Rehab for Meth
Due to its highly addictive nature, it is hard for people to overcome their addiction to meth without the help of a comprehensive rehabilitation. Meth, or methamphetamine, is a very powerful stimulant that results in a euphoric experience, or a “high”. The popularity and availability of meth are on the rise, which is why it is vital to offer evidence-based recovery methods in rehab for meth addiction.
Meth reprograms the brain’s ability to release dopamine (pleasure hormone) in the brain’s reward center. As a result, meth manipulates the brain into believing that meth is more important than food, sleep, love, and life. Meth addiction is a progressive and deadly condition and it is important to recognize the signs of abuse in order to begin recovery.
Signs of meth addiction can include:
- Significant weight loss
- Dilated pupils
- Increased distractibility
- Tooth decay and loss of teeth
- Inflated sense of self-worth
- Nervous twitches
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Jumpy eyes
- Scratching, or itching at the skin
- Financial issues
- Missing financial deadlines
- Frequently late for school or work
- Major changes in behavior
- Problems interacting with people
- Acting before thinking
- Poor memory
- Disorganized behavior
- Not sleeping for days
- Disrupted hygiene
The Cycle of Meth Addiction
Stimulants like meth cause the brain to flood with the pleasure hormone dopamine, which initially provides a feeling of euphoria. Meth is a very strong substance, and has effects that last for hours or even days on end. Besides the rupturing side effects of severe paranoia and insatiable energy, meth use deteriorates your brain’s ability to produce dopamine on its own— the brain then relies solely on your drug use to give you the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. After using meth just once, you will be chasing a feeling of a brain saturated with dopamine, which you will use more and more of the substance to achieve. Without the meth, your brain is left in a dopamine deficit— nothing that you used to do naturally will produce and release dopamine. This process is how meth’s addiction cycle is structured.
What is Meth?
Meth, or methamphetamine, is a man-made drug that is classified as a stimulant. Meth is usually created in homemade labs using a mixture of dangerous chemicals and bazaar household supplies. The foundation of meth is usually cold and flu medication like pseudoephedrine, which is the base to add in chemicals like household cleaning supplies, drain fluid, battery acid, gasoline, antifreeze, etc. “Cooking” the meth allows the individual making meth to extract certain chemical components, but offering little to no control during the cooking process— small mistakes or inconsistencies can be detrimental for the lab, surrounding environment, air quality, and the end user.
As we have previously mentioned, meth is extremely addictive and causes meth users to join in a cycle of high-highs and low-lows. Meth users experience an intense period similar to mania, followed by a depleted state of depression. The cycle of meth use begins with the introduction of dopamine in the brain at a massive volume, with a high or mania lasting for hours and hours. After the period of extreme mania, the meth user will begin the “come down” process, which usually looks like a crash. “Crashing” off of meth is when the high is finally wearing off— the user’s body is physically exhausted, they are mentally drained, emotionally unstable and left chemically imbalanced. The deficit of dopamine is onset at the time of the crash, which prompts the user to wake from a period of depression or rest, with cravings for more meth.
A pronounced cognitive issue in withdrawal from methamphetamines is anhedonia—an inability to feel pleasure or enjoyment. Experts say that the most common complaint of chronic meth users is boredom, because they don’t know the word anhedonia. During anhedonia the meth user may feel intense cravings for a meth-induced euphoria. Anhedonia is a dangerous period during which many meth users return to the old cycle. During treatment, with abstinence, medical and psychological support, the anhedonia disappears—usually within two to ten weeks.
Anhedonia is a major danger period during which many meth users return to the old cycle. During treatment, with abstinence, and medical and psychological support, the anhedonia disappears—usually within two to ten weeks.
What are the Side Effects of Meth?
Fortunately, many of the side effects of meth use can heal after several months of recovery. Unfortunately, some changes can be permanent. Meth use can prompt irreversible damage to the brain’s blood vessels, and exacerbating this condition can cause a stroke.
The effects of meth can last from 8 hours to a day. As a result, it is common practice for meth users to stay awake for several days during a meth binge. Binging on meth, and the subsequent lack of sleep, often leads to adverse side effects.
