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Exploring weight control as motivation for illicit stimulant use

Highlights•Study assessed weight-related motivation for illicit stimulant use.•Weight-control motivation was more common among illicit stimulant users.•Illicit stimulant use was associated with severe weight-control behaviors.AbstractObjectiveResearch has highlighted a growing trend among young, adult women to initiate drug use for weight loss. With known suppressive effects on appetite, illicit stimulants (i.e., cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy) may be particularly attractive to college women, who are at elevated risk for increased body dissatisfaction and experimenting with extreme weight loss techniques. The current study examines the association between risk factors and symptomatology of eating disorders and illicit stimulant use (ISU).MethodsA preliminary study was conducted on a nonclinical sample of 131 drug-using, college women (16- to 24-years old). Participants reported internalization of the thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behavior, and current drug use as well as corresponding weight-related motivation.ResultsThere were 15.3% of women who reported drug use for weight-control purposes. Results showed women who reported drug use for weight control predominantly used illicit stimulants (70%), such as cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. Moreover, the odds of ISU were increased among women who engaged in laxative misuse.ConclusionsThese results suggest that a desire for weight control may be associated with ISU among college women. Women engaging in more extreme weight loss behaviors are at high risk for initiating and maintaining ISU for weight-related reasons.

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