Becoming addicted to methamphetamine is a terrifying experience that many meth abusers believe will not end. According to CESAR, tweakers or users who abuse meth in a binge pattern and experience severe insomnia as a result can do so for upwards of fifteen days, continuing to abuse the drug without sleep and becoming extremely paranoid. If an individual begins to abuse the drug in this manner, it can start to seem like they will not be able to be helped.
However, there are many types of help for methamphetamine addicts. And while the drug can have an intense grip on tweakers and other addicted individuals, it is not too late for them to receive the help they need.
In most instances, an individual who is already addicted to meth will need to attend a formal treatment facility in order to recover, and usually an inpatient program will be necessary. While some meth addicts can attend outpatient treatment if they have a strong support system, the likelihood of the individual experiencing severe psychosis as a result of meth abuse and withdrawal may call for most to be treated as inpatients for the safety of themselves and others.
There are many treatment facilities that specialize in meth addiction and different treatment types will be used as a part of an individualized program for each patient. Doctors and nurses will care for the individual, and they will slowly be able to work toward recovery. It will nearly always be recommended that a meth-addicted individual attend some type of treatment facility in order to recover properly.
According to the NIDA, “The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction at this point are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency-management interventions.” These treatments can be found at a rehab facility (either outpatient- or inpatient-based), a doctor’s office, with an individualized drug counselor, or, sometimes, even at a community center.
Some of the most effective therapies for methamphetamine addicts are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- CBT teaches addicts a new way to view their drug abuse and better habits that they can use to fight their cravings and triggers in their day-to-day lives.
- Contingency-management (CM)
- CM uses vouchers to reinforce positive behavior in order to make changes to the individual’s reward center which has been altered by drug abuse.
- The Matrix Model
- The NIDA states, “The Matrix Model, a 16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities, has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse.”
- Group therapy
- Group therapy combines the benefits of resocialization and group reassurance in order to allow addicted individuals to help one another as well as themselves.
Therapy is particularly effective for treating methamphetamine addicts, especially now when there are no approved medications to treat methamphetamine addiction. There are, however, many organizations working on remedying this issue.
Despite the success of therapy for treating meth addiction, the NLM states, “Psychosis and paranoia may last up to 1 year despite aggressive medical treatment.” This is why an individual should continue to attend therapy even after their initial treatment for meth addiction and also why they should be checked for any co-occurring mental disorders. Whether or not they are a product of their meth abuse, these disorders can make it much more difficult for an individual to recover and must be treated as well in order for the addict to have a chance at a strong, solid recovery.
For someone who is currently dealing with meth withdrawal (or about to go through meth withdrawal), detox centers can be very helpful. An individual can check in and be treated with medication to diminish their withdrawal symptoms as well as therapy to make their transition into addiction treatment easier.
To be clear, detox is not a treatment for meth addiction but is is a way that a meth addict can find help. There are many individuals who start out in detox for meth and achieve strong recoveries, but they must attend addiction treatment in order to do so. Detox will help with the intense withdrawal symptoms meth addicts encounter and protect them from hurting themselves (as detox from meth can cause severe depression), but it will not treat the addiction itself. It can, however, be a good way for an individual to transition into addiction treatment.
Crystal Meth Anonymous, or CMA, is another program that meth addicts can look to for help. There are other support groups like CMA so if this does not benefit you, continue looking for the right group. Support groups can be very helpful by giving members a way to work on their addictions that they can attend around work, school, and other responsibilities.
Support groups are usually free and have meetings in many different places. You can almost always find a support group meeting that will be held somewhere near you if you research meeting times online. Look for a support group meeting near you in order to find quick help for methamphetamine addiction, especially if you are worried you may be falling off the wagon after formal treatment.
In some cases, an individual won’t be able to wait for admittance into a detox center or will not be helped by a support group meeting. Some individuals who are addicted to meth, like those who have been tweaking for several days or weeks, will need immediate medical care right away, especially if they are undergoing a methamphetamine overdose. These individuals should always be brought to the hospital first.
According to CESAR, “A person should use extreme caution when dealing with an individual on methamphetamine.” This is why, if someone you know is abusing meth in high doses and displaying violent or otherwise dangerous behavior, you should call 911. Also if the individual experiences a seizure, stroke, or a heart attack, you should call 911 as well. Hospitals will have the kinds of immediate treatments needed in these cases.