Methamphetamines, or crystal meth, have become one of the most widely abused drugs in the US. Some studies show that over 1.5 million Americans use crystal meth every year. Treatment for crystal meth addiction is now more important than ever. These drugs can have serious health impacts after only one use. What exactly is crystal meth, and how can meth addiction be treated?
How Meth Affects The Body
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine. Methamphetamines are potent, man-made stimulants. The drug is typically manufactured from pseudoephedrine and can be made to smoke, ingest, snort or inject. Crystal meth is the form made to smoke. This method is the most popular in the US due to the longer-lasting high it creates. Because it is man-made, meth is a far more powerful stimulant than cocaine. Smoking crystal meth causes an almost immediate and intense high. The high itself only lasts a few minutes. The effects on the body, though, last much longer. Once meth enters the bloodstream, the drug basically hijacks the brain’s functions. The brain immediately mass-produces dopamine, which is a pleasure hormone. At the same time, meth partially blocks the dopamine receptors in the brain. This causes heightened anxiety and decreased fatigue. Other immediate symptoms include:
- Increased activity and wakefulness
- Increased respiration
- rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Decreased appetite
Long term, meth begins to degrade the brain’s ability to function. Brain scans show that meth actually rewires the brain over time which alters decision-making abilities. This condition is known as Substance Use Disorder (SUD). The brain will send out distress signals to the body if the substance is not there. These distress signals are called withdrawal. Without medical treatment, withdrawal from meth is highly dangerous. Many people fear seeking treatment for meth addiction simply out of fear of withdrawal. Unfortunately, staying on meth is even more dangerous. Long term effects include:
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Physical changes to the brain
- Degradation in motor skills
- Unpredictable or violent behavior
- Severe dental problems
- Weight loss
How to Treat Crystal Meth Addiction
Clearly, SUD from crystal meth misuse is a serious medical condition. If you are currently using meth and want to reclaim your life, there is good news. With the right medical and therapeutic treatment, recovery is possible. Many thousands of people have successfully recovered from crystal meth addiction, and you can join their ranks! The first and hardest step is to admit that you need help. A recovery center like Harmony Oaks will then craft a treatment plan for your specific needs.
Medically Supervised Detox
The first stage of treatment is detoxification or detox. If you are using meth, it is critically important that you seek a medically supervised detox. Detox centers are clean, comfortable facilities staffed 24 hours a day by a medical care team. Doctors will provide appropriate treatment for your symptoms, and provide measures to keep you comfortable. You will likely have either a private or semi-private room, and plenty of nutritious food and fluids will be provided. This phase of treatment typically lasts 1-2 weeks but can vary based on your specific needs.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Once you have completed detox, you will be either moved or admitted into a medication-assisted treatment program. In all likelihood, this will be either a residential or partial hospitalization program. Residential programs are a hospital-like setting with medical teams on standby 24 hours a day. Partial hospitalization allows you to stay in a sober living facility with other patients at night. At Harmony Oaks, we offer clean and spacious housing in a gender-specific setting. You will have all of the creature comforts of home without the added stressors of drugs or alcohol. With MAT, your care team will continue to treat ongoing symptoms along with other medical issues you may be facing. At the same time, you will spend all day in therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you identify triggers for use and learn coping strategies. Trauma-Informed Care can help you process and work through traumatic events in your life. Most facilities also offer family therapy to help your loved ones during and after treatment. You may also have the option to attend 12 step meetings. Take advantage of all that your program has to offer.
Harmony Oaks Recovery Can Help
Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failing. Moreover, if you are currently living with crystal meth addiction, it is not your fault. If you are ready to pursue recovery, contact us today! Our team is available 24 hours a day to answer questions and help you begin your recovery journey. Most major insurance plans are accepted. You can visit our website or call us at (423) 708-4961. We will treat you with the utmost dignity and respect, and help you regain the life you deserve!