.”
Tweaking is extremely dangerous. This means that the drug is no longer causing the person to get high. They’re only using it to keep cravings at bay. They feel empty without it. Someone who is tweaking is most definitely an addict.
Signs of Crystal Meth Use and Abuse
Women who abuse crystal meth may not necessarily have entered the addiction phase yet. They may be using the drug because they like the way it makes them feel. There are certain signs of abuse that are pretty evident. Signs of methamphetamine use and abuse can include:
- An increase in physical activity
- An elevated body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Becoming easily paranoid
- Displaying unpredictable behavior
- Performing meaningless and repetitive tasks
During the abuse stage, stopping the use of the drug may be possible without professional help. Still, it’s never a good idea to attempt it. Even if someone hasn’t developed an addiction to crystal meth yet, it’s still advisable to seek counseling. This can help to prevent that person from going back to using again in the future.
How Does Abuse Lead to Having an Ice Addiction?
Abusing ice can eventually lead to addiction because of how the drug works in the body. As time goes on, the individual becomes more and more dependent on it. This is because it increases the amount of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is the chemical that is responsible for making you feel good. When your dopamine levels increase, you feel happy and secure. Usually, these surges are felt when you do things like eat a good meal or have sex. Using ice causes this chemical to be secreted in excess amounts so that you don’t feel right unless you’re using.
Eventually, your brain isn’t able to create much dopamine on its own at all. This can lead to depression and withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop using. At this point, an individual discovers that they’ve become addicted to the drug.
People who are addicted to methamphetamine are often referred to as meth heads. You may be unsure as to whether or not you’re an addict. This is not entirely uncommon. You may feel as though you have your drug use completely under control. More often than not, people who use meth really have no control. The drug is actually calling the shots.
There are certain symptoms you can look for within yourself that can indicate if you’re addicted to meth. These can include:
- Using the drug even when you’re in a dangerous situation
- Continuing to use even though you’re experiencing harmful and painful side effects
- Becoming isolated from others because you would rather get high
- Arguing with your loved ones over your drug use
- Spending a lot of money so that you can acquire the drug
Do any of these apply to you? If they do, you’re most likely addicted to meth. It’s important for you to know this. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the help you need to stop using.
What Do Amphetamines Feel Like and Why Would Women Feel Drawn to This Drug?
The fact is that many of the short-term effects of amphetamines might be quite desirable for women. This is why so many females are drawn to it. Women often feel overwhelmed, even in their everyday lives.
As a woman, how often do you feel tired? Are there ever days when you feel like you’d just like to give up and sleep your life away? If you ask any woman these questions, they’re likely to answer with a resounding yes. Someone who is a wife and a mother is often faced with many ongoing demands. They need to care for their children and their homes. They may also have jobs that take up a lot of their time.
For these ladies, using stimulants, like meth, may seem like a great coping method. With that in mind, it’s understandable why they might be drawn to using this powerful drug.
Is Quitting Shabu Cold Turkey Safe?
People who are addicted to Shabu will often try to quit using on their own before attempting treatment. It seems like it might be the “easier” way out, and unfortunately, it’s not. Quitting meth cold turkey is never a good idea, simply because the risk of overdosing is too high.
Meth addicts are usually not aware of how bad the withdrawals can become. They may be familiar with mild withdrawal from not using for short periods of time. However, as time goes on, the symptoms become much more severe.
Some of the more common symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal that women may experience include:
- Feeling anxious and nervous
- Becoming severely depressed
- An increased appetite and weight gain
- Excess sleep and feeling fatigued
- Extreme itching all over the body
- A dry mouth
- Intense cravings for methamphetamines
- Mild feelings of paranoia
- Mood swings
- A higher body temperature than normal
When you quit using cold turkey, these symptoms can become unbearable. They’re usually why people end up relapsing. A relapse can be very dangerous because it can lead to an overdose if you go back to using.
