With your help we can keep it that way. Find out how Crystal methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that is experiencing a rapidly escalating epidemic in the United States. Unlike drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine, crystal crosses all social, cultural, and economic lines. Despite efforts to educate the public, crystal has had a tremendous impact on perpetuating the transmission rates of these and other diseases.
If they did not, they became nervous and tense. The drug use that leads to this condition will likely have affected the skin in their mucous membranes, further endangering them by increasing their potential for getting potentially infected semen into How meth ruins sex drive bloodstream. Open Form. Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, is a substance that is often sold illegally. Washton When a strong connection has been established between drugs and sex, stopping the drug use does not automatically stop recurring thoughts and fantasies about previous drug-related sexual experiences. Peck, J. Sex Under the Influence. Issues specific to crystal must be addressed at any level of treatment. One Los Angeles clinic reported that inone out of three How meth ruins sex drive or bisexual men who tested positive for HIV admitted to using crystal.
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Increased prevalent use of methamphetamine is a global public challenge.
With your help we can keep it that way. Find out how Crystal methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that is experiencing a rapidly escalating epidemic in the United States. Unlike drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine, crystal crosses all social, cultural, and economic lines. Despite efforts to educate the public, crystal has had a tremendous impact on perpetuating the transmission rates of these and other diseases. In the current era of rapidly growing technology and information exchange, crystal has become easy to produce or to find, with many Internet sites selling methamphetamine or giving detailed instructions on how to make it.
The Internet also provides easy access to sex, which is an activity particularly tied to crystal use, as they both activate the same area of the brain, the mesolimbic pathway. Sex and Internet use can both be compulsive activities, and when they are linked with crystal, the combination creates a triple threat that fuels crystal use and makes it much harder to treat.
Who Uses Crystal? The U. Department of Health and Human Services reported that in , over 12 million people over age 12 reported having tried methamphetamine in their lifetimes. With a growth rate of about , new users per year, these numbers are likely much higher now.
The people who use crystal methamphetamine are of all types. The working class in Hawaii, where the current epidemic is believed to have started in the U. Other hard-hit regions include rural areas of the continental U.
American youth in general are affected. In major metropolitan areas, many gay men use methamphetamine, and it has become the drug of choice in gay clubs and circuit parties. This has significantly affected the attempts to stop the spread of HIV in these communities. One Los Angeles clinic reported that in , one out of three gay or bisexual men who tested positive for HIV admitted to using crystal.
Methamphetamine is such a powerfully addictive drug that it can affect all people. There are reports of its use even in unexpected communities, such as among the Amish and Mormons. Methamphetamine is a white or yellow crystalline substance that is usually in powder form that can be snorted, smoked, or it can be mixed with water and injected intravenously or squirted in the rectum. Methamphetamine is a stimulant that works primarily on the neurotransmitter dopamine, as well as norepinephrine.
Dopamine is a chemical with activity not just in the brain, but also throughout the entire body, including the heart, lungs, muscles, kidneys, stomach, intestines, and the blood vessels that supply oxygen to all these organs.
Dopamine has various functions depending on where in the body it acts. Crystal causes a dramatic increase of dopamine in the brain by inducing brain cells to release their dopamine stores and blocking reuptake transporters that recycle dopamine for later use. The effect is an extremely high accumulation of dopamine, with intense mood and physiological effects. The chemical structure of crystal is similar to other stimulants, such as amphetamine Dexedrine and Adderall , methylphenidate Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Focalin , pemoline Cylert , as well as the hallucinogen methylenedioxymethamphetamine MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.
Various over-the-counter and herbal remedies, such as caffeine, ephedra also called ma huang , ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, guarana, and ginseng have stimulant properties. The nucleus accumbuns, an area of the brain highly associated with addictive drugs, uses dopamine to communicate with another area called the ventral tegmentum.
The supraphysiologic release of dopamine is associated with the production of free radicals, chemically reactive particles that cause cellular damage. Free radicals cause genetic mutations, cancer, cell death, and aging in the body. In the same way, free radicals produced during crystal use damages brain cells, particularly in the basal ganglia and connections to the prefrontal cortex.
These areas affect movement, memory, attention, and even the basic decision-making and impulse control that are needed to stay sober. Each person's response to crystal may differ: with some feel intense pleasure, while others feel only alertness and anxiety.
Some may feel instantly compelled to use the drug again, though the vast majority of crystal users develop an addiction gradually over years, beginning with rare to occasional use, which surreptitiously increases to frequent heavy binges or daily use. Crystal often causes an initial rush of euphoria, followed by a strong sense of well-being and boosted self-confidence.
