Chronic methamphetamine (meth) use can be difficult to overcome. If you are someone looking to get clean, or know someone who does, this article can provide some help.
Some of the challenges to recovery from meth use include the following:
- Meth recovery can take a long time, with some of the damages incurred from meth use being permanent and irreversible. For chronic users, significant improvement may take as long as a year or two before it begins to show.
- Concentration, decision-making and memory are all severely compromised in a chronic meth user. These cognitive deficits may make it harder to follow treatment directions and recommendations. Guidance from a family member will do much to help.
- Expect to hit a ‘wall’ at about 45 days of sobriety. Symptoms would include a sudden intensified surge of depressive symptoms and a marked inability to experience any pleasure.
Addicts withdrawing from meth generally do not need any medical attention, as the withdrawal does not produce any medically dangerous manifestations like heroin or alcohol. However, during withdrawal, meth addicts feel significant confusion, memory problems and impaired decision-making ability. This stage lasts for about two weeks, and is characterized by cognitive deficits, fatigue, hunger and depressive symptoms. Some may have psychotic symptoms which will need medical attention. Once the withdrawal period is over, focus must shift towards preventing relapse. Here are some research-proven treatments which help addicts recover from meth addiction:
- Contingency reinforcement – use of rewards as positive reinforcement for meeting goals. Typical rewards may include gift checks or restaurant vouchers given after positive events such as a clean drug test. These small rewards have been shown to improve commitment to treatment.
- The 12 steps – research show that meth users who attend 12 step meetings such like Narcotics Anonymous (patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous) had better treatment outcomes than those who did not attend any such programs. The greater involvement and commitment to the 12 step program, the better outcome achieved.
- Family involvement – the family lends invaluable support to the recovering meth addict, especially during early recovery. The longer a meth user spends in treatment, the better his chances of recovery and non-relapse. Family members can encourage users to stay in treatment, boosting the success of rehabilitation.
- Education – meth users should be taught about the drug, and its effects on the body, the brain and the psyche. In addition, they should be taught about the course of relapse, recovery and abstinence. By knowing what to expect, they feel in better control.
Methamphetamine rehabilitation is a difficult process. Users who attempt to stay clean should be given resources and support to have the greatest possible chance for success.