Each person will experience withdrawal symptoms for crystal meth differently. The timeline for meth withdrawals will vary slightly. In general, most meth abusers can expect the physical symptoms to peak within 7 to 10 days.
The withdrawal timeline can be separated into several distinct stages. They include the following:
- A “crash period”, which occurs within the first 1 to 3 days after quitting. Most symptoms will usually begin to appear after 24 hours of quitting. During the crash stage, addicts usually experience extreme fatigue and lethargy.
- The “acute withdrawal period”, which begins after 3 days and continues for 7 to 10 days. Withdrawal symptoms are more complex during this time. Many users will start to experience intense cravings.
After these two stages, the recovering addicts will start to struggle with insomnia. They may also start to feel depressed. These symptoms usually last for up to a month before subsiding.
In general, physical withdrawal symptoms will subside much more quickly. It’s the psychological withdrawal symptoms that tend to last for months and even years. These symptoms are the reason why relapse rates for substance abuse is as high as 40% to 60%. These symptoms are incredibly difficult to overcome.
An overdose can occur when you use too much crystal methamphetamine at one time. When you relapse, this is typical because you’re no longer aware of what the “proper” dose is after you’ve gone without using. Some of the symptoms of an overdose on meth include:
- Irregular heart rate
- Chest pain
- Becoming unresponsive or even slipping into a coma
- An extremely high body temperature
- Severe pain in the stomach
- Having a heart attack
Unless you get immediate medical help, a meth overdose can be fatal. However, if you’ve used too much, there may not be enough time for paramedics to get to you.
What to Expect from the Detox Process
Medical detoxification is one of the most important and crucial components of any addiction treatment plan. Women withdrawing from ice will need to go through medical detox most of the time.
The detox process is actually fairly simple although it may seem like a lot, to begin with. This part of the addiction treatment plan will usually run pretty smoothly.
Most addiction rehab centers will break down the detox process into three stages. This helps to ensure that patients receive the right level and form of care. The three stages of methamphetamine detox include:
- The evaluation. This is when the medical team, or our staff, will assess your condition and wellbeing. We may run blood tests to see how much meth is in your system. We may also ask a lot of questions about your medical history. All we want to do is gain clarity on your current and past substance use. These questions are necessary for us to draw up a long-term addiction recovery plan.
- Stabilization. Our doctors will stabilize your condition. This includes making sure that you stay on the right treatment. We’ll customize your treatment plan as you go, and update your loved ones on your progress.
- Shifting into a long-term addiction treatment plan. The next step is to help you transition into the other parts of our meth addiction treatment plan. We recommend that you continue your recovery with our rehab facility. Our medical staff may recommend that you continue taking certain medications during this time.
During one of the three stages, we’ll also evaluate your mental health condition. We want to figure out whether you struggle with any co-occurring disorders. If you do, your treatment plan will need to reflect that.
At this time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to design a medication that specifically treats meth withdrawal symptoms. The medications used in meth detox treat specific symptoms. It’s up to the doctor’s discretion.
With that said, there are currently many different clinical trials underway for medications that may treat meth addiction. Many of these clinical trials show promising results.
At this moment, meth rehab centers are most likely to prescribe certain medications:
- Bupropion reduces cravings. This medication can inhibit neuronal reuptake of dopamine. This prevents the body from feeling rewarded from abusing this drug.
- Modafinil can help make recovering addicts feel more alert. This medication is highly recommended for those who report experiencing excessive sleepiness during withdrawals.
- Mirtazapine treats severe depression. It’s not unusual for recovering meth abusers to experience depression. In fact, this symptom is one of the longer-lasting ones.
- Fluoxetine treats panic attacks. Due to fluctuating chemical levels in the brain, recovering drug abusers often feel a wide range of emotions. They’ll experience intense mood changes, and may feel overwhelmed with panic at times.
Meth rehab facilities may use many different types of medications to treat patients. Each patient will need a different cocktail of prescription medications to detox from this type of substance abuse. They also need a different dose. Since there is no recommended treatment plan, each patient needs to be under constant supervision.
