What Is Crystal Methamphetamine?
Crystal meth is an extremely high-potency central nervous system stimulant that tricks dopamine receptors into flooding your system with this motivating, feel-good chemical. Dopamine’s natural function is to inform our behavior so we repeat desirable evolutionary tasks like eating, reproducing and exercising. Drugs like meth hijack this system, and the chemical that’s supposed to be on our side turns against us, urging us to repeat the harmful action that caused the dopamine spike.
Over time, the supply of this essential neurotransmitter becomes exhausted, and the only way to feel normal is through drug use. The brain becomes hyper-focused on feeding cravings for the only thing that provides pleasure, and this leads to serious problems for many people.
Even though the drug is so addictive, it’s still possible to turn your life around and rediscover life outside of substance abuse.
Side Effects of Meth Abuse
Drug abuse comes with a full list of health risks, and long-term use leads to more severe side effects. Read on to find out more about the specific risks associated with meth use.
- Dilated pupils
- High blood pressure
- Strange eye movements
- Dental problems
- Weight loss
- High tolerance
- Scabs and bruises from picking and itching skin
- Mood swings
- Impaired judgment
- Worsening of mental health
- Change in friendship groups
- Involvement in crime
- Problems at work or school
- Withdrawing from friends and family members
- Spending most of your time obtaining or using meth
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Picking at skin and hair
- No longer taking part in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy
- Engaging in unsafe behavior
Crystal meth usually comes as clear crystals, but sometimes, it has a white, blue, brown, orange, yellow or gray tinge. It’s most commonly smoked but can also be injected or snorted, both of which are even higher-risk methods of administration — although there is no safe method or dosage for this life-destroying illicit drug.
Identifying meth users is easier if you know what type of paraphernalia to look out for. Some of the most common items used with the drug include:
- Glass pipes
- Homemade pipes made from light bulbs or cans
- Blackened tinfoil
- Empty ink pens
- Cut straws
- Small, clear drug baggies
Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body no longer gets a substance it’s used to having. Unfortunately, as complex and smart as the human body is, addictive drugs have found a way to hijack our pleasure and reward systems. That’s why someone who’s in the throes of addiction finds it so hard to resist their cravings; their body is crying out for the substance of abuse.
Withdrawal is a temporary state, and overcoming it is much easier in a treatment facility that’s designed to help people in that exact position. This is the most challenging aspect of recovery because in the short term, the rewards of drug use are so much more compelling. It takes a great deal of strength and outside support to get through it, but it’s possible for anyone.
Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal
- Sleep disturbances
Methamphetamine Abuse Withdrawal Timeline
The severity and duration of meth withdrawal is dependent on myriad factors, including how long the person has been using, age, weight, height, gender, history of substance abuse and fitness. In most cases, the first 24 to 48 hours after cessation are the most difficult, with the acute stage lasting for a week. Symptoms tend to persist in diminishing severity for several weeks, sometimes lasting several months in extreme cases.
What Are the Dangers of Methamphetamine Withdrawal?
The withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping meth are severe, and the sufferer is at a significantly increased risk of harm from seizures or self-harm. Additionally, hallucinations and paranoid delusions are common and often cause people to lash out at themselves or others.
Who Needs to Seek Medical Treatment?
The extreme risks that come along with stopping methamphetamine mean anyone who’s considering quitting after ongoing meth use should seek medical attention. At rehab, trained staff provide care and support, and the other people going through recovery offer a listening ear and provide welcome distraction from cravings and withdrawal.
Medication assisted treatment (MAT) during detox can also significantly decrease a person’s discomfort during the most challenging stages of withdrawal. If you’re worried about the physical and mental effects of stopping methamphetamine use, it’s best to seek medical care.
Rehab Treatment Options
For many people who get caught up in meth addiction, attending a drug addiction treatment program is the best way to start healing. Without effective treatment, you risk going through a cycle of quitting and starting up again because the underlying issues never get addressed without therapy from health care professionals.
The style of treatment you require will vary depending on your individual circumstances. Doctors at the treatment center help you determine what’s best for you after you go through the initial assessment stage.
Detoxification and MAT
The first week or so of inpatient treatment is usually spent going through detox. This is where the harmful chemicals leave your body and your immune system prepares for the rehab portion of treatment.
While the FDA hasn’t yet approved MAT for meth addiction, promising clinical trials are showing that a combination of naltrexone and bupropion is effective in helping ease withdrawal symptoms.
