Treating Meth Addiction
Like many drugs, repeated use of methamphetamine may result in requiring meth addiction treatment. People who use meth repeatedly will need to use higher and higher doses to achieve the same level of pleasure as prior use.
Meth is one of the most highly addictive substances and long-term meth addicts suffer severe mental and physical damage. Meth addicts may exhibit significant anxiety, dramatic weight loss, confusion, insomnia, mood swings, even violent behavior. They may also suffer from psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, visual or auditory hallucinations and delusions – one example that many have is the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin, which is why so many meth addicts are scratched up.
Unfortunately, these psychotic symptoms may last for months or even years after the addict has quit using and completed treatment for meth addiction. Instances of stress may also precipitate a recurrence of these symptoms.
Meth Addiction Treatment
These symptoms can reflect significant changes in the brain and its functionality and meth addiction treatment is the best hope for beginning the reversal of these changes. Studies have demonstrated that these alterations in the brain result in reduced motor speed, impaired verbal learning, severe memory loss, plus emotional and cognitive problems.
Symptoms of withdrawal from meth may include depression, anxiety, fatigue and an intense craving for the drug. Therefore detox should be done under a doctor’s care or observation in order to insure safety.
While there are no specific medications that address the meth addiction itself, there are medications available that can help with some of these withdrawal symptoms and make detoxing from meth somewhat more comfortable.
Because of the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine it is often best to begin treatment in a residential setting to help take the addict out of his, or her, day-to-day circumstances where the temptation to use will be great. Being able to focus solely on recovery for 30 to 60 days is hugely beneficial, along with daily care and therapy, a healthy diet and exercise. Additionally, in a residential setting the addict can also make new relationships and friendships with other people suffering the same circumstances.
Crystal Meth Treatment
The primary therapies associated with crystal meth treatment are primarily psychological, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). In cases where there has been some form of trauma somatic experiencing therapy may also be useful.
Additionally, one-on-one sessions with a psychologist and group therapy are also useful. After leaving residential care it is highly recommended that the recovering addict continue in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP) while living in a transitional situation such as a sober living home. Both PHO and IOP treatment take place in an office setting. Attending meetings of a group dedicated to recovery, such as Crystal Meth Anonymous or narcotics anonymous, is also recommended.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction to methamphetamine, don’t wait, please call Recovery Channel now for advice and to see if your insurance will cover treatment for meth addiction.
A Meth Primer
There is nothing new about methamphetamine, although in recent time it has become a more potent drug. It is highly addictive.
Amphetamine was first produced in Germany in 1887 and it’s more potent offspring in 1919 in Japan. In fact, high doses of methamphetamine were given to Japanese kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions in World War Two.
In the 1950s it was a popular diet aid prescribed by doctors and also used in cases of depression. It was so readily available that many college students, athletes and others used it as a stimulant to study or stay away – such as cross-country truck drivers. In the drug infused 60’s the abuse of methamphetamine, or meth, became even more popular. And recently a much milder form of amphetamine, known as Adderall, has been utilized to treat ADHD.
The U.S. government made methamphetamine illegal in the 1970s, after which it was only produced and distributed by criminal entities, such as motorcycle gangs. In the 90s Mexican drug traffickers set up large meth labs in California to produce and distribute the drug. Since then small, “stove-top” labs have cropped up across the country.
The Curse of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is a serious problem across the United States with areas of higher concentration in the southwest and Hawaii. Meth is extremely addictive and can be injected, inhaled (snorted), smoked or taken orally, this versatility helps increase usage rates just as with opiate based drugs such as oxycodone and heroin, which can also be used in multiple ways.
The signs of meth use include talkativeness, loss of appetite, higher respiration, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and euphoria. As abuse of the drug continues into addiction, addicts will become paranoid, psychotic, moody, aggressive or violent, as well as develop a tendency to “pick” at their skin leaving tiny sores and scabs throughout their bodies, including their faces. They will also experience “crawling skin” or formication.
Due to the toxicity of the drug and the lack of nutrition addicts will also experience brittle, or breaking, hair and hair loss. Worst of all is the impact in an addict’s teeth, which are severely damaged by the drug. The teeth will decay and turn black to the point of needing to be extracted. The teeth and gums rot from the inside and the roots of the teeth will rot away.
Recovering from an Addiction to Meth
Addiction to meth, or methamphetamine, is difficult to treat. Meth is a highly addictive drug.
Although there are medications that can help in the recovery from some addictions, such as heroin, there is no such pharmacological option available for meth addiction. However, in cases of acute panic or anxiety, during detoxification, for example, an anti-anxiety medication, such as benzodiazepine, may be useful. Or, in cases of meth induced psychosis the use of Neuroleptics may also be used.
Currently the most effective recovery options for meth addiction treatment consist of behavioral therapies, such as cognitive therapy, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This methodologies help to modify the addict’s thinking, expectations and behaviors, as well as increase coping skills. Additionally, neurofeedback may be used as a means of helping to readjust the altered brain and as an aid in develop relapse prevention skills. Support groups are also extremely useful in preventing relapse.
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