Women, Meth, and Weight Loss—A Dangerous Trend
There have been several blog posts about meth on the main MBRC blog, including two I wrote in January 2013 Meth Labs Spreading from Rural Areas, and Methamphetamine Still Popular. (In the former post mentioned that meth is popular among women for its weight loss attributes.)
To review what meth is, here’s what I wrote in the latter post:
You can smoke, snort, or inject methamphetamine, or dissolve it in water or alcohol and drink it (although it has a bitter taste), and it produces an intense rush when taken the first three ways I mentioned.
In NIDA’S words:
Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. Chronic methamphetamine abusers can also display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin). Transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C can [also] be consequences of methamphetamine abuse.
Here’s information on crystal meth, the “pure, smokeable form” of meth, from The Partnership at Drugfree.org: http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide/crystal-meth.
It makes sense, unfortunately, that some women taking drugs would like meth because it would make them lose weight, but research backs up that theory. The Partnership wrote about a study in a 2006 issue of the Substance Use and Misuse Journal, which was then reported by Medical News Today. So as far back as13 years ago experts had found that the majority of people admitted to treatment centers for “meth and certain synthetic stimulants were young, white and female.” The study author sounded optimistic about the findings, saying that the more that is known about who’s trying meth, the more screening can be done for meth.
In July 2005 CBS News featured a 16-year-old who took meth to lose weight after saying she wanted to lose weight so badly that she hadn’t cared about the consequences. She went from 140 to 118 but it still wasn’t enough. Of course, she became addicted. When she entered treatment, her weight rose to 218. But she started to diet and exercise, and as the video ended, she was determined to get into shape the right way.
But we don’t have to look far from MBRC to find success stories. Last year one client, Laurie Armstrong Kelsoe, told her story on the MBRC blog.
The Orchid Recovery Center in Florida, another treatment program for women, featured a post about women and meth and had this to say: “When crystal meth addiction treatment is woman-centered and addresses the issue of healthy living, women addicted to crystal meth can make great strides in drug and alcohol addiction recovery and remain drug-free for years.” The post also noted that in treatment, women can put back all the weight they lost while on the drug (as happened to the 16-year-old mentioned earlier), which can lead to depression. It sounds, then, as if a woman-centered program would be a godsend for handing that issue.
Orchid’s post mentioned one something I didn’t see anywhere else, the extra energy you get from meth, and the fact that some women appreciate that. We’re always so busy and have so much to do that it’s understandable if women abusing drugs would see that as a bonus.
Should you like even more information about meth, MBRC CEO Joan Borsten wrote a post last year on a DVD series about the drug: Meth Inside Out, that former MBRC counselor Susan S. endorsed.