Methamphetamine addiction is one of the most physically damaging addictions, oftentimes leaving recovering addicts with diminished cognitive abilities. The unusually damaging effects of the drug require a unique form of treatment in order for addicts to remain in the recovery process.
Researching available treatment programs is an important step in finding the type of meth addiction help a person needs. As meth addictions cause damage to a person’s emotional, physical and psychological health, programs offering effective meth addiction help will take a multi-pronged approach in treating and supporting recovering addicts.
Meth Addiction Treatment Approaches
Meth use produces a rush of prolonged feelings of pleasure that result from large amounts of dopamine released in the brain. Dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter chemical plays an essential role in regulating emotions as well as maintaining a person’s sense of overall well-being. Ongoing meth use gradually destroys dopamine brain cell receptors to the point where a person is no longer able to experience pleasure without the drug’s effects.
While dopamine cell receptors can heal over time in recovering addicts, in many instances, a person’s cognitive brain functions sustain long-term if not permanent damage. Chronic meth abuse can cause a range of long-term side effects, some of which include:
- Aggressive behavior
Addiction programs specializing in meth addiction help must address both the physical and psychological damage done by ongoing meth use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies offer the most effective treatments for meth addiction help.
One treatment model in particular, known as the Matrix Model, uses a comprehensive treatment approach that combines individual counseling, behavioral therapy, family education and 12-step program supports on a long-term basis. Family education, ongoing drug testing and the promotion of non-drug-related activities are also parts of the treatment process.
In order for any one meth addiction help program to address a person’s specific treatment needs, a thorough assessment process must be conducted before any form of treatment begins. A well-conducted assessment reveals a range of vital information needed to properly treat a person’s addiction problem.
Information revealed by an assessment includes:
- Medical care needs
- Underlying psychological conditions
- Social service needs
- Counseling objectives
- Past drug history
- Family drug history
While medication therapies often play an essential role in treating other types of addiction, no known medications exist for meth addiction help treatment purposes.
Things to Consider
As meth addictions create long-term problems for recovering addicts, an effective meth addiction help program will offer long-term treatment options. A meth addiction help program should last a minimum of three months and run up to a year in duration.
Other treatment services to look for include:
- Relapse prevention help
- Drug addiction education
- A highly structured inpatient treatment environment
- A comprehensive treatment approach
- Offer life skills training to compensate for diminished cognitive function
- A highly structured, long-term outpatient program
As many recovering addicts are left with little if any employment options, meth addiction help programs should also offer access to vocational, educational and employment opportunities.