Meth is a drug that creates some unique and severe problems for women, for whom rates of meth use are much higher than for other classes of illicit drugs. Women who become addicted to meth tend to have a history of physical and sexual abuse. They often have problems with depression, anxiety and self-esteem.
Treatment outcomes for females addicted to meth can be improved by addressing the specific challenges associated with addiction to the drug in a setting that provides safety for women and their children.
Certain factors are common in the reasons why women initiate meth use.
- Is often introduced by a boyfriend. Trying meth is presented as an expression of affection and bonding.
- Reduces appetite and can produce rapid and substantial weight loss.
- Enhances mood. Since rates of depression are higher among women, the mood elevation produced by meth can be a way to self-medicate feelings of depression.
- Increases energy and reduces fatigue. Many women face challenging work demands and family responsibilities that cause feelings of fatigue and the inability to be productive. In early stages of use, meth can appear to improve productivity, which reinforces its addictive potential.
- Provides a way to escape painful feelings and situations. There is evidence to suggest that many women who become meth addicts have past and current situations where they experience very high rates of abuse, violence and trauma. The highs produced by meth can deceive addicts that the feelings related to their traumatic experiences have gone away.