Is Meth Addiction Recovery Possible?
Methamphetamine abuse quickly leads to addiction, and once an individual becomes addicted to the drug, it is nearly impossible for them to stop abusing it on their own. While there are many rehab centers and treatment types that can be used to help a person recover from methamphetamine addiction, it is not an easy process.
Yes, methamphetamine addiction recovery is possible, but certain aspects of the drug’s addiction syndrome ensure that a person’s life may never be the same again. According to the NIDA, “Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative consequences,” not just that of addiction, which take a considerable amount of time and effort to reverse (and others which may not be reversible).
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Meth Addiction Treatment
It is possible for someone to stop abusing methamphetamine and to recover from their addiction to the drug. That individual will need to attend formal addiction treatment in order to have the best chance at recovery, though. As stated by the NIDA, “The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction at this point are behavioral therapies.”
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- This type of behavioral treatment is often used to help individuals who have been abusing drugs for years learn better coping mechanisms and correct their problematic behaviors. “Specific techniques” of the therapy “include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use, self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use, and developing strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations” (NIDA).
- The Matrix Model
- With this type of therapy, patients are encouraged by their therapists and forge strong bonds with them. They are able to become more engaged in their own treatment which is especially beneficial for those who start treatment involuntarily. Patients also receive drug education and are given frequent drug tests in order for clinicians to stay aware of their progress.
- Contingency management (CM)
- CM is used to correct the changes that have been made to the reward pathway as a result of long-term methamphetamine abuse. Patients are given vouchers for drug-free activities or necessary items as a reward for abstinence and are able to redirect their thoughts toward more positive desires and goals.
“A number of studies have demonstrated that participants treated using the Matrix Model show statistically significant reductions in drug and alcohol use, improvements in psychological indicators, and reduced risky sexual behaviors associated with HIV transmission.” Since the Matrix Model is specifically geared to individuals suffering from stimulant addiction, many methamphetamine addicts are able to receive a great deal of help from this program. The other types of behavioral therapy have also proven to be successful in reducing methamphetamine abuse.
Patients will need to attend a rehab facility, either inpatient- or outpatient-based depending on how intense their addiction is and whether or not they need 24-hour care. Every individual needs to be assessed and given a specific treatment schedule based on their personal needs, but in most cases, treatment under 90 days is not as successful as longer programs are.
Rehab for methamphetamine addiction helps with recovery in many ways, but there are other important aspects that must be considered when people attempt to recover from abusing this extremely debilitating, highly addictive drug.
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Recovering from Meth Addiction’s Effects
When people become addicted to methamphetamine, the drug doesn’t just cause addiction. These individuals often lose their jobs, their money, and those closest to them. Methamphetamine also causes many health effects, some of which take a very long time to be resolved. According to CESAR, “Brain damage similar to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Diseases” is a side effect that is often associated with long-term meth abuse. This effect also goes hand-in-hand with many other cognitive and psychological issues caused by meth addiction, including:
- Stimulant-induced psychosis
- This disorder is characterized by extreme paranoia, hallucinations, violent outbursts, and picking at the skin.
- Memory loss
- Impaired verbal learning skins
- Emotional problems
- Reduced motor skills
The psychosis has been known to be reversible, but it can last up to a year after the individual stops abusing methamphetamine. Even then, the person still may experience periodic psychotic episodes years later when triggered, but these can be treated. For the most part, patients will experience recovery from these symptoms along with their addiction recovery. However, the other issues are the result of “changes in brain structure and function” which are only known to be partly reversible (NIDA 1).
Recovery in certain areas of the brain and its functions was able to be found between 1 and 2 years. “But function in other brain regions did not recover even after 14 months of abstinence, indicating that some methamphetamine induced changes are very long lasting.” In addition, individuals who have been addicted to the drug are more likely to experience a stroke than those who haven’t as well as Parkinson’s disease itself. Some of the results of these side effects are not able to be remedied, no matter what is done.
Methamphetamine addicts also experience one of the most difficult withdrawal syndromes of any drug. Because it is a stimulant, it can cause a brief set of symptoms like fatigue, increased appetite, agitation, and nightmares that usually last for a few weeks. However, depression and cravings, both symptoms that are caused by meth withdrawal, can last for months, even years, after a person stops abusing the drug. And these cravings can suddenly hit the individual even after they have been sober for a very long time.
Treatment can help you overcome meth addiction. Call 800-481-6320 toll free to find help today.
Is Meth Recovery Possible?
When people start rehab, they often wonder whether they will be able to recover and feel like their old selves again. The answer is that recovery from methamphetamine addiction is possible, and people who receive intensive, professional treatment involving behavioral therapy are able to do so. However, some of the results caused by meth addiction can take much longer to recover from and may, in many ways, never fully go away.
According to SAMHSA, recovery is defined as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” In many ways, methamphetamine addiction recovery is ongoing, but it is obtainable through treatment, abstinence, and resilience.