Meth Addiction Treatment

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated April 3, 2020

The addictive power of meth may seem like living without it is impossible. The good news is there are therapies that have been proven to work to end the cycle of addiction and lead to a happier, healthier life. The road is challenging, yet worthwhile. With the help of a rehabilitation center, it’s possible to start living a life of sobriety with a renewed sense of well-being and confidence. 

The most effective and commonly administered addiction treatment methods involve behavioral and contingency management therapies. Contingency management provides tangible incentives in exchange for participating in treatment and maintaining abstinence. However, to maintain sobriety for the long-term, it’s important to effectively understand and work toward building strategies and coping mechanisms to refrain from repeating similar, dangerous behavioral patterns in the future. 

The timeframe it takes a person to complete a treatment program varies depending on the individual and situation. It factors in a person’s history with meth and any other substance abuse. It accounts for age, environment, and other repressed trauma or mental disorders that may have been a contributing cause to the start of the drug abuse. A behavior treatment program typically includes: 

  • Detoxification
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step support
  • Addiction education and accountability
  • Non-drug-related activities

Each step builds upon the last to create a full continuum of care. One without the other minimizes the effectiveness and longevity of treatment. Although each part of the process may be faced with setbacks or some may be more difficult than other phases of care, it’s important to go through the healing benefits of each step versus skipping over the process to get to the end result faster.

Meth addiction doesn’t happen overnight. There are seen and unseen behaviors that led up to the decision to start using meth. This may have been going on for weeks, months, or even years. It could’ve been triggered by a traumatic incident like a death in the family. Each person’s addiction recovery journey is different based on your history and these types of factors. It means there’s no quick fix solution. It makes sense to want to heal as fast as possible, but it’s more important to be effective, however long that may take.

Detoxification: Ridding the Body of Meth and Other Toxins

No other part of treatment can begin until the body is rid of meth and all toxins and ready to start with a clean slate. Withdrawal symptoms from meth differ from that of other drugs like cocaine or heroin. These often result in mainly physical side effects of meth abuse, while withdrawal symptoms typically take a largely psychological toll. Common signs of meth withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of physical and mental energy
  • Limited interest in the current surroundings
  • Limited social functioning
  • Inability to experience pleasure as before
  • Depression

A combination of these side effects hits the hardest in the early days of withdrawal, mostly within the first 96 hours. This is coupled with strong cravings for the drug, making it more difficult to withstand detox alone. 

In addition to the persistence of depressed feelings, suicidal thoughts may occur. These types of emotions are opposite of what the high of meth provides, which is why many who try to detox on their own relapse. The meth addiction symptoms and feelings are too much to bear.

By undergoing treatment for meth through a medically managed detox program, this provides a safe space to heal. Physically, it provides 24-hour medical supervision to help manage the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and immediately provide assistance as needed. Mentally, it provides the emotional support, motivation, and accountability to keep moving forward. There’s less of a chance of relapse from occurring compared to detoxing at home.

For those who’ve struggled with meth addiction for several years, it may take longer for the symptoms to subside. These can last into the next phases of treatment even when detox is complete. There’s no way to predict exactly how the body will respond to treatment for meth, which is why each person has their own customized care plan guided by what’s best for them.

Individual and Group Therapy: Learning How to Cope 

Following detox, there is the option of residential rehab, intensive outpatient care, or a combination of both. The most common next step is rehab, which consists of at least 90 days as part of inpatient care at a treatment facility. During this more stabilized period, behavioral treatment, such as individual counseling and group therapy, is part of the treatment plan.

Both are equally important to uncover deep-rooted issues that may have led to drug addiction. It’s also valuable to hear from others who have gone through similar challenges to know you are supported and not alone. The goal of crystal meth addiction treatment is to create structure and a strong foundation to promote confidence for independent sober living in the future. 

Individual and group therapy provides tools, strategies, and coping mechanisms to help identify triggers and temptations in the future and know how to avoid or stop them before abusing meth again. During this time, it’s also essential to start rebuilding your physical and mental health. A few of the strategies include: 

  • Learning how to cope with drug cravings
  • Offering suggestions with how to deal with relapse, if it occurs
  • Talking about stressful life issues, such as work, family, etc.
  • Inviting family members to develop health communications, when applicable
  • Addressing other possible co-existing mental health conditions

A typical day of residential rehab includes meditation, physical exercise, outdoor activity, and quiet time alone. Working all of these elements into one program serves the body and mind as a whole for complete healing, rather than only concentrating on a few areas. Since they’re all connected, when one feels out of balance, it will eventually affect the other.

Post-Rehab Care and Services: Building Long-Term Sobriety

After graduating from residential rehab, outpatient care and support services are the next step in care. These build upon the strategies and tools obtained during meth rehab. It allows a person to live independently in their chosen sober and safe living environment. The schedule flexibility makes it easier to continue implementing healthy structure into day-to-day life without disruption. 

Learning the 12 steps of accountability and growth and becoming more educated about meth addiction help to maintain sobriety. It continues building plans and goals made for post-treatment. Signature services offered by Northbound include: 

  • CollegeBound®: A rehab program that enables a person going through treatment to enroll in school with preparation strategies, guidance, and mentorship. 
  • CareerBound®: A proprietary work program that allows those in meth addiction recovery to secure employment and feel empowered as they continue in their newly attained sobriety. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: DBT-trained therapists lead participants in exploring skills that focus on gaining awareness and insight into their own meth addiction recovery by using DBT skills. 
  • Trauma Program: Psychological trauma is often at the heart of addiction. This rehab program focuses on uncovering those traumas and working through them in an integrated way during addiction recovery. 
  • Music Program: This program offers music as a way to promote healing through self-expression as a complement to other personalized approaches. 
  • Family Program: For four days every month, family members are invited to reconnect with the person in treatment in an effort to repair damaged relationships caused by meth abuse and learn about the roots of drug addiction.

Each of these specialized programs focus primarily on a core goal or issue. A person may choose one as per their individual care plan. This is in addition to the broader outlined treatment of outpatient care and support services. It further strengthens the ability to maintain sober living and address long-held issues that may have been causing damage prior to when the drug abuse began. 

This phase of care along with addiction support services is recommended for four-plus months to round out a full year of continuous sobriety. Again, each person guides their own journey with the help of their dedicated care team, so this may extend past 12 months to achieve the best possible state of mind to stand strong in sober living. 

Now Is the Right Time to Seek Treatment

Once addiction has taken hold of the body, treatment is the best way to abstain from using again and set a clear path toward sobriety. However, people are struggling with meth abuse or have struggled in the past and need extra assistance and attention to prevent relapse and need this assistance as well. It’s available to all in the capacity at which it would support each person’s health and wellness goals. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and economic background. Fortunately, there are substance abuse treatment options for all. There is a structure and therapies put in place with the customization available to adapt to a person’s individual needs and pace. 

There are a wave of emotions and various feelings that arise when you no longer have the crutch of meth to tell how to feel or act. When struggling with meth abuse on any level, seeking the help of others is key to find a healthier path for the future.

Sources:

  1. “What Treatments Are Effective for People Who Misuse Methamphetamine? | National Institute on Drug Abuse.” Drugabuse.gov. N.p., n.d. , https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-treatments-are-effective-people-who-misuse-methamphetamine
  2. “Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Getting Help, Detox, Treatment, and More.” Healthline.com. N.p., 21 June 2018., https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/meth-addiction
  3. “Health Effects of Methamphetamine : Medical Complications | Methoide.” Arizona.edu. N.p., n.d., https://methoide.fcm.arizona.edu/infocenter/index.cfm?stid=210

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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