Mood is elevated, and if someone is feeling depressed, crystal can bring rapid relief. On the other hand, some people can feel too stimulated and become jittery, anxious, or panicky. Those who are socially withdrawn can become outgoing and charismatic. Like other stimulants, methamphetamine helps people to concentrate and even enjoy ordinarily mundane activities. This may seem ideal for the tired worker who has too many things to do but not enough time in the day to do them.
From the outside the behavior may appear illogical, though the crystal user usually feels a strong sense of purpose.
Like other stimulants, methamphetamine is a powerful anorectic. People lose their appetites, and they may become so focused on an activity that they forget to eat completely. Many chronic crystal users suffer significant weight loss. In many people, crystal causes an intense compulsion to have sex. In the gay community, crystal was first introduced to the nightclub and circuit party scene, which is a highly sexualized environment.
It later spread to sex clubs, sex parties and Internet sex hook-ups. Because of this manner of introduction, crystal is often used in the gay community in sexual contexts. Early studies showed that heterosexual users had different behavior patterns, though recently there have been reports of hypersexual activity among heterosexual users, possibly resulting from the increased visibility of ad campaigns warning gay men of the dangers of sex with crystal.
Once a crystal user, whether homosexual or heterosexual, begins to have regular sex with crystal, this becomes an extremely difficult behavior to stop. Pursuit of sexual gratification can become such an overpowering, irresistible compulsion that protection against HIV seems like an annoying hindrance to the much stronger need for sexual gratification.
Though the gay community is only a minority of the crystal users in the U. For any person who pairs crystal with sex, this is a crucial issue to address in addiction treatment and managing triggers for relapsing. A significant concern about the strong connection between crystal use and hypersexual activity is the effect that crystal has on the spread of HIV, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, including hepatitis B and C, as well as others.
This effect has been documented in numerous studies and anecdotal reports from HIV agencies. In addition, crystal methamphetamine has been shown to impair immune function in both in vitro test tube and in vivo animal studies, further weakening the health of crystal users who already have HIV and hepatitis. The simultaneous presence in the brain of crystal and HIV has powerfully synergistic effects on impairment of brain function and possibly on brain damage.
Other effects of crystal to consider include potential dangerous interactions with medications, increased heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, anorexia, and increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Less common but possible effects include, rhabdomyolysis severe and life-threatening muscle breakdown , and kidney failure. They may also have other psychotic symptoms such as auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations, such as bugs crawling on their skin.
With each episode of psychotic symptoms, the risk of psychosis with crystal increases. Models of Treatment Treatment of crystal addiction is similar to treatment of other addictions, with some specific tailoring to crystal. A study by a group at UCLA led by addiction researcher Steven Shoptaw showed that people in crystal-focused treatment programs were better able to achieve and maintain abstinence compared to subjects treated in general addiction programs Peck et al.
Ideally the best treatment for crystal addiction is complete abstinence because the drug is physiologically so addictive. However, if a crystal user with poor insight is firmly opposed to stopping, then an abstinence-only approach may drive that person away from seeking assistance.
If crystal has only mild negative consequences and the addict is not motivated to stop using, a harm reduction approach is appropriate, remaining client-focused and identifying the treatment goals of the crystal user - what aspects of crystal use does the crystal user feel are important to address? Harm reduction educates people about drugs or other behaviors so that they can make logical decisions about their use. It also clarifies all of a person's general goals in life outside of drugs e.
In this way, harm reduction strives to cultivate an internal motivation to change. Harm reduction has a vital role in helping crystal addicts who are not yet ready to stop completely, but are willing to receive education about their drug use. It also acclimates them to the concept of drug treatment. Crystal users should hear from the beginning that ultimately abstinence is the safest way to avoid addiction.
The principle of harm reduction rests on the assumption that the drug user is making rational decisions about drugs, but with prolonged crystal use, the ability to make rational choices is physiologically impaired. Group therapy is an excellent treatment modality in which people share their experiences, both good and bad, about their addiction and support each other in their struggles to stay sober.
Becoming a sponsor and teaching sobriety skills to another person helps addicts to internalize relapse-prevention concepts. Longitudinal studies have shown that people who participate in step groups are twice as likely to remain sober compared to those not involved in step programs. Interestingly, improvement was not related to the level of motivation of participants. The above-mentioned abstinence-based treatments are used at all levels of treatment intensity, from weekly outpatient treatment to intensive day treatment to inpatient rehabilitation.
