Methamphetamine is a drug that rips through the lives of the person using it and the people who care about them. It’s a stimulant drug similar to amphetamines but much more potent and incredibly addictive.
Although only about 0.8 million people actively use methamphetamine, it leaves its mark on this portion of the population. Side effects of meth affect users both physically and psychologically on both a short-term and long-term basis. Without proper treatment, some may never find their way out of the cycle of addiction.
How exactly does methamphetamine use affect a person? What are some of the best forms of therapy for meth addicts and how can they find help? Continue reading to learn more and find out how to get help for your loved one.
When to Seek Therapy for Meth Addicts
Addiction is a difficult and complicated disease to treat. There are many factors at play from genetics to various environmental components. Researchers and clinicians haven’t yet pinned down substance use disorders to one single cause. Instead, they find that a well-rounded approach to addiction treatment provides the best results.
Are you worried you know someone who struggles with methamphetamine addiction? There are some signs you can look for if you’re concerned by someone’s behavior. Understanding what meth is and how it affects people will give you better insight on whether you should help them seek therapy for meth addicts.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug in the amphetamine class. It’s similar to prescription amphetamine but is an illegal drug classified as Schedule II with the Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s cooked in labs using amphetamine combined with dangerous toxic chemicals such as battery acid, antifreeze, and more.
Meth, also called crystal meth, speed, or ice, is a white, crystalline powder with a bitter taste. People use the drug a few different ways, either smoking it, snorting it, or by injecting it intravenously. It’s a potent drug to begin with but injecting meth leads to an incredibly powerful and addictive high.
Effects of Methamphetamine
The side effects of meth depend on the amount a person uses, how long they use it for, and the way they ingest it. The drug leads to a massive surge of euphoria, energy, activity, alertness, and talkativeness. Users commonly binge on the drug, meaning they use it repeatedly until their body finally crashes. A meth binge lasts anywhere from hours to a few days at a time.
Methamphetamine leads to a number of different health problems over time, both physically and psychologically. One of the most alarming side effects is meth psychosis. Users in a state of psychosis experienced severe hallucinations and paranoid delusions: they see and hear things that aren’t actually there and believe things that aren’t true.
These effects can diminish with time but they should be treated sooner rather than later. The longer someone uses for the more severe of an impact the drug leaves behind. So how can someone struggling with meth addiction find treatment?
Types of Therapy for Meth Addicts
Do you know someone struggling with meth addiction? There are a few signs
to keep an eye out for if you’re concerned including:
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in physical appearance
- Suddenly switching up friend groups
- Withdrawing from people they usually spend time with
- Poor performance in school or at work
- Running into trouble with the law
If you start noticing these signs in your loved one you might need to seek some type of therapy for meth addicts. There are a couple of different methods used to treat people who struggle with methamphetamine addiction.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Methamphetamine withdrawals aren’t as severe as opioid withdrawals but still make it difficult to get sober. Some facilities use medication-assisted treatment to help people through the early stages of detox. While it’s possible to get clean without them, MAT is a form of therapy for meth addicts that make the process a bit easier.
There are currently no drugs approved specifically to treat methamphetamine withdrawal. Some research shows naltrexone, a drug used to treat alcohol withdrawal, is also helpful for people getting clean from meth. As time passes and researchers conduct further studies, treatment facilities will receive more helpful medications.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a go-to method of therapy for meth addicts and many other disorders. Therapists who use CBT work to change the incorrect, negative thought processes that lead to unhealthy behaviors. By changing these thought processes, or cognitions, they see changes in behavior.
Using CBT to treat addiction shows the best results when combined with multiple methods of therapy. These include things like MAT, holistic treatments, or other therapeutic approaches such as EMDR.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse sees the Matrix Model as one of the best forms of therapy for meth addicts. It is an intensive program that takes place over the course of four months. The ultimate goal of the program aims to reduce depression and anxiety while teaching clients to avoid relapse.
Large majorities of the program take place in a group setting but some portions of the Matrix Model include individual sessions. Participants learn how their addiction develops, how it affects them, how to avoid use, and how to come back in the event of a relapse. One six-month follow-up study showed a 60 percent success rate in those who completed the Matrix Mode.
Attending Meth Addiction Treatment
Meth addiction treatment is a life-altering and life-saving opportunity for those who can’t stop using methamphetamine. Hawaii Island Recovery is a facility that specializes in the treatment of addiction, alcoholism, and other mental health disorders.