The Meth Myth

We’ve seen meth come a long way in a very short span of time. Many people think it’s a new drug, but it’s not. Methamphetamine has been around since the 1920s. More recently it resurfaced as a party drug, primarily in gay clubs on the east and west coast. One reason is, in the 90s, drug cartels realized they could make a lot more money with it and set up large meth labs cranking out large batches of the drug. Then, because of how easy it was to manufacture and how affordable it was, it worked its way across state borders and across financial brackets, racial groups, right into homes everywhere. Even soccer moms ended up with a serious meth addiction problem. It’s a drug that has no boundaries, no boarders and, if you listen to some, there’s also no treatment. But that’s a myth. There is treatment for addiction to meth.

It’s true that meth addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to treat. It is one of the most highly addictive drugs. It dramatically increases the dopamine levels in the brain.

Unlike heroin addiction, there is no substitute, like suboxone or methadone, to take to wean off of meth. Detoxing for meth is not like that for heroin or alcohol. In fact, many insurance companies don’t recognize the need for detoxing in a detox specific treatment center for meth.

Of course, there is a detox period in which the drug is cleaned out of the body. During this period meth addicts can experience a number of withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological, such as anxiety, severe depression, fatigue or sleepiness, aches and pains, inability to concentrate, mood swings, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia and more.

These symptoms are why it is important to begin treatment in a treatment center where the detox can be observed by professionals. A doctor in a treatment center can prescribe some medications to help with some of these symptoms.

Once an addict is technically “clean”, following detox, these symptoms can continue for up to three months. But it’s really the psychological addiction that needs to be addressed.

This is done through a variety of treatment tools, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). There is also Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), originally developed to relieve the distress of trauma.

Additionally, there is bio and neuro feedback training which can help retrain the brain and alleviate relapse triggers.

The most important element is that the addict wants help, wants to be in treatment and recover. Depending on how long he, or she, has been using, and how much, it may not be easy. But it can be done. We see it done every day.

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