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Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamine (meth, crystal, chalk, ice, etc.) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug with chemical properties similar to amphetamine. A white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder, meth is taken orally, smoked, snorted or dissolved in liquid (water or alcohol) and injected. Small meth batches are made in clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients like pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient found in cold medicines. However, “super labs” in Mexico and the U.S. churn out massive amounts of the drug.1 The acclaimed television series Breaking Bad brought heightened awareness to the horrific consequences of manufacturing meth, but downplayed the terrible consequences of its abuse, according to some addiction experts.2

Treating Meth Addiction

Treatment for meth addiction includes pharmacological and psychosocial interventions and community-based prevention. According to research, the most promising pharmacological treatments are Modafinil, Bupropion and Naltrexone. Psychosocial interventions are generally effective on a short-term basis and community-based prevention approaches have also shown some benefits.2

At The Right Step, our caring team of psychiatrists, therapists and support staff use evidence-based treatments to help you recover from meth addiction. Most clients who are dependent on methamphetamine will begin treatment with medical detox. Our physicians and nurses will monitor you or your loved one around the clock to make sure meth detox is safe and as comfortable as possible. We’ll administer research-backed medications to ease withdrawal symptoms as clinically appropriate and make sure all of your needs are attended to. Once you’ve completed meth detox, you’ll transition into one of our treatment programs. We draw on traditional and alternative therapies to help you address the underlying issues that may be perpetuating drug use and learn healthy coping skills to stay sober. Some of our approaches include Positive Recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, art and music therapies, mindfulness, individual and group therapy, nutrition, fitness and 12-step groups.

If you or a loved one is in the grips of meth addiction, know that there is hope. We can help. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation: 844-877-1781.

Meth Addiction and Abuse

Long-term meth abuse is associated with cravings, risky behavior, brain dysfunction and deficits in regulating self-control. The highly addictive nature of meth is compounded by its affordability and availability. People who smoke or inject it experience an immediate, intense euphoria. While the resulting high is longer than that produced by cocaine, the desire for continuous pleasure leads to repeated use and a “binge-and-crash” pattern.1,3 Crystal meth impacts dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, activating functions of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. In recreational doses, meth effects are significant, leading to psychological and physical dependence. Users initially report feeling confident and powerful, with limitless energy, increased productivity, enhanced sexual performance and decreased appetite. When euphoria dissipates, serious and immediate negative consequences ensue from chronic abuse.3

Stats and Facts

  • In 2013, 1,186,000 people reported meth use in the past year compared to 1,155,000 people in 2012.4
  • While availability levels were generally stable, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that methamphetamine was more plentiful in Chicago, El Paso, Philadelphia and San Diego in 2014 compared to the prior year.4
  • In 2013, 144,000 people ages 12 and older tried meth for the first time, a substantial decrease from 2002 to 2006 estimates.4
  • In 2014, an estimated 569,000 people ages 12 or older were current meth users.5
  • An estimated 2.3% of female and 3.6% of male high school students nationwide reported using meth. In Houston, usage was 6.5% among high school students, the third highest in the nation.6

Relapse Prevention

Meth addiction is difficult to treat, primarily due to prolonged, intense cravings for the drug. Studies have shown it takes at least a year for meth users in recovery to regain impulse control. Effective treatment programs will take this into account when monitoring recovering clients’ progress during early periods of abstinence. Research suggests the longer clients stay in a structured rehabilitation program and remain drug free, the more likely they will recover important brain functions lost during meth abuse.7

Relapse prevention is a key part of programming at The Right Step. We not only help you or a loved one eliminate methamphetamine from your body, we teach you skills to stay sober in the face of triggers and everyday challenges. You’ll learn healthy coping skills like meditation and fitness, and attend support groups like the 12 Steps, where you’ll find peer support and recovery resources. We’ll work with you to create a comprehensive aftercare plan. Many of our locations offer a 12-month continuing care program based on principles shown to be effective in supporting long-term recovery.

  1. Drug Facts: Methamphetamine. National Institute on Drug Abuse website https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine Updated January 2014. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  2. Galbraith N. The methamphetamine problem: Commentary on … Psychiatric morbidity and socio-occupational dysfunction in residents of a drug rehabilitation centre. BJPsych Bulletin. 2015;39(5):218-220. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.115.050930.
  3. Crystal Meth Abuse. Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/library/crystal-meth-abuse/ Accessed October 7, 2016.
  4. 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment. United States Drug Enforcement Administration website. https://www.dea.gov/resource-center/statistics.shtml Published October 2015. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  5. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.htm#idtextanchor032 Published September 2015. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  6. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/results.htm Published June 10, 2016. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  7. Brain functions that can prevent relapse improve after a year of methamphetamine abstinence. UC Davis Health System website. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090819_brain_meth/ Accessed October 7, 2016.
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