Addiction treatment involves more than just drug detox. Although effective in treating withdrawal symptoms, drug detox alone cannot treat meth users. Each addiction treatment plan will need to include a whole array of other services.
Some of the most common treatments used to treat an addiction to crystal meth include:
- Behavioral therapies, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
- Contingency management to prevent relapses
- Group, individual, one-on-one or family counseling
- Classes for learning independent living skills
There are many additional types of therapies that can come in handy. Therapy and counseling can help modify a person’s behavior. Behavior modification may affect the type of decisions that users’ make. It’s also one of the most difficult parts of addiction recovery.
To ensure that you have the best shot at recovery, make sure that you familiarize with all of the components involved with an effective plan. This way, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you need and don’t need.
Understanding Meth’s Effects in the Long-Term
While it’s sad, many women will use methamphetamine long-term. For a number of them, they just can’t see any other way to cope. When they do, they suffer many of the long-term effects of this drug, which are both physical and mental.
Crystal meth has a powerful effect on the brain. Using it for a long time can result in:
- Forming a strong addiction
- Developing paranoia
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Having hallucinations
- Repetitive motor activity
- Changes in the way you think
- Memory loss
- Changes in the structure of your brain
- Aggressive behaviors
Some of these effects can be reversed. However, some of the effects that result from meth abuse may be permanent. In these cases, the effects are irreversible. You may be able to improve with continued therapy, which has shown to be helpful over time.
The effects on the brain will also depend on the length of the meth abuse and the amount of drugs taken. Meth will have a different effect on each person’s brain.
The physical effects of using crystal long-term are just as debilitating. It’s not uncommon for people to experience:
- Severe itching all over the body. This is sometimes referred to as having “meth bugs” under the skin.
- Extreme weight loss.
- Severe tooth decay (meth mouth)
- Losing many teeth
- A lot of skin sores due to picking at the skin
These long-term effects are just not worth it. Maybe you’ve been using this drug for a short time. Either way, it’s not too late for you to quit. You can get the help you need to assist you with quitting the right way.
Signs That Someone is Using Crystal Meth and What You Can do to Help
If someone you love is using crystal, it’s a scary experience for you. However, you may not be completely sure; especially if they’re hiding their drug use. There are some signs you can look for, and they are:
- Strange skin problems that have no explanation
- Dental issues
- Quick and excessive weight loss
- Constant gum chewing (this is because of having a dry mouth)
- Staying awake for long hours
- Frequently completing meaningless tasks
If you suspect that a loved one is using crystal, you should talk with them about it. If that doesn’t work, it might be time to consider doing an intervention. It may be the only way that they’ll agree to get help.
There are many different intervention methods. If you’ve never hosted an intervention before, it’s best to consult with a specialist. It’s critical that the intervention is held in a judgment-free place. The language used during the intervention also needs to be chosen carefully.
Drug Testing for Methamphetamine
There are many different drug tests that can detect this type of drug. Each test will use a different bodily substance or fluid to detect meth.
Some of these drug tests are used by large organizations or professional networks to check for drugs. Some drug tests can also be purchased at pharmacies or online. You can use these drug tests to check whether someone you know is using meth.
The most common drug tests used to look for amphetamines include:
- Urine tests. These drug tests are the most inexpensive and also the easiest to administer. These tests are used for workplace screenings and by drug treatment centers. They’re also the easiest drug tests to get your hands on. Many people will use urine tests to see whether their loved ones are using meth. The urine sample is collected in a cup, and a dipstick is used to test the urine.
- Blood tests. Drug treatment centers, sports administrations and the police usually use these drug tests to check for methamphetamine. The blood sample is collected by pricking the person’s finger or by injecting a needle in an arm vein. This test is not as easy to administer. A professional is needed to collect the blood sample.
- Saliva tests. This test is also a common test used in workplace environments. The test involves placing a piece of absorbent material in the mouth or under the tongue.
