When a person has an addiction, there are usually many forms of treatment to help that person heal from the addiction. And the same is true for methamphetamine addiction. The types of services that a person may experience during methamphetamine addiction treatment includes:
- medical care
- behavioral therapy
- family therapy
- psychiatric treatment (if necessary)
- 12-step meetings
- support groups
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (meth) is a very toxic and addictive substance that can cause severe damage to the brain and central nervous system. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. The high that meth produces includes excited speech, decreased appetite, increased physical activity, and elevated levels of energy. Consequences of meth use include memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and agitation. Meth can also cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain which can lead to strokes. These are only some of the severe health consequences associated with this drug.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Because of its addictive quality and the danger of being abused, meth is classified as a Schedule II drug and is legally only available through prescription. When prescribed by a doctor for medical use, its dosages are significantly lower than when the drug is abused. This drug is man-made and produced in laboratories for medical purposes. However, those who abuse the drug mimic its production in small, unsafe laboratories, which are illegal.
If a person abuses meth, as mentioned above, there are some severe health consequences. Because of these physical and psychological consequences methamphetamine addiction treatment must address the impact on a person’s health.
Typically, at the start of treatment, a person will go through a process of eliminating methamphetamine from their body. And during that process, that person needs to simultaneously refrain from using again. Because this can be a difficult process, regardless of the drug in a person’s body, the experience can be uncomfortable.
Fortunately, in drug detoxification, a medication can be prescribed that can inhibit the effects of withdrawal. Medication usually includes an antagonist, which is a substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another. In this case, an antagonist blocks the ability of meth to have an effect on a person if he or she were to use again. In most cases, antagonists are used after the detox process is over, but in some cases, they can be used during detoxification. Sadly, for those who are addicted to methamphetamine, there aren’t many medications that can serve as antagonists. There have been many attempts at finding an antagonist that can aide in methamphetamine detox, and research is still underway. Often, benzodiazepine tranquilizers are being used to help minimize the discomfort of drug detox. Although methamphetamine detox isn’t easy, with enough support and a safe community, it can be successful. Furthermore, methamphetamine detox is the first step towards sobriety and recovery.
What’s Next After Detox?
Meth, as it is often called, is incredibly addictive because of the release of dopamine, which creates strong feelings of euphoria. However, this experience is followed by a crash that leads to repeated use of the drug and increased doses to feel the level of euphoria experienced with the first use. Because of the highs and lows of meth, withdrawal symptoms can also include low levels of energy while the body learns to balance and restore its natural rhythm. A person may continue to experience withdrawal symptoms even after detoxification is over.
For this reason, it’s important to have the medical and psychological support of professionals, which is what addiction treatment centers can provide. While a person is in treatment, they might have regular meetings with a doctor, behavioral therapist, psychiatrist, and/or a support groups. They might also be prescribed medication to help curb cravings and minimize the effects on the mind and body. For instance, suboxone is a popular drug used in methamphetamine addiction treatment.
As treatment continues, a person will need to learn how to refrain from using methamphetamine. They may need to change their lifestyle, friendships, and even where they live. Although this sounds challenging, if a person is determined to stay clean, the challenges are worth the rewards of a new life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, contact a mental health professional immediately for support. It could save a life!