Methamphetamine (or meth) is one of the most addictive and dangerous stimulants that a drug user can abuse. The effects are intense and quick but they come with consequences that can result in lifelong health problems or even death. The intense euphoric feelings that meth produces and the painful withdrawal symptoms that come with stopping can make it very difficult for long-time abusers to agree to quit.
Seeking Treatment: The most important step in the treatment process is for the abuser to acknowledge they have a problem and agree to receive treatment. A person is much less likely to succeed in finishing treatment if they are in rehabilitation against their will. Staging an intervention is a good way to try to make a drug abuser see how their decisions are affecting those around them. Once someone agrees to seek treatment, they should immediately be evaluated by a medical professional or counselor to determine what the best course of treatment would be.
Detoxification: Detoxification from a methamphetamine addiction is unpleasant, but it is fortunately not associated with extremely dangerous side effects. Detoxification is the process during which the body is trying to expel the toxins left behind by the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are the body responding to the sudden removal of the toxins. Some of the symptoms that accompany methamphetamine detoxification are:
Detoxification from Meth should always be done under the care of medical professionals. Inpatient rehabilitation centers can offer medications to help with symptoms and provide a safe place away from temptations.
Utilizing Therapy: There are several pharmacological approaches and behavioral interventions available to those wanting to enter treatment for a Meth addiction. Every addiction is unique and no two people’s recovery journey will be identical. Creating the most successful and manageable plan means working closely with trained medical professionals. A solid treatment plan should address every aspect of addiction including the physical and psychological sides of dependence.
Staying on Track: Meth is known to be a drug that takes over someone’s life while they are on it. This means that remaining in treatment and staying on track will be a particularly long and difficult process for someone addicted to Meth. Surrounding oneself with a solid support system or checking into an inpatient rehabilitation center will reduce temptations and keep the person on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
Treatment for a Methamphetamine addiction typically fall in one of two categories: Pharmacological approaches and Behavioral interventions. Pharmacological means using prescribed or low-dose over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms and make transitioning into sobriety easier. A behavioral intervention involves changing the behaviors that lead to addiction. This is achieved through a variety of therapies.
There are several studies currently happening to test the viability of some prescription medications to treat a Methamphetamine addiction, but there are none currently FDA approved.
Antidepressants and antianxiety medications have proven helpful when dealing with the adverse symptoms of meth withdrawal and are often used at rehabilitation centers. Low-dose Benzodiazepines are typically given to patients if they are having an extreme psychosis attack. Painkillers are also helpful to manage symptoms. It is crucial to never use a pharmacological treatment approach while not under the care of a doctor or medical professional.
Behavioral interventions are widely recognized as the best way for patients to overcome a methamphetamine addiction. There are several different methods of therapy to choose from but a combination of more than one increases chances of success. All the therapies aim to get to the root of addiction and reform the thoughts and behaviors that lead to addiction. Many rehabilitation centers will offer one or more of these therapy options to their patients depending on the individual situation.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a general term for the treatment of mental health problems through talking. It aims to address the external and internal triggers that lead to addiction. Each specific type of psychotherapy has a unique approach to overcoming addiction but all hope to explore the behaviors and feelings that accompany the need to abuse Meth and try to create reachable solutions. Psychotherapy sessions usually occur one-on-one between a therapist and the patient. For the best results, patients can use more than one form of psychotherapy or a rehabilitation center can implement psychotherapy into a care routine.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Redirecting the behaviors that lead to drug use, is the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy is traditionally a short-term treatment where a counselor and participant identify specific behaviors and learn coping methods to avoid them. Strategies are meant to be manageable and goal related so they can be easily integrated into daily life. Some of these behaviors include:
Apps and other digital mediums can aid in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Users can track progress and take make notes to help them stay on track.
Matrix Model: The Matrix Model is a 16-week behavioral treatment program that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing and incentives to participate in non-drug related activity. This model has seen great success because of its extended span of time, its directive approach and inclusion of family.
Support Group Therapy
Support groups have proven to be one of the most helpful methods of therapy treatment. They are often run by rehabilitation centers, churches or independently and are a judgement-free place to openly discuss the struggles of overcoming addiction. Actively participating in a support group greatly increases a person’s chances of successfully overcoming addiction.Active participation creates a healthy distraction and surrounds a person with the tools and encouragement they need. In a support group, someone recovering from a methamphetamine addiction is surrounded by peers trying to accomplish the same sober lifestyle. Participants are able to lean on each other and provide encouragement. Some support groups even allow their members to remain anonymous if they wish. Support groups usually encourage each participant to find a sponsor while undergoing treatment. A sponsor has typically endured treatment themselves but has remained addiction-free for more than 5 years. A sponsor acts as a mentor to the sponsee and provides encouragement, feedback and tips for achieving sobriety.
The 12-step program serves as a foundation for most support groups as well as rehabilitation centers. The 12-step program is all about admitting that addiction leaves people powerless and out of control of their lives. It involves trusting that a power greater than themselves can get them through their struggles and then surrendering themselves completely to that power.
To find a support system in your area, call SAMHSA’s National helpline at 1-800-622-HELP or use the services locator on their website. For more information and guidance about addiction, make sure to also visit Addiction Forums.