Guidelines for the intensity of treatment are the same as for other drugs: if an addict continues to relapse during routine outpatient treatment, then intensive outpatient treatment is necessary. If the addict still continues to relapse, is unable to stay sober unless in a protected environment, or is in medical or psychiatric danger, then inpatient treatment is necessary.
Issues specific to crystal must be addressed at any level of treatment. For example, the specific use that crystal has for each individual e. For many this includes a specific focus on relearning how to have sober sex and mourning the loss of sex on crystal. Information about addiction and the physiology of crystal in the brain should be clearly explained so that addicts understand the reasons for their strong compulsions.
Another treatment to consider for crystal addiction is medication. Currently detoxification regimens are being investigated that ameliorate the difficult crash of crystal. These regimens include medications that decrease intense dysphoria, increase dopamine levels, and restore normal sleeping patterns.
While crystal withdrawal itself is not deadly, intense depression can be fatal when it leads to suicidal ideation. Also under investigation are medications to help maintain abstinence.
These include medications working on GABA gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors, calcium channels, and glutamate receptors. Some medications under investigation include topiramate Topamax , gabapentin Neurontin and modafinil Provigil , which have shown preliminary success in the treatment of cocaine addiction. Buchacz, K. Amphetamine use is associated with increased HIV incidence among men who have sex with men in San Francisco.
Chapman, D. Long-term changes in basal ganglia function after a neurotoxic regimen of methamphetamine. Journal of Pharmacol Exp Ther. Halkitis, P.
How meth ruins sex drive.
Increased prevalent use of methamphetamine is a global public challenge. Information on drug use can be helpful in preventing high-risk behavior related to drug abuse. This study aims to investigate the sexual function changes related to methamphetamine use in the male clients of public and private addiction treatment centers.
In this qualitative study, 45 men 35 methamphetamine users, 5 family members of the users, and 5 psychiatrists or physicians who were famous for treating or researching addiction are involved. An in-depth interview was done with therapists and key individuals. These effects gradually decrease. A decreased libido and various sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and losing control during the sex act will appear over time.
There are differences in the libido and sexual functions of methamphetamine users. Drug-use prevention, addiction treatments, appropriate sexual behavior education, and harm reduction are priorities. Methamphetamine also known as meth use and dependency are serious public health problems across multiple areas, from societal impact to burdens on psychiatric and medical resources 1.
Methamphetamine is a potent form of amphetamine, administered through inhalation, smoking, injection, and ingestion 1. Cravings are one of the main reasons for abuse of the drug; Ekhtiari et al. The short-term effects of methamphetamine are increased level of energy, appetite, and a general sense of well-being 4 ; addiction, mood disturbance, paranoia, agitation, psychosis, cognitive impairments, poisoning, and death are the long-term effects 1.
The absence of methamphetamine after long-term consumption leads to withdrawal syndrome such as dysphoric mood, weakness, lethargy, anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, sweating, and tension 5. Methamphetamine increases sexual desires, which is directly related to high-risk behaviors 1.
The use of drugs and committing substance-related problem behaviors are presumably due to deficits in the inhibitory control and are commonly associated with a loss of inhibitory control of sex behavior, or sexually compulsive behavior 6. Sexual intercourse marathons, in which intercourse lasts for several hours, are prevalent among methamphetamine users. It seems that methamphetamine facilitates this condition by increasing sexual desire, reducing behavioral inhibition, increasing the duration of erections, and reducing the refractory period In a previous study, opium users, 57 cocaine and methamphetamine users, and 75 alcohol users completed a sexual behavior assessment checklist.
It was found that opium users believed less that drug use increased their thoughts, feelings, sexual desires, and sexual performance. The possibility of high-risk behaviors was also lower in opium users; they needed less treatment compared to other groups. Cocaine users also believed that drug use made them involved with sex in an obsessive and excessive way and that there was a powerful relationship between their sexual behavior and drug use There has been a significant increase in methamphetamine use recently.
Using this substance as a stimulant is prevalent in different countries especially among younger adults One of the effects of methamphetamine use is increased sexual activities and high-risk sexual behaviors.
The health, economic, cultural, and social burden of methamphetamine use on society is so significant that understanding the reasons for methamphetamine use is one of the main priorities in Iran.
There have been many efforts to prevent and treat methamphetamine abuse and addiction in Iran for many years. We used a qualitative content analysis method to examine the exchange of sexual function and methamphetamine use in male clients of the public and private clinics in Tehran.
