Crystal Meth Rehab & Treatment

Crystal meth is one of the most addictive illegal substances on the market today. It devastates lives and communities, and people who are addicted to meth place a strain not just on themselves and their families, but also on the criminal justice system and the health care system. Rates of crystal meth abuse have been pretty stagnant so, while it is positive that they are not rising, they aren’t dropping either, which is an issue of concern. This type of addiction is hard to treat, but not impossible.

Crystal Meth Addiction and Therapy

Two methods that have shown promising results with meth addictions are group counseling and individual therapy. During individual therapy, patients meet with a trained counselor, where they learn what the issues are that have contributed to them becoming addicted in the first place. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to develop new strategies and coping skills that can be used whenever users are confronted with a trigger that would usually lead to them reaching for drugs. In group counseling sessions, meanwhile, recovering patients learn sober social skills. Furthermore, they can both learn from and mentor others at different stages of recovery. Two common types of therapy exist for meth addiction, which re the Matrix Model and CBT (cognitive behavior therapy).

  1. The Matrix Model

The Matrix Model was developed specifically for addictions to stimulant drugs like methamphetamine. The goal of the model is to enable people to become abstinent and maintain that abstinence through a structured, comprehensive program. Under this model, the therapist takes on a dynamic role, which is that of a teacher and a coach. This gives patients the encouragement and support they need to enable their recovery. Patients learn to build a true and genuine relationship with their therapist, which helps them to build their self-respect and self-esteem.

The Matrix Model includes a number of specific things, namely:

  • Early recovery skills groups
  • Social support groups
  • Drug education
  • Family and group therapy
  • Self-help
  • Regular drug screening
  • Family education
  • Relapse prevention

The Matrix Model has been extensively studied and has been demonstrated to be very beneficial for the treatment of meth addiction. It also helps to improve mental health, as well as lowering high risk sexual behaviors.

  1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of treatment in which the connection between behaviors, feelings, and thoughts is the primary focus. The goal is to change the way people behave, feel, and think when confronted with certain situations. Recovering patients are taught to develop more positive coping mechanisms whenever they are faced with a trigger or experience cravings. Some of the things that they will learn include:

  • What the ramifications would be if they continued to use crystal meth
  • How to recognize cravings
  • How to identify situations that could tempt them to turn to crystal math, and learning how to avoid them
  • How to deal with any craving when it does occur

CBT provides patients with strategies that they can apply to everyday situations in real life. They learn how to deal with temptations and cravings, and also with life’s general stresses. Recovering patients will also be provided with a number of coping mechanisms, including:

  • Relaxation through deep breathing and guided imagery, which helps to calm people down
  • Talking to people whom they trust, which has been shown to help reduce the strength of cravings
  • Introducing patients to sober, healthy activities that they can engage in whenever they experience a craving. These distractions must be healthy and positive, and include things like yoga, playing an instrument, writing, painting, going for a hike or walk, drawing, or playing a type of sports.
  • Self-talk, which essentially means that patients learn how to encourage themselves, reminding them of all the positive things they have done and how far they have already come.

There have been significant research into CBT and it has been shown that the strategies that people learn during this counseling tend to remain in place. If it is combined with medication, it is even more effective in decreasing cravings and retaining sobriety in the long run.

Medication Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to approve any medication specifically for the treatment of crystal meth addiction. However, research is ongoing into the effectiveness of both vaccines and medication. So far, promising results have been found in:

  1. Bupropion, which is a type of antidepressant that can help reduce negative feelings during withdrawal, while also improving overall cognitive function
  2. Methylphenidate, which is an FDA approved drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. It is a stimulant drug, but there is reason to believe it could help decrease crystal meth use.
  3. First generation antipsychotics, which are dopamine antagonists and are currently being trialed as there is evidence to suggest they reduce the effects of meth withdrawal
  4. Naltrexone, which is a medication that has been approved for treating opioid addiction and could help to decrease the feelings of cravings in meth users, as well as reduce the reward receptors should they continue to use the drug
  5. A vaccine, which is currently being researched. The goal is to create a substance that completely stops the brain from releasing rewarding chemicals when someone uses meth. Hence, should patients relapse after they have been provided with the vaccine, they will not be able to experience any of the perceived positive effects of the drug.

Crystal Meth Treatment Facilities

Crystal meth is almost always treated first in inpatient rehab facilities. There are a number of options to choose from, including:

  1. Luxury facilities, which are almost like resorts with private rooms and complimentary therapies
  2. Executive facilities, where people can continue to meet at least some of their professional responsibilities
  3. Private or state programs, which may also offer outpatient addiction treatment. These programs are less comfortable and do not have as much of a focus on maintaining a job, but they do offer all the counseling and therapy that has shown to be beneficial for meth addicts. Furthermore, they are a lot more affordable.

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