Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Those who abuse methamphetamine often need a meth rehab center to treat the underlying issues that motivate self-destructive behaviors. When individuals develop an addiction, they need methamphetamine addiction treatment. During treatment, a variety of addiction therapy services will help make recovery a reality.

Methamphetamine or “meth” is a powerful, extremely addictive stimulant drug. It also goes by meth, crystal, crystal meth, ice, and Batu. Meth takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water. Users consume the drug by smoking into the lungs, snorting into the nasal cavity, or injected into the veins.

Biology

doctor discussing Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment with a client Methamphetamine is referred to as a  “neurotoxin” and as such is destructive to nerve tissue. Research shows us that methamphetamine abuse causes extensive neurological damage across the Central Nervous System. Methamphetamine-related nerve damage is commonly associated with persistent forms of cognitive impairment. The biggest problem is how it affects a person’s mental skills. Specifically, someone who has been abusing methamphetamine has issues with memory, learning, and attention.

Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine is also classified as a “psychomotor stimulant” because it increases physiological activity. Meth use causes a person to be overly alert, chatty, super confident, low appetite and euphoric. Meth differs from amphetamine in that, at the same size doses, greater amounts of meth get into the brain. This makes the effects much more intense.

Libido

Methamphetamine and other stimulant drugs tend to increase libido, which means that methamphetamine abuse is often associated with risky sexual behavior. Paradoxically, long-term methamphetamine abuse is often associated with decreased sexual function, especially in men.

Side Effects

Methamphetamine abuse results in many destructive side effects, including aggression, violent behavior, paranoia, insomnia, and addiction. High dose abusers often display mood disturbances, mistrust psychotic behavior, auditory hallucinations, and delusions.

Drug Craving

Methamphetamine produces intoxication by causing a buildup of dopamine across the synapse cleft. The more dopamine that builds up the more dopamine available for postsynaptic receptors. The dopamine absorbed by postsynaptic receptors increases the overall drug effects which are typically intense pleasure or euphoria, but also drug craving. Uncomfortable and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms can be managed at a medical detox center, ensuring safety while each individual begins their recovery

Addiction Liability

Due to the fact that use of meth increases such large amounts of dopamine in the brain, it is very addictive. This occurs as the meth crosses the blood-brain barrier very quickly, and it works nearly 100% of the time it is used. When someone begins to develop a dependence on methamphetamine, it very quickly leads to addiction due to the reliability of the drug to produce the effects the user is looking for.

Crystal Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is defined as compulsive drug seeking and using behaviors, despite harmful personal consequences. As with most drugs, the brain and the body will eventually build a tolerance to meth and its effects on the brain. This means that it will be harder and harder for dopamine to be created. The user will need to continually use more and more meth to achieve the same results.

Methamphetamine Toxicity

Individuals that are suffering from methamphetamine toxicity can become extremely agitated, impulsive, irrational, paranoid, and psychotic. If you notice someone displaying this behavior you should be careful as they become very easily violent and aggressive. They are not completely in control of their actions.

Categories of Methamphetamine Users

  • Naive or experimental users
  • Irregular users that participate in social settings
  • Binge users who use moderate to large amounts
  • Daily or chronic users

Methamphetamine Detox: Symptoms and Timeline

Detoxification is intended to help you stop taking the drug as safely and quickly as possible. Detox can also help ease withdrawal symptoms. You will have an initial assessment and medical screening for other conditions and drug interactions that might cause complications during detox.

Continuous meth use leads to withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe once you stop taking it. Typical symptoms are:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Decreased sexual pleasure
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoia

Methamphetamine withdrawal follows a predictable timeline. The onset of symptoms is within 24 hours after the last dose. The symptoms reach their peak after 7 to 10 days of abstinence. After 14 to 20 days of sobriety, they disappear. Uncomfortable and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms can be managed at a medical detox center, ensuring safety while each individual begins their recovery.

Once the drug is completely out of your system, a medical professional will help you prepare for treatment. The goal of treatment is to help you learn to live a healthy life. It might also concentrate on underlying conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Meth addiction treatment can be complicated and it’s different for each patient. Mental health disorders are frequently present among meth abusers, which makes the need for dual diagnosis treatment more important. A common problem is that meth addicts tend to receive misdiagnoses. First, the user must go through the detox process, which can be very long – depending on the length and severity of the meth use. Afterward, treatment specialists need to determine if the mental health issues are from the actual drug use or if they were previously present.

At this point in time, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM).

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy addresses the learning channels intrinsic to drug addiction and other harmful behaviors. The patient works with a therapist to develop a set of healthy strategies to cope with reality. CBT has been shown through several studies to be effective at reducing meth use after only a few sessions.
  • Contingency Management therapy provides tangible rewards for going to treatment, maintaining abstinence, and clean urine samples. A reward could be a voucher for a healthy dinner at a local restaurant or a gym membership. The voucher’s monetary value increases the longer you abstain from using meth. Research shows that CM reduces meth use, but it’s uncertain whether this continues after treatment has ended.
  • Other behavioral therapies: 
  • Family counseling and education
  • Individual counseling
  • 12-step support programs
  • Drug testing

There are currently no medications available that specifically counteract the effects of meth or prolonged abstinence by someone addicted to the drug. However, Naltrexone presently used to treat alcohol use disorder, is showing potential for reducing meth cravings and changing former meth users’ responses to the drug.

Meth’s Effects on Your Brain

Methamphetamine is a “neurotoxin” and, as such, is destructive to nerve tissue. Scientific research shows us that methamphetamine abuse causes extensive neurological damage across the Central Nervous System. 

Methamphetamine produces intoxication by causing a buildup of dopamine across the synapse cleft. The more dopamine that builds up the more dopamine available for postsynaptic receptors. The dopamine absorbed by postsynaptic receptors increases the overall drug effects which are typically intense pleasure or euphoria, but also drug craving.  

Methamphetamine-related nerve damage is commonly associated with persistent forms of cognitive impairment. The greatest impact on brain function is observed as weakness in mental skills and more specifically as deficits in attention, memory, and learning.

Categories of Methamphetamine Users

  • Naive or experimental users
  • Irregular users that participate in social settings
  • Binge users who use moderate to large amounts
  • Daily or chronic users

Glossary: Methamphetamine Terms

  1. Amphetamine: Amphetamine (C9H13N) is a Central Nervous System stimulant and appetite suppressant.
  2. Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine (C10H15N) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine.
  3. Methamphetamine Addiction: Tenacious and compulsive seeking or using methamphetamine despite harmful consequences.
  4. Synapse cleft: The microscopic space, approximately 10-20 nm wide, that separates the presynaptic neuron, or axon, and the postsynaptic cell, or dendrite. Nerve impulses experience transmissions across the synapse cleft by neurotransmitters such as dopamine.

Help through Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Addiction to methamphetamine is a treatable condition. The outcomes for meth treatment are similar to other chronic conditions like asthma and high blood pressure. There are occasional setbacks, and recovery is an ongoing process. 

Don’t be afraid or ashamed of seeking help. Whether it’s for yourself or someone close to you, it will take patience, kindness, and courage to reach out now. It won’t get better on its own.

Stop putting a life at risk struggling with addiction. Find methamphetamine addiction treatment today. Contact LA Detox now to learn about your addiction treatment program options.