Methamphetamine Use Disorder Treatment
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Natalie Lindemann, Psy.D on 11/02/2022
Dr. Natalie Lindemann, Psy.D, holds a doctorate in Forensic Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Meth Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. This drug can have devastating effects on those who abuse it, and it can be hard to get clean once you start using it.
If you’re addicted to methamphetamine, don’t give up hope. Treatment centers like Zinnia Healing are available to help you recover. With the right support, you or someone you love can get clean from methamphetamine addiction and improve your quality of life. Contact us at (855) 430-9439 for more information.
Can You Get Addicted to Methamphetamine?
Yes, it is possible to become addicted to methamphetamine. When you abuse this substance, your body starts building a tolerance for the drug. This means you will need more of the substance to get high each time. Gradually, people addicted to meth are unable to stop using. They may also be at risk for social problems, and they may stop meeting their everyday responsibilities.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that was first synthesized in 1893. It can be found as a crystalline powder or pill. Methamphetamine has been shown to give users significant increases in energy levels while lowering their appetite. This causes them to lose weight rapidly. Truck drivers, athletes, military personnel, and college students are some of the people who abuse this drug to increase their energy levels.
How Is Methamphetamine Consumed or Used?
Methamphetamine can be found in many forms. The most common ways to use it are to smoke, snort, or inject the drug. With smoking, people usually heat the crystals to create a vapor and then inhale it into their lungs. Doing so will allow meth to quickly absorb into the bloodstream. Users may also dissolve meth powder under their tongue or mix it with water. This allows them to inject meth into the veins for faster results.
What Are the Risks and Causes of Methamphetamine Abuse?
The risks of meth addiction are severe, and the consequences can be life-threatening. Methamphetamine abuse leads to various physical issues. These often include:
- Cardiovascular issues
- Teeth deterioration
- Violent behavior
It can cause many mental health problems, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic attacks
Those who only use methamphetamine once or twice may still experience these dangerous psychological conditions. This is due to the drug’s effects on brain chemistry.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Abuse?
Many signs show that you or someone you know may be abusing methamphetamine. If you think you’re showing symptoms of meth addiction, reach out to a treatment center like Zinnia Healing for the help you need.
Methamphetamine abuse can cause health problems such as:
1. Extreme weight loss
Weight loss is expected with methamphetamine addiction because it suppresses appetite. Still, this weight loss can cause severe health problems if you do not start eating again.
2. Tooth decay
Methamphetamine use has been shown to cause tooth decay. This is because the drug affects saliva production.
Meth can also cause severe insomnia. Problems sleeping may lead you to use the substance again and again in an attempt to avoid sleeping altogether.
4. Lack of hygiene or grooming habits
People addicted to methamphetamine may become neglectful of their appearance. They will often stop bathing, wearing clean clothes, or brushing their teeth and hair.
5. Aggressive or violent behavior
You may become increasingly aggressive or violent during a “high.” Abusing meth may also lead to hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Coupled with aggression, it can cause you to lash out at people. This is because you believe they are trying to cause you harm.
Methamphetamine abusers may become disoriented or confused. They may also experience delusions and paranoia, causing them to behave in strange ways.
Many times, you may abuse methamphetamine to feel increasing happiness. You might continue abusing this drug because of how much you enjoy those feelings.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?
The effects of methamphetamine addiction last a long time. Even if you stop using the drug, your body and mind can still suffer from its abuse for months or even years.
Long-term methamphetamine abuse can lead to many severe health conditions. These include:
1. Brain damage
Methamphetamine is a neurotoxin. This means that it can kill neurons and cause brain damage. The drug has been shown to destroy dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters and prevent the formation of new brain synapses.
2. Mood disorders
People who use methamphetamine often have:
- Mood swings
- Other psychological conditions
These mental health problems may persist for months.
3. Organ failure
Chronic methamphetamine abuse can lead to serious cardiovascular consequences, such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney damage
It also increases the risk for infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. This is due to sharing needles or risky sexual behaviors common among those abusing drugs.
4. Seizures and strokes
These two neurological issues can occur during periods of extreme drug abuse. They are most often the result of changes in:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
These changes may be side effects of the substance’s stimulant properties.
Methamphetamine use causes long-term psychosis. This is due to the damaging effects on brain chemistry, including your serotonin and dopamine levels. People who experience severe psychological problems after using meth need professional help. It is crucial to get over these symptoms while avoiding future relapses.
6. Memory loss
Memory loss can occur as a result of damage to neurons in the brain. As a result, you may experience memory problems that persist for long periods.
7. Impaired decision-making abilities
Methamphetamine users often experience paranoia, which may lead to poor choices. This can include risky sexual or business decisions.
8. Loss of interest in activities
Chronic methamphetamine abusers lack motivation due to widespread indifference or apathy. This occurs from chronic sleep deprivation during drug binges. You may also lose interest in schoolwork or hobbies/other interests because you would rather focus on getting high again.
9. Irritability/anger management issues
People who struggle with long-term methamphetamine addictions may have severe anger management issues that need professional treatment.
