People are often under the impression that addiction is a choice, brought on by willful continued abuse of a substance. But many people find that they are born with various addictive tendencies or that once they try a substance for the first time, they become addicted.
Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is one such substance to which some people find themselves quickly addicted. It is a drug that users find very pleasurable and for this reason, among others, it can be very difficult to quit and can often lead to relapse.
Here at Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we arm our clients with tools to help prevent relapse and pursue a sober life beyond our walls.
WHAT is methamphetamine and how it works
Methamphetamine is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II stimulant. Though it is prescribed infrequently, it has been used by patients to treat ADHD or to help with short term weight loss.
It is more commonly recognized as a white, powdery substance that can be smoked, snorted, ingested, or injected. It is a very powerful stimulant and releases large amounts of dopamine, a pleasure inducing chemical in the brain, while also destroying dopamine receptors. This means that each time the user takes the drug they need to take a higher dose to get the same effect as their original use, causing a perpetual cycle of need and use that becomes increasingly challenging to end.
Signs and symptoms of meth use
Meth is a powerful drug and, consequently, has many powerful side effects. Familiarizing yourself with some of the more prevalent symptoms of use could be helpful to a friend or loved one you believe could have a problem. This way when they are ready or want help, you will be armed with information and available to be of assistance.
The following symptoms could be a good indicator of whether or not a friend or loved one may be abusing meth:
- Constant grinding of teeth/tooth damage
- Hair loss
- Irrational behavior
- Loss of appetite
- Manic behavior
- Open sores
- Unsafe sexual behaviors
These are just a few of the many symptoms that accompany meth use. Also noteworthy is that the symptoms may differ when the user is high versus when they are sober, i.e. mania vs. depression.
Why getting treatment may be difficult
Most methamphetamine users derive a lot of physical and emotional pleasure while high, and thus it is rare that an addict will seek out treatment of their own accord. It is also very difficult to engage in logical conversation with an active user; if your loved one needs treatment convincing them can prove a long and difficult process and it is often best to wait until they hit their bottom or come to you seeking help to find treatment.
While it can be tempting to try to influence them, it is best not to try to push them towards treatment or to treat them yourselves; drug addiction is a tricky and dangerous thing and best handled by trained professionals.
It is wise to prepare yourself with information and to develop a plan of action for if they come to you for help. Know that this may be when things seem most dire or they are given no other options save jail time or court appointed treatment. Try not to be upset if these are their circumstances, many addicts find success in court appointed treatment because it is the final straw that pushes them towards help.
Treatment for methamphetamine addiction
Here at Silicon, we have found the best way to treat methamphetamine addiction as a multi-faceted approach catered to the specific individual. Many users come with other dependencies as well as meth or are suffering from mental and behavioral health issues. Treatment by an inexperienced or untrained person can unfortunately make matters worse.
Here are some things you can expect:
During the intake process we interview each patient, learning more about their use and history, to help us design a treatment program specific to their needs.
This is also an important time for drug detox. When patients arrive, they are just finishing using, and are affected by the drug; while in this state little can be accomplished towards their mental and emotional rehabilitation, so it is important that they first detoxify their body from the drug. Detox can be dangerous and physically debilitating for an unsupervised user. We ensure that each patient is given the care they need so they can be safely weaned off of the substance.
After the detox process the patient is ready to start their treatment. This can last 1-3 months and typically consists of both group and individual therapy sessions overseen by therapists who specialize in drug addiction. A counselor is also appointed to each patient who helps to design their program and keep them on track.
Treatment with Silicon
Meth addiction is serious and can be difficult and dangerous. Here at Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we take meth addiction treatment seriously and employ well educated and experienced therapists to help addicts on their journey towards sobriety. Our drug detox affiliates’ facilities are medically supervised so we can ensure the comfort and safety of our patients.
We offer outpatient services, depending on the individual’s needs. We work with them and our experienced staff to create a program that will specifically address their treatment and help them to attain and maintain lasting sobriety from meth and other substances.
We look forward to helping you and your loved ones.