Methamphetamine is one of the most popular illicit drugs in the world, with an estimated 13 million users in the United States alone. The drug is popular for its stimulant and euphoria inducing effects, which keep users awake for 12-hours or more. Over time, methamphetamine causes deterioration in the brain, contributing to poor emotional, physiological, and psychological health. Long-term exposure to methamphetamines also causes anxiety, panic, paranoia, and trauma.
If you or a loved one is suffering from methamphetamine substance dependence, it is crucial that you seek out treatment. A rehab facility can offer structured and safe methamphetamine detox followed by an evidence-based treatment plan designed to give someone the tools to live addiction free.
Detox is the first step of methamphetamine treatment, where users must stop or taper methamphetamine intake down until they no longer use. This period typically starts between 12 and 24 hours of the last dose and goes up to 2-4 weeks and sometimes longer.
Methamphetamine detox is more intense than withdrawal from an opioid because the drug binds to the dopamine and GABBA receptors in the brain, meaning that users feel depressed and lack energy for months after their final dose.
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin with depression and fatigue, which escalate over the first 3-10 days of detox.
Users then begin to experience hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety, which can cause a strong risk of relapse for outpatient care. Withdrawal symptoms typically begin to abate after the first 2 weeks, tapering off in as little as a few or as many as 4 weeks.
While methamphetamine doesn’t cause seizures and other life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like alcohol withdrawal, it can cause intense depression, paranoia, and anxiety. This can result in self-harm, suicidal ideation, and relapse. Medical care during detox is therefore advised for most patients.
Neurotoxicity – Methamphetamine induced neurotoxicity occurs in a small percentage of recovering patients, and extends the duration of withdrawal symptoms, often for months. It’s important to seek out pharmacological treatment to manage symptoms.
TREATING METHAMPHETAMINE ADDICTION
Methamphetamine addiction is often caused by a complex range of factors including social conditions, lifestyle, mental health, stress, and economic factors. Individuals looking to recover from any substance use disorder must seek out treatment to look for and tackle the underlying issues behind substance abuse, recognize when and where dual diagnosis happens, and work to improve coping and stress management skills. This is typically managed through a several-phase process of assessment, counseling, behavioral approaches, and group therapy.
Counseling and Group Therapy – Counseling and group therapy including one-on-one counseling and group classes, including 12-Step solutions.
Here, individuals address their problems directly with a counselor, discuss problems and personal approaches in a group setting, and work to recognize and move past problems. Here, individuals experience support, professional counseling, and self-help with their peers.
Behavioral Approaches – Behavioral therapies are increasingly popular for addiction treatment of every kind, as research shows that addiction is often linked to behavior. Here, individuals undertake behavioral therapy such as CBT to recognize
how behavior, emotions, and past experiences affect their current behavior. These approaches are proven affective for treating methamphetamine addiction and for preventing relapse, because they help individuals to change the behavior underlying addiction.
Medication – Many treatment centers take a pharmacological approach to treating methamphetamine addiction, typically with the intent of reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These drugs include Bupropion, Modafinil, Naltrexone, and others, which are largely used as complementary or supplementary therapy on top of traditional detox and therapy.
Methamphetamine is one of the hardest drug addictions to recover from, but many treatment centers offer specific care designed to help individuals through the detox phase and through the long recovery.
Methamphetamine causes intense crashes and depression, often for months after taking a final dose, necessitating strong therapy and aftercare programs to ensure continued recovery.