Methamphetamine, or “Meth” for short, is a very potent central nervous system stimulant. The user experiences an intense high. Unfortunately, this high comes at a great cost to the user’s body and to their social lives. It is possible to recover from meth addiction, but the process can be challenging.
Before addressing the addiction recovery process, it will be helpful to briefly explain what Methamphetamine is and how it impacts the body. Meth is a combination of two powerful central nervous system stimulants, making it a particularly powerful stimulant.
Once taken, the drug creates a powerful high and increases activity and energy. This high usually lasts for about 8 hours but can last longer. This high comes with a cost and is associated with memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior and possible damage to the heart and brain. Dependence on the drug may arise after only one use and can be relieved only by using again. This makes methamphetamine one of the hardest addictions to break.
Symptoms of meth use include weight loss, disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, insomnia, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, irritability, increased aggressiveness, and even convulsions leading to death.
Over the long term, meth addiction causes irreversible harm to the brain, cardiovascular system, liver, kidney, and lungs. Users may suffer memory loss and difficulty in grasping abstract thoughts.
Recovery begins with detox. It is possible to detox at home, but medical assistance increases the chances of success since the psychological and physical symptoms can be alleviated to some degree. In addition, any pre-existing mental health conditions can also be diagnosed and treated during medically-assisted detox. Once detox is completed, the process of rehab can begin. This can be done either in an inpatient setting or through an outpatient or intensive outpatient program.
The process of rehabilitation must address the factors surrounding drug use, such as social circles, coping techniques, and the home environment. Relapse prevention is an important element of rehab. The recovering addict must learn to recognize the triggers that lead to drug use as well as learn tools for managing stress. This is accomplished either in individual counseling or in group settings. Recovering addicts should also be encouraged to participate in self-help groups which will provide continued support to maintain recovery into the long-term future. A sponsor in a self-help group can also provide a source of immediate support during difficult situations.
A combination of treatment methods is most effective. Professionals can treat the psychological part of addiction. They’ll help the recovering addict develop skills for developing healthier lifestyles and with abstaining from drug use.
Depending upon the intensity of the addict’s dependence and the challenges resulting from their normal living environment, either inpatient or outpatient rehab may be appropriate. The advantages of inpatient rehab are the availability of 24/7 medical monitoring so that the individual is able to focus entirely on recovery.
Outpatient addiction treatment provides the same kind of treatment on a slightly less intensive level. It helps to better mimic real-life situations for a higher chance of successful recovery. Outpatient treatment still provides relief from stressful living environments, typically by facilitating offsite accommodations and transportation. Recovering addicts who want to continue employment or maintain daily obligations, for example the care of children, are excellent candidates for outpatient treatment. Individual therapy and group therapy, as well as aftercare, are also major benefits of choosing outpatient addiction treatment.
There are no medications which have been approved for the treatment of addiction to methamphetamine, so treatment primarily involves psychotherapy of some kind. The most effective therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the Matrix Model, and contingency management interventions. In CBT, patients learn to recognize how they react to environmental or behavioral situations and learn new and drug-free ways to respond to these cues. The Matrix Model combines behavioral therapy, individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, drug testing and participation in a 12-step program. Contingency management involves rewarding desired behavior in terms of accepting treatment and remaining drug-free.
Family therapy is also useful in helping family members change unhealthy family dynamics. It provides family members with skills and techniques for managing different aspects of addiction. In situations where co-dependency is present, family therapy can help address that issue as well.
Because the high received from use of methamphetamine is so powerful, users very seldom seek treatment on their own. Some are mandated by a court to undergo rehab due to some criminal behavior. Therefore, support from family and friends for those in recovery is very important. Intervention by family and friends can also be effective in getting an addict into treatment. However, they must prepare extremely carefully in terms of understanding the effect of meth on the user, having a clear plan for the intervention, and enlisting the support of a professional interventionist. Intervention is most successful if it is timed for when the user is not high.
Methamphetamine is both very addictive and very destructive. Many people have seen pictures of meth addicts in the media both before and after long-term drug use. The impact of methamphetamine is very obvious in such pictures. The user, of course, does not seek this damage to the body. They continue to use due to the intense high they experience. There are no drugs available which are approved to treat addiction to meth. Treatment begins with detox and rehabilitation relies upon psychological methods. In meth addiction treatment, the support of family and friends is very important. To get help with addiction to meth, contact us today.
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