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Meth Addiction Treatment Options: Everything you Need to Know

Meth is one of the top three drugs that have been reported to claim the most lives in 2022 due to overdose. Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can have severe and unusual harms on individuals who use it. It is available on the street with the names of crystal, ice, glass etc. If you or your loved one is suffering from meth addiction, it is essential to undergo professional help so that this disease can be managed. Keep reading to learn about meth addiction treatment options.

Negative Effects of Meth Addiction

Belonging to the class of opioids, meth is highly dangerous on so many different levels. The major two negative effects are: 

1. Mental Effects

One of the most severe harms of meth is its impact on the brain. Meth can cause damage to the dopamine receptors in the brain, which can lead to a reduction in the brain’s ability to experience pleasure. This can lead to depression and anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure. Meth also increases the levels of norepinephrine, which can cause increased anxiety, agitation, and paranoia. Meth also has been shown to be associated with a high risk of psychiatric disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia. The drug can lead to vivid hallucinations, delusions and paranoia, which can last even after the person stops using the drug.

2. Physical Effects

Meth can also cause severe physical harm. Long-term use of meth can lead to a condition called “meth mouth,” which is characterized by severe tooth decay, infection, and even loss of teeth. Meth can also cause skin sores and itching, known as “meth mites,” due to the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin. Another unusual harm of meth is its impact on the cardiovascular system.

Meth can cause hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. It can also cause damage to the blood vessels, which can lead to aneurysms and other serious complications. Meth use can also lead to severe weight loss and malnutrition, as the drug suppresses appetite. Additionally, meth can lead to sleep disorders and insomnia, which can have a severe impact on overall health and well-being.

Potential Meth Addiction Treatment Options

With opioids, there is always a risk of overdose, which can be deadly. A patient has the following options available to treat meth addiction.

Medical Detoxification

Detox, or detoxification, is the process of removing toxins, such as meth, from the body. The goal of detox for meth addiction is to help individuals safely and comfortably withdraw from the drug and prepare for further treatment. The first step in detox for meth addiction is a medical assessment to determine the individual’s overall health and the severity of their addiction. This assessment can include blood tests, a physical examination, and a psychological evaluation.

Once the assessment is complete, the individual will be placed on a medically supervised detox program. This may involve the use of medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and to reduce cravings. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed to help manage the emotional and psychological symptoms of withdrawal. The detox process typically takes several days to a week, depending on the individual’s level of addiction and overall health. During this time, the individual will be closely monitored by medical professionals to ensure their safety and comfort.

After detox, the individual will typically enter a rehabilitation program to address the underlying causes of their addiction and develop strategies to maintain sobriety. This can include individual therapy, group therapy, and other evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and family therapy. However, detox alone is not enough to address meth addiction. A comprehensive treatment program that addresses the physical, emotional, and social aspects of addiction is necessary for long-term recovery.

Pharmacological Interventions

In order to reverse and manage the opioid withdrawal and harms, medications are implemented under “medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of meth addiction. However, some medications that are used to treat other forms of addiction, such as opioid addiction, have been used in MAT for meth addiction with some success. These include:

Bupropion: an antidepressant that can help reduce cravings and improve mood.

Modafinil: a medication used to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, which can help improve focus and attention.

Other medications that may be used to help with the symptoms of meth addiction include:

  • Antidepressants to help with depression, anxiety and insomnia.
  • Antipsychotics to help with hallucinations and delusions.

It is important to note that while medications can help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, they are not a cure for meth addiction. Therefore, MAT for meth addiction should always be combined with behavioral therapies and support. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a form of treatment for meth addiction that combines the use of medications with behavioral therapies and support. Methadone Medicated Assisted Treatment is an effective treatment for Meth Addiction. The goal of MAT is to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings for the drug, and help individuals maintain their sobriety. 

MAT for meth addiction can be provided in different settings, including inpatient or residential treatment centers, outpatient clinics, and through a combination of both. The choice of treatment setting will depend on the individual’s specific needs and the severity of their addiction.

Counseling and Support Groups

Behavioral interventions are a key component of treatment for meth addiction. These interventions are designed to address the underlying causes of addiction and help individuals develop the skills and strategies they need to maintain their sobriety. 

Some examples of behavioral interventions that may be used in the treatment of meth addiction include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction. It also teaches coping skills to deal with stress, cravings, and triggers in a healthy way.
  • Contingency management: This approach uses positive reinforcement, such as vouchers or small rewards, to encourage individuals to engage in positive behaviors, such as attending therapy or passing drug tests.
  • Motivational interviewing: This type of therapy helps individuals explore and resolve ambivalence about changing their drug-using behaviors.
  • Family therapy: This approach helps family members understand the impact of addiction on the family and how to support their loved one in recovery.

Another important aspect of behavioral interventions is the use of support groups. Support groups, such as 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous, provide individuals with a sense of community and a network of peers who are also in recovery. They can also provide valuable information and advice about how to maintain sobriety and cope with the challenges of recovery.

It is essential to note that the treatments should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and circumstances to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Importance of Personalized Meth Addiction Treatments

Personalized meth addiction treatments are important because addiction is a complex disease that affects individuals in different ways. Each person’s experience with meth addiction is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment is unlikely to be effective.

Personalized treatments take into account an individual’s specific needs, including their medical and mental health history, current living situation, and personal circumstances. For example, an individual with co-occurring mental health conditions may require different treatment than someone without such conditions. A person who has a stable living environment may be better suited for an outpatient treatment program, while someone who is homeless may need inpatient treatment.

Personalized treatments also consider the stage of addiction an individual is in. For example, someone who has just started using meth may not need as intense of treatment as someone who has been using for a long time and has developed a severe addiction. Another advantage of personalized treatments is that they are more likely to be successful in the long term. When a treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, they are more likely to engage with the treatment, and thus more likely to achieve and maintain lasting recovery. Professionals who specialize in treating meth addiction have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help individuals overcome their addiction. They can provide a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes therapy, support groups, and other forms of support. 

Why Is Professional Help Important in Meth Addiction?

Professional help for meth addiction is important for safety, medical supervision, expertise, tailored treatment, aftercare, and higher success rate. Professional treatment centers provide a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes therapy, support groups, and other forms of support, and can help individuals overcome their addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

Final Thoughts on Meth Addiction Treatment

In conclusion, meth addiction has no cure but it can certainly be managed by physical and behavioral interventions. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a combination of medications, behavioral therapies, and support that can help individuals struggling with meth addiction to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and maintain their sobriety. While there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for meth addiction, some medications used for other forms of addiction have been used with some success. It’s important to note that MAT should be combined with behavioral therapies and support in order to address the root causes of addiction and increase the chance of a successful recovery.

Find a mental health professional that treats drug addiction here

Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP
Author: Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP

Jordyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Certified Trauma Professional (CTP). She holds a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, from Caldwell University, Jordyn has extensive experience in Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient settings and is skilled at guiding clients through the recovery process in individual and group therapy sessions.

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