Crystal meth – also known as methamphetamine, speed, meth, crystal, glass and ice – is a highly addictive street drug that has been gaining in popularity over the last couple of decades.
Easily manufactured using basic chemicals and over-the-counter medications, meth labs are tucked away in apartment complexes, suburban neighborhoods, urban locales, and the most rural and remote locations.
Similar in structure and effect to amphetamine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the stimulant effects and dopamine release of crystal meth are long-lasting whether it is smoked, snorted or injected. Those who abuse the drug often feel wide awake and increase their physical activity as a result. Increased and irregular heart rate and higher blood pressure and body temperature are all acute effects of abuse of the drug. Long-term effects can include violent and erratic behavior, mood issues and psychosis, anxiety, paranoia, confusion and dental problems.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that about 1.2 million Americans over the age of 12 abuse it in a given year. For those who go on to develop a dependence upon the substance, help is available through crystal meth addiction treatment programs. Contact us at the phone number listed above to find out more about your options in treatment or be personally matched with the program that will best serve you and your addiction treatment needs.
Signs of a Habit
There are a number of different signs of addiction that can tip off friends and family members that there is a serious problem that requires treatment.
According to the Illinois Attorney General
, some of these signs include:
- Changes in sleeping patterns. Many patients stay up for days on end when they abuse it and, when addiction is an issue, this will be followed by several days of sleep and then repeated cyclically.
- Changes in eating patterns. Those who take large amounts of the drug regularly do not eat well or often and lose an alarming amount of weight in a short period as a result.
- Changes in friends. It isn’t always an isolating drug. Because it is a stimulant, the patient may begin to hang out with a new group of people who also abuse the drug and exhibit similar signs of addiction.
- Changes in sports, hobbies or extracurricular activities. Those who abuse it regularly often shift their interests to anything that includes their ability to remain high on the stimulant drug.
- Changes in grades. Those who are in school often lose focus despite an initial boost to their performance. As the drug takes over as priority one, patients often miss class when they “crash” and stop prioritizing school projects when high.
- Changes in job status. Those who are employed when they begin abusing it may lose their position as addiction gets in the way of their ability to do their job. Finding a new job and/or maintaining it becomes increasingly difficult as drug dependence progresses.
- Risky behavior. While under the influence or in pursuit of more of the drug, many patients engage in risky behaviors that can endanger their health and the safety of others.
- Weight loss. Most patients who begin to abuse crystal meth lose a dramatic amount of weight in a relatively short period of time due to the lack of eating and the metabolism boost.
Community Efforts to Fight This Drug
Because there is no surefire way to reduce the impact of addiction on patients and the community, the focus in terms of prevention and control has concentrated on the ingredients used to make the drug. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the chemicals used to make it include pseudoephedrine and ephedrine – both easily found in drugstores and grocery stores. Since the explosion of crystal meth, these chemicals, while not regulated as a prescription drug, are controlled in other ways. These drugs must be handed out by a pharmacist rather than located on shelves next to other medications and consumers may be limited in the number of items containing these substances that they can buy.
Authorities are also on the lookout for those who would create synthetic analogues of these substances in order to evade legal liability – that is, any chemicals that are similar in makeup and effect to the ingredients but technically different.
Addiction is a serious and debilitