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Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamines: Crack, Crank, and More

Meth is a stimulant drug, similar in effect to cocaine. One of the cheapest, most accessible, and deadly drugs available, it’s considered a major problem in many rural areas, where it is easily produced and easily distributed. The highs and lows of methamphetamine mirror those of cocaine, and the physical devastation is similar but often far worse.

Getting free from Meth

  • The rush of the drug
  • Detox
  • Treatment

Methamphetamine: A Deadly Seducer

Methamphetamine is a stimulant: when taken, it generates a “high” in body and mind. Users feel strong, healthy, and energetic to the point of restlessness. The drug gives feelings of near infinite ability, and provides a rush of megalomania. Meth can make users feel like Superman.

Unfortunately meth takes a toll. Meth users spike high, but crash hard, experiencing severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, and panic. High or low meth addicts can feel rage and violent urges, and compulsive to irrational actions.

Meth damages the body, suppressing the appetite and spurring activity, leading many meth users to suffer starvation willingly. Sleep is disturbed; teeth often fall out from malnutrition. Meth damages the brain, too, restructuring the dopamine system to provide a rush while short-changing natural processing of the biochemical.

Detox Isn’t Pleasant

The first step in rehab is detoxification: stopping drug use to allow the drug to filter out of the system. Detox is perhaps the most intensely unpleasant phase of rehabilitation.

Many addicts experience pain, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, chills, and more. Emotionally, addicts experience panic attacks, paranoia, severe depression, anxiety, anger, and fear. The process of detox removes the drug, leaving the altered body and neurological system without the super-kick of meth to drive the dopamine reaction. The lack triggers round after round of compulsion, while providing maximum stress to an emotional system no longer able to cope with the strain.

The process usually takes approximately one week, though in some cases, detox may run longer. After it’s concluded, the real work begins.

Counseling for the Long Run

To recover successfully takes more than just detox. Counseling begins after detox, and often during that difficult time. Addiction counseling is often an eclectic blend of approaches. Behavioral modification is one of the main types of counseling, specializing in training addicts in new, healthy habits and in self-management tools to help control urges and carry a patient through the difficult recovery.

Personal counseling is also common, as are family therapy and group therapy. These three modes help addicts and those close to them recognize the dysfunctional patterns that developed in response to addiction, and allowed it to prosper. Most users and their families, in trying to survive addiction, build life-systems around addiction, making compromises along the way. A new life often depends on rejecting the compromises and the structures that allowed life to just go on in spite of the drug use. What allowed survival of the family also allowed survival of the addiction; new, better behaviors have to replace the old, or it’s too easy for everyone to sink back into the old pattern the drug imposed.

Finding Help

Finding a program that can help an addict through the stress and strain of rehabilitation depends on many things. The best approach is to find reliable referring sources. Many institutions offer great referral services: medical clinics, hospitals, police departments, many schools, and state and county departments of health and family services can all produce tried-and-true reliable references. Professional referral services also exist. By making good use of all these resources you can find help for addiction.

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