10. Loss of libido
Methamphetamine has strong aphrodisiac effects that increase sexual desire at first use. However, long-term abuse can lead to low sex drive even after withdrawal because of this drug’s effects on neurochemistry. This side effect may last for months or years after someone stops using meth completely.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is the period when your body adjusts to being without methamphetamine. Methamphetamine withdrawal can be dangerous, and it requires medical supervision. Signs or symptoms include:
Many people who stop using methamphetamine experience fatigue and lack of energy. This is because it uses up so much dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters.
People withdrawing from methamphetamine often feel extreme anxiety because they are coming down from a stimulant substance. Anxiety can lead to panic attacks and physical symptoms, such as:
- Stomach pain
Anxiety during withdrawal usually peaks within the first 48 hours.
Some individuals going through methamphetamine withdrawal have severe gastrointestinal problems. These problems include nausea and vomiting that peak around day three of recovery. Then, patients start improving for weeks or months. These unpleasant side effects usually lessen in intensity.
Methamphetamine addiction causes changes in brain chemistry that contribute to depression. This means people going through methamphetamine withdrawal often feel sad or hopeless. They may also lack enthusiasm for things they once enjoyed doing. In some cases, suicidal thoughts may occur during the detox from methamphetamine. Since depressive symptoms can last for weeks or months after withdrawal, people need professional treatment if their dangerous thoughts continue.
5. Insomnia/sleeping problems
Sleeping difficulties are another side effect linked with methamphetamine withdrawal. You may have severe problems falling or staying asleep for several weeks after detox. Some individuals may sleep excessively to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Others experience the opposite effect of getting too little sleep during early recovery.
6. Trouble concentrating
Methamphetamine addiction changes brain chemistry over time. This leads to cognitive deficits, such as trouble focusing on tasks even when sober. Concentration difficulties occur because meth is a stimulant that causes structural damage in some parts of the brain. These parts are associated with cognition and memory processing. Most cognitive issues usually improve within months after you quit methamphetamine use altogether.
7. Mood swings
People withdrawing from methamphetamine often experience mood swings. These swings include feelings of extreme sadness, aggression, or hostility that can last weeks or months after detox. Depressive symptoms tend to be more severe than manic ones during withdrawal. In addition, mood changes may occur because this drug causes long-term damage in brain areas associated with emotions and self-control. But there is no way to predict exactly how each person will react emotionally.
8. Lack of motivation
Individuals trying to recover from a methamphetamine addiction typically lack inspiration for activities. This side effect occurs because they feel depressed or anxious and their brain’s reward system is damaged from long-term drug abuse. To recover from methamphetamine addiction, professional treatment is needed.
What Are Treatment Options for Methamphetamine Abuse?
No single option will cure methamphetamine addiction. Nor will it allow people to stop using meth completely. Treatment for this drug involves a combination of:
- Support group participation
These treatment options include:
1. Individual therapy
Individual sessions with counselors can help you identify triggers. These triggers are what cause you to use drugs again after quitting. One-on-one counseling also helps you learn how to avoid situations where you are likely exposed to meth or other drugs.
2. Group therapy
Weekly group meetings are an integral part of most rehabilitation programs, helping recovering users practice social skills within a safe environment. Family members may want to attend these sessions with their loved ones. Joining group therapy helps users build a strong home recovery support system and avoid the temptation to use meth again.
3. Family therapy
Family members may want individual or group counseling sessions with addiction counselors. There, they can learn how to best support their loved ones during treatment. Family therapy is often an essential part of many rehab programs since it helps families recognize signs of drug use. This helps them intervene before relapse occurs.
4. 12-step program participation
Rehabilitation centers like Zinnia Healing offer 12 step program options for people recovering from methamphetamine addiction. These might include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Individuals in early recovery meet weekly or more to discuss sobriety. These groups provide valuable social connections and emotional support outside formal treatment settings. When used regularly, they make staying sober easier.
Detoxification from methamphetamine involves medically supervised treatments. These detox treatments help you withdraw from meth safely and avoid life-threatening complications.
6. Behavioral therapies
Behavioral therapy refers to non-medication approaches for treating drug addiction. These include:
- Cognitive-behavioral techniques
- Contingency management (i.e., motivational incentives)
- Couples counseling
- Family interventions
- Other types of psychotherapy designed to prevent relapse into drug use
This therapy helps you develop new coping mechanisms when you feel the urge or desire to abuse drugs again.
Methamphetamine addiction is a dangerous and potentially deadly condition. It requires attention from health professionals to treat and overcome. The good news is that treatments are widely available for meth abuse:
- Detoxification under medical supervision
- Individual therapy
- Group sessions with peers in recovery
- 12-step program participation before leaving rehab
These treatments help improve your chances of staying sober for life.
If you or someone you love struggles with methamphetamine addiction, it’s time to get help. Zinnia Healing is a state-of-the-art drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. We offer professional treatment services to individuals with methamphetamine addiction. Please contact us today at (855) 430-9439 or connect with us online for more information.