- Hair tests. 40 to 50 strands of hair are collected for this test. The hair closest to the scalp is used. A minimum of 1.5 inches is needed.
Each drug test has unique characteristics and properties. Knowing what sets each drug test apart is important in figuring out which one to use in different situations.
So, how long does meth stay in your system? How long does it take your body to metabolize it? Meth has an average half-life of about 10.1 hours. This usually means that it will take your body a full day to metabolize it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be any trace metabolites around. These metabolites can stick around for some time.
Meth is detectable in each drug test for a different length of time. The detection windows for the various tests are:
- 3 to 6 days after the last use with urine drug tests.
- 1 to 3 days after the last use with blood tests.
- Up to 72 hours after the last use with saliva tests.
- Up to 90 days after the last use with hair tests.
Whether the substance is detectable will depend on the length of the meth use and the dose taken. It also depends on each person’s biological makeup. Everyone metabolizes various substances in different ways.
Know Your Options for Amphetamine Treatment
You have so many different options available to you for amphetamine or meth treatment. Talking with a professional can help you understand what will work best for your needs. You can go to an inpatient facility, or get outpatient help. There are also combination options that may work well for you too.
As a woman, you may want to consider a sober living home. This would allow you to get the treatment you need while removing you from a potentially dangerous environment. Many women find that this is the best choice for them.
When seeking help from addiction treatment, you can choose from different levels of care. Each level of care offers unique characteristics that make them more suitable for certain patients. Understanding the differences between the levels of care can help you make a better decision.
There are three different levels of care provided at drug rehabilitation centers. They include:
- Inpatient treatment. With inpatient treatment, patients will move into the rehab facility. They basically live there while completing their treatment program. This gives the staff and the medical professionals the opportunity to monitor patients around-the-clock. This level of care is best for addicts with serious addiction problems. It’s also one of the more costly treatment options out there.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs). PHPs are unique in the sense that they’re a step down from inpatient treatment, but a step up from outpatient treatment. Patients will not live at the drug and alcohol treatment center. Instead, they’ll travel there every day for 4 to 8 hours of therapy. Once they’ve completed their treatment, they can return home.
- Outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment is the most flexible. Patients can pick and choose when they would like to receive treatment. There are no obligations. There’s a standard program and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). The latter requires a minimum commitment of 9 hours of treatment each week. This type of treatment is ideal for those with a mild addiction. It’s also a great addition to any aftercare program.
Choosing the right rehab center will make a world of a difference. Some rehab facilities offer different levels of care, while others offer only one or two options.
If you struggle with a meth addiction problem, we insist that you seek treatment from gender-specific rehab programs. Here, at Denver Women’s Recovery, we feel that it is important for women to receive addiction treatment independently from men.
There are many reasons why gender-specific treatment options tend to be the most successful.
For one, each gender will have a different need. Each gender is more likely to struggle with one type of mental health disorder than the other. They’ll also have different reasons for abusing meth.
Secondly, each gender will respond more favorably to different treatment options. Both males and females respond to stress in a different manner. They will also respond to medications in a different way.
Third of all, it’s easier for each gender to open up when there are no other ears in the room. Addiction treatment is all about sharing your feelings and venting your frustrations. To do so, you must feel comfortable in the environment.
Gender-specific treatment will aim to meet the unique needs of each gender. This leads to better results when it comes to long-term recovery.
Get Help for Your Methamphetamine Addiction Today
Here at Denver Women’s Recovery, we want you to know that we understand the pain of your addiction. Once you’re addicted to crystal meth, stopping is so difficult. However, with the right support, you can get the help you need to successfully recover.
We’ll take care of everything, so you can focus solely on your recovery. We’ll verify your insurance information to see what types of treatments are covered under your insurance plan. We’ll match you with the right program and deal with all the logistics, so you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Our staff has helped many people get over a meth addiction. Our programs have high success rates. Check out our testimonials for more information.