“The brain changes when you’ve been addicted to methamphetamine. But we have limited information on how our sex hormones affect that addiction…This insight would help us improve treatment for women suffering from substance use disorder.”
~ Dr. Antonieta Lavin, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina
Does meth affect men and women differently?
According to a new study, the answer is “YES”, due to the presence of the female hormone estrogen. This is important, because it means that sex-specific treatment strategies may provide better outcome for people struggling with addiction.
Revealing Tests on Lab Animals
During the study, researchers taught lab rats to self-administer methamphetamine. The rats could control how often they used and how much the consumed. Here’s what they discovered:
- During the first six hours of their addiction, female rats used more meth more often than the male rats.
- Female rats’ brains showed less resting synaptic activity.
- After taking meth, however, that activity rose faster in females than males. This is the “rush” that users experience.
- And when the drug wore off, synaptic activity fell faster among female rats. This is the “crash”.
This strongly suggests that sex hormones play a bigger role than once though in the development of a Substance Use Disorder.
What Does This Mean to Orange County Residents?
Meth is a major drug threat locally—there is a meth-related death every 23 hours in Southern California. This study shows that women who use “crank” experience a heightened response to the drug, possibly leading to a more severe addiction. And this makes a serious health complication or overdose even more likely.
So you if you are a women and you use meth, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get specialized professional care that helps you get drug-free.
If you live in Southern California, your best option is Chapman House Treatment Centers. As one of the top drug rehab programs in Orange County, Chapman House can help you overcome your methamphetamine addiction and return to a balanced, productive, and sober life.