Short-Term Effects of Meth Use May Include:
- Reduced appetite
- Increased respiration rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Flushed skin
- Extreme paranoia
Long-Term Effects of Meth Use May Include:
- Unhealthy weight loss
- Suicidal ideation
- Brain damage
- Heart failure
- Lung disease
- High blood pressure
- Appear much older than chronological age
- Irreversible damage to blood vessels in the heart
- Irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain
- Heart attack
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the inside of the nose (for intranasal users)
- Breathing issues
- Infections and abscesses
- Severe tooth decay
- Severe gum disease
- Inability to experience pleasure
Meth is an extremely dangerous and destructive substance that attacks the entire body through prolonged abuse. Due to the severity of long-term side effects, it is important to seek treatment for meth addiction. Recovering from meth abuse may seem near impossible, due to the arduous withdrawals and cravings, but with rehab for meth addiction, recovery is not only possible but accessible to all.
What is Meth Withdrawal like?
As we know, there is a distinctive pattern of use for those addicted to methamphetamines. Sometimes beginning with just one use, meth has destructive effects on an individual’s internal reward-system, cognitive functioning and decision-making, as well as his or her ability to produce and release natural hormones in the body. The resulting cycle goes from feeling the high » experiencing the crash » having psychosomatic cravings that pursue the same euphoric mania. Below, we will go into detail of the meth withdrawal process to better understand the behavioral and physical changes associated with coming off of meth.
Withdrawal from meth is an extremely taxing process, the meth user will begin to experience the reality of their body’s exhaustion once the drug effects begin to wear off. As the drug’s effects subside, the meth user will be hit with feelings of depression and complete depletion. The come-down is when meth users begin to feel empty, which triggers cravings to be “up” again. Typically, these cravings set in right before the “crash”, once the drug’s effects have left the system, and are accompanied by a rapid drop in mood and fatigue. After the cravings subside, the person addicted to meth becomes utterly exhausted and commonly uses other drugs, downers like alcohol, sedatives, opiates, or marijuana, in order to fall asleep.
The “crash” is when meth users cannot ignore the overwhelming sense of exhaustion from their previous high. Meth is a very strong stimulant, which makes for each high to be extremely fast-paced, filled with lots of energy, thoughts, tedious work, and physical strain. After the high and come-down, meth users will be prompted to nearly collapse as their bodies are completely drained and debilitated. Depending on the severity of the previous meth binge, a person’s crash could last for differing amounts of time. In response to heavy meth use, a person could crash for days on end. Usually, a “crash” is marked by sleeping straight through days and binge eating to make up for inconsistent nutrition during a “high.”
Once the meth user gets past the acute fatigue, most of the “crash” symptoms disappear. The short- and long-term effects of meth depend on the method of consumption— whether the drug was snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed. As a result, the way in which meth is introduced into the body will affect an individual’s physical health in one way or another. For example, snorting meth damages the nasal passages, and smoking harms the lungs.
In addition to physical deterioration, meth addiction causes serious mental impairment and cognitive distortions. During withdrawal, the meth user will experience anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure or enjoyment.
Methamphetamine experts agree that chronic meth users experience severe anhedonia following a period of abstinence from meth. Unfortunately, many who are addicted to meth seek out the drug for the sole purpose of experiencing positive emotion again. From using meth, the brain has now associated the drug use with a release of dopamine. Furthermore, meth use ruins your body’s natural ability to produce and release dopamine so that using more meth becomes the only action to result in an instant flood of dopamine. Cravings set in to remind the body that it needs to feel “good” again, which the body has assumed the only way to do that is by using meth again.
Subsequently, the danger of relapse is heightened during the early stages of meth withdrawal because meth users often return to their old cycle of addiction to relieve the symptoms of anhedonia.
Detox Treatment for Meth
In rehab for meth addiction, cravings, fatigue, and anhedonia can be managed through electrochemically balanced nutrition, natural supplements, exercise, and the occasional use of nonaddictive sedatives, such as mood-stabilizing medications. Detoxing from meth requires direction from a medical professional to ensure safety, comfort, and efficiency.
