Methamphetamines have been gaining popularity over the last decade in America as a drug of choice for both men and women. According to the 2008 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Survey on Meth 850,000 American’s over the age of 12 have abused meth at least once in the year prior to the survey and users are almost split in half between men and women. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) meth users are almost split in half with female users totaling 45 percent and male users totaling 55 percent. More commonly known as meth, crystal meth, or speed, meth is a dangerous drug that has legitimate pharmaceutical applications but use can quickly turn to abuse-wrecking havoc on a person’s life. Women in particular are using meth more and more either to deal with pressures at work or to lose weight and control symptoms of depression. Addiction treatment centers such as New Directions for Women have seen a substantial increase in the number of new patients addicted to this dangerous drug.
Meth affects the brain’s central nervous system by increasing the levels of dopamine, which give people feelings of pleasure. Meth also affects users by allowing them to stay awake longer and suppresses their appetites making it a drug of choice for young women looking to lose weight. While it does curb the user’s appetite, meth is a dangerous method of weight loss as it can become a roller coaster of ups and downs for the user. While on meth users generally experience dramatic weight loss. If the person stops using the drug, the weight is often regained very quickly and the person often commences using meth again, which turns into a vicious cycle.
Recognizing the signs of meth use early can help ensure a full recovery. Here are a few common symptoms characteristic of meth use.
- Jittery or anxious behavior
- Extremely intense focus or concentration
- Rapid weight loss (without change in diet or exercise)
- A decreased interest in physical appearance and deterioration of health visible in fingernails, skin, teeth and hair.
These are just a few symptoms of the onset of meth addiction. As the user gets more and more dependent on meth, they will care less and less about their appearances, relationships and surroundings and become solely focused on getting more drugs.
Confronting loved ones about their addiction can be tough and sometimes dangerous; New Directions for Women can help connect you with a board registered interventionist to stop the destruction and despair that is created by meth addiction.