Meth Addiction and Treatment

As many drugs are exploding like an epidemic through the US, methamphetamine is no different. Methamphetamine is a drug that can give users the sense of increased energy and confidence. It suppresses appetite and in some forms of medical treatment can be used to aid narcolepsy, ADHD and depression.

However, more often than not, meth is used recreationally. As recreational use turns to abuse, and then to addiction, severe side effects from using methamphetamine can be seen. Paranoia, senseless and repetitive behavior (also known as tweaking), extremely impaired judgment and violence, are just a few of the negative effects methamphetamine can have on mental and psychological aspects of one's health. Physically, methamphetamine has equally destructive effects such as irregular heartbeat, fluctuating blood pressure, nausea, loss of teeth, dramatic and dangerous weight loss, skin ailments and of course, an increased risk of contracting STDs.

Like cocaine, methamphetamine comes in many forms and has many names. Sometimes called crystal meth, crank, speed or ice-the drug can be snorted, smoked or injected. Methamphetamine takes such a dramatic effect on the body, especially in the first few doses, which is often considered enjoyable, that the drug by default is extremely addictive. It is also one of the few drugs that can be made at home very cheaply with easily attained materials.

For any person addicted to methamphetamine, treatment is highly recommended if they are to have any chance at living a normal life once again. However, the after effects of prolonged use are so powerful that full-blown meth addicts have serious difficulty following treatment programs. Memory, concentration and decision-making skills are all severely compromised, which is why treatment should be considered as quickly as possible. Recovery from methamphetamine does take a reasonable amount of time, and is lengthened with more severe damage; long-term inpatient treatment is often the best course of action.

Meth addicts benefit most when involved in a treatment program that is designed to compensate for some of the mental and emotional lows that occurs during the length of the withdrawal period. Some examples are treatments that offer highly structured and intensive programming in response to needs in all areas of life. Treatments that last for at least three months, or preferably a year, have replied in higher success rates as well.

One of the most effective forms of treatment available to methamphetamine addicts is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This form of therapy teachers meth addicts how to understand why they use, what type of situations or groups of people give them the urge to use, how to avoid cravings, and finally, how to deal with desires when they occur. CBT offers real-world approaches and strategies that have been proven to work on rehabilitating meth addicts.

Two other forms of treatment for methamphetamine addiction include contingency reinforcement, and the 12 step approach. In contingency reinforcement, a therapist application principals based on positive reward reinforcements when treatment goals are reached. Some goals could be a clean drug test, or reaching a sobriety milestone, while the rewards that follow are typically restaurant vouchers, movie tickets, or other small rewards. Studies have shown that these small positive rewards greatly help to improve treatment retention. The 12 step process includes various support structures such as individuals and meetings found in Narcotics Anonymous. Although the 12 step process is not recommended as a single treatment method for those added to methamphetamine, recent research shows that evolution in the 12 step approach along with other treatment options indicated in a better than normal exit.

For those added to methamphetamine, there is a silver lining to the long detoxification process. Although there is no medication that can aid the meth detox process, it has been found that the entire ordinal is not life threatening. Unlike heroine and a few other drugs, detoxification from methamphetamine is not life threatening and does not need to take place in an inpatient setting. However, this does not include pre-existing conditions that may need medical care such as dermatology or dental care.

The key to fighting methamphetamine addiction, which may stand truer than fighting any other form of addiction, is the necessity to be genially immersed in the treatment. Family, friends, and even coworkers should be involved in the process. The more people involved in the addict's life, who can provide support, the better the chance for the recovering individual to fully rehabilitate.

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