Despite crystal meth being on the rise as a destructive substance, there is little research to support or discover any type of specialized detox medication for meth withdrawal symptoms. Due to the lack of research, it is a challenge to successfully detox someone from meth comfortably. There has been a recent study shared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, naming a promising “combination treatment” for methamphetamine use disorder. The industry has been grueling to find an effective detox medication for meth for over a decade, leading to this clinical trial that used injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion to treat meth addiction (NIDA, 2021).
Relapse Prevention for Meth
In order to prevent relapse on meth, it is important for people suffering from meth addiction to learn other ways to cope with discomfort, as well as rewire the brain to accept and appreciate delayed gratification. Rehab for meth addiction will provide the safety and comfort needed to successfully detox from meth.
Quality treatment centers offer controlled environments that protect against “triggers”, or reminders, of past meth-induced euphoria to lower the risk of relapse. Due to the fact that detoxing from meth removes methamphetamine from the body, not the brain, people suffering from an addiction to meth need to receive treatment for the lingering psychological symptoms in rehab for meth addiction.
Methamphetamine Use Disorder Levels of Severity
Frequently Asked Questions about Meth
There are various nicknames or street names for methamphetamines, including, but definitely not limited to:
- Hillbilly Diamonds
Meth is extremely addictive, some individuals get addicted to meth after trying it only once— others may get addicted to meth after running through the highs and lows of the meth use cycle a few times. How long it takes to get addicted to meth depends on many factors like family history of addiction, meth use quantity, frequency of meth use, tolerance to mind-altering substances, etc.
Yes, you can experience symptoms of withdrawal from meth. Meth withdrawal symptoms include irregular heart beats, high blood pressure, psychosis, severe depression, chemical imbalance, dehydration, malnutrition, etc.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth Addiction Treatment
Meth addiction rehab begins treatment with both detox and rehabilitation simultaneously. Meth detox without true rehabilitation is most commonly associated with very short-lived abstinence followed by relapse. Data has consistently revealed that detox alongside rehab yields the highest odds of sustained successful recovery from meth dependence. What we mean by rehabilitation, in this sense, is intensive therapies and other tools like coping skills. Through meth addiction rehab, our treatment teaches guests to identify their triggers and promotes relapse prevention that extends beyond physically removing meth from their system.
What is Meth Rehab Like?
Holistic rehab for meth addiction treats recovery as a process that involves the mind, body, and spirit. You cannot just treat the body and expect to stay sober, we believe mental health and overall wellness is key to a successful recovery process. Intensive therapies are a major factor of our programs, and unlike most rehab centers, we begin therapy sessions with our guests while they are in our medical detox program. Starting therapy right away offers you the best chance of staying sober, even if you are only participating in our medical detox program. Part of our philosophy is to uncover the root cause of your addiction, and we use therapies to do this.
Rehab for meth addiction should use a combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques to help people recovering from meth addiction cope with the depression and anxiety that accompanies meth withdrawal. In addition, counseling also teaches you how to avoid relapse, providing coping skills to overcome stress-related triggers at home and at work using dialectical behavioral therapy. Group counseling introduces guests to the group process, cultivates self-help techniques, and promotes a sense of community in which guests help one another deal with their shared difficulties. In individual counseling, our addiction therapists work with guests to set recovery goals and instill a sense of passion for their recovery. Alongside this, guests are counseled on how to handle the inevitable consequences that meth use brings, and are paired with a case manager who will help him or her handle any ongoing legal troubles, housing issues, employment issues, etc.
Our Methamphetamine Recovery Programs
After medical detox at Royal Life Centers, guests begin transitioning to the most important part of treatment, a residential inpatient program. Residential inpatient is a comprehensive structured treatment environment. Treatment during rehab for meth is focused on neuropsychiatric, psychological and social aspects of addiction. Our programs are all heavily dependent on therapy— intensive therapies are provided to help you identify and understand your drug addiction, as well as provide the insight and tools to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Our individualized treatment programs allow you to design your treatment plan, choosing the therapies you need and extra support to achieve your goals. At Royal Life Centers, we introduce you to self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in order to begin building a sober support network. Our residential inpatient program is 2-weeks in length, while our outpatient services are a part of our 12-week program that transitions guests from a partial hospitalization program (PHP) to an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
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