For most people who have been using methamphetamine for more than a month, residential rehab is the appropriate first stage of treatment. Removing yourself entirely from your current situation provides the motivation for change while helping you get into a healthy daily routine.
Instead of being responsible for getting yourself to and from appointments, you just show up. You also have an entire support network of potential friends who are going through exactly what you’re experiencing.
Partial Hospitalization Program
Not everyone is able to attend an inpatient program, so a PHP offers the next best thing. The programs are the same; the only difference is that you sleep at the rehab center in the former and go to bed and wake up at home in the latter.
Intensive Outpatient Program
An IOP is the logical next step along the path to long-term sobriety for someone with a severe substance use disorder who’s completed inpatient or PHP rehab. It can also serve as the first stage for an individual with a mild or moderate methamphetamine use disorder. Clients attend group and individual therapy a few hours each day, six days a week, for up to eight weeks.
General Outpatient Treatment
GOP is the final stage in the continuum of care, and patients usually come to rehab once a week for several hours. The length of this type of program can be indefinite, with many successful alumni opting to attend GOP as part of aftercare.
Therapeutic Treatment Approaches for Crystal Meth Recovery
Therapeutic treatment for methamphetamine varies between individuals, so it’s important to choose a rehab program that offers a broad range of modalities.
Individual therapy is essential for addiction recovery because it helps the sufferer understand what triggers them to abuse drugs. Counselors also help you identify why these triggers exist so you can develop new coping strategies and learn to implement them when hardship occurs. There are two styles of treatment that have been found to be most effective for meth addiction: CBT and contingency management.
During cognitive behavioral therapy, you learn how early beliefs shape your behavior in ways you’re probably not aware of. By bringing awareness to what causes you trouble and working with a professional to alter the thought patterns that lead to unwanted actions, you can avoid substance abuse and learn to use new coping skills to deal with challenging emotions.
Contingency management is another highly effective form of addiction treatment that’s shown particular promise treating substances like crystal meth. It involves using positive reinforcement and a reward system to encourage sobriety.
Group therapy is just as important as one-on-one counseling because it provides context about addiction. While recovering, it’s crucial that you gain perspective over your own situation because addiction has a tendency to draw the sufferers attention inwards, blinding them to the struggles of other people. Support groups improve empathy and other pro-social skills that will help you as you move forward in life as a sober, happy person.
Addiction very rarely affects only the person with the disease. In most cases, addiction has a domino effect on families, communities and society as a whole. Family members also sometimes play a role in the mindset that causes the sufferer to abuse substances — often unknowingly — and family therapy can help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding what’s best for your recovery.
Relapse Prevention Following Meth Rehab
While rehab lays the essential foundation for meth recovery, it’s just the beginning of the process. Once you’re armed with the tools addiction treatment provides, you’re ready to apply them to your daily life. Just like with anything important, you need to continue to work hard to ensure you remain sober.
Complacency is one of the leading causes of relapse, but provided you keep this in mind and attend some form of ongoing care, you can enjoy a long, happy life of sobriety!
All good rehab centers have an aftercare program to stay in touch with alumni and offer ongoing support and advice. Addiction recovery is a lifestyle, and treatment plans should make it clear that successfully completing rehab is just the beginning of the journey.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes offer a bridge between rehab and ordinary daily life. For some people, they’re essential because they get you away from a potentially harmful environment. Under supervision, you learn how to diplomatically navigate life in a shared house, preparing you for a more independent lifestyle when you’re ready.
For many people, 12-step meetings are crucial for long-term recovery, and they continue to attend for years, even decades, after rehab. You get the chance to listen to other people and share your story, and as time passes, you become a mentor to newer members of the group. In addition to securing your position in recovery, it boosts your sense of pride and achievement.
How Much Does Meth Addiction Treatment Cost?
The cost of rehab varies according to the facility, but most centers are in-network with major insurance providers, and some offer financing options for people who don’t have insurance.
Insurance usually covers some or all of addiction treatment, depending on your specific policy. Substance use disorders fall under the behavioral health category, so providers are legally obliged to offer assistance in certain instances.
There are a number of ways you can raise funds to cover the cost of rehab, including:
- Loans from friends and family members
- Health care credit cards or loans
- Approaching charitable organizations
Get Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction Today
At Brookside Treatment, we’re dedicated to helping individuals with substance use disorders turn their lives around. Our comfortable drug rehab center is in a picturesque part of Kentucky, and it offers residential and outpatient programs led by kind, knowledgeable medical professionals. Call us today at 606-658-3078 or visit the website to get help now.