The participants included 45 men: 35 methamphetamine users, 5 family members of the users, and 5 psychiatrists or physicians who were famous for treating or researching addiction. In this study, the data saturation occurred after interviewing the participants.
This study was done in We explained the goals of this study to the participants and got their written permission for recording their voice and publishing the data. We then gathered data from those who were qualified to enter the study. We used a focused group discussion to get information from methamphetamine users and their family members.
In-depth interviews were done to get information from therapists and key individuals. The methamphetamine users and their family members were selected using the opportunistic and peer referral methods of sampling. The methamphetamine users were selected from different economic and social classes. We used a checklist and open questionnaires to collect information. The data were analyzed using conventional content analyses according to the Graneheim and Lundman method.
We explained to the participants that their information would remain secret, their name would not be used in any document related to this study, and they could quit the study at any time.
We interviewed 35 methamphetamine users, 5 of their family members, and 5 therapists. The users were aged from 19 to 45, with the majority of them between 25 and Two-fifths of them did not earn their high school diplomas; one-fifth had a high school diploma; and the rest had a higher academic degree.
Twelve of the participants were single, three were divorced, and ten were married. The duration of their methamphetamine use was from less than 1 year to 8 years; a majority had been using methamphetamine for 2 to 5 years. About half of them had used illicit drugs frequently within the last month. Each of these categories was further divided into subcategories, as described in the following sections and in Table 1.
The vast majority of the methamphetamine users reported that using methamphetamine increased their sexual desire significantly, and that sexual intercourse while on methamphetamine was very enjoyable. Only one participant reported that methamphetamine reduced his sexual desire. The methamphetamine users had different experiences but the majority of them believed that using methamphetamine strengthened their affection toward their sexual partner.
When I kissed my partner lips, those tasted like fruits. The quality of sex with a meth user is higher. Some of them also believed that a female meth user would prefer a male methamphetamine user as a sexual partner because of his relationship skills and delayed ejaculation. The majority of participants believed that the duration of their acts of sexual intercourse increased after using methamphetamine. My sexual desire was very high.
I did not let go of her, and this made her very tired. Some of participants reported that they could have sexual intercourse for hours without feeling tired or taking a rest.
You want to go on and on. You do not get tired, physically or mentally. We did not get tired at all! If they did not, they became nervous and tense. You just want to have sex and relive your tension.
In some cases, having sex in these places resulted in serious problems. Some masturbated several times a day. Some of them believed that this increase in masturbation resulted from experiencing an increase in sexual desire and having erectile dysfunction in the same time.
I even slapped and kicked them to force them into doing this. He also pulled out my hairs and had anal sex with me. He had too much sex with me. None of them spoke about incest, but three of them reported that they had thought about it. Three of participants reported an inclination toward sexual aggression. This difference has been shown in this study. It seems that the expectation and amount of knowledge that a user has about the effects of this substance are important in the effects they get from it.
It is also clear that methamphetamine affects the sexual desire of users differently. Many participants reported that they experienced a significant increase in their sexual desire at the beginning of their use of this drug, but other participants did not report increases in their sexual desire.
Some studies have shown that using stimulant drugs like methamphetamine increase sexual desire at the beginning of use Some users attributed the different quality of their sexual relationship to this feeling of intimacy. Semple et al. One the effects of using methamphetamine in men is delaying the ejaculation time In our study, some methamphetamine users reported this effect. During focused group discussions, some methamphetamine users described the nature of their sexual behavior after using methamphetamine as compulsive, and some used the phrase sex addiction for these relationships.
Other studies have also shown the association between methamphetamine use and compulsive sexual behaviors As a result, a methamphetamine user does not inhibit the desires and behaviors that are socially and morally inappropriate. This lack of control increases the unusual behaviors and leads to aggression after frustration. One of the findings of this study was the widespread use of Sildenafil by methamphetamine users as a self-treatment method for their erectile dysfunction.
Having sexual intercourse marathons sexual intercourses which last for several hours is very prevalent among methamphetamine users. In this study, the participants stated that, after beginning to use methamphetamine, they started sexual relationships with multiple partners. Other studies have also shown this association.
Tayyebi et al. All therapists involved in this study reported seeing these desires in their clients. Some of these behaviors result from methamphetamine intoxication and some are caused by changes made by the long-term use of this substance. There is a fear that the changes in performance, emotions, and sexual attitudes in methamphetamine users transmit to other people and affect the culture of Iranian society, specially the younger population.
The authors appreciate Dr. Najafi and Neda Ahmadpour, who provided technical help and writing assistance. Financial Disclosure: There is no conflict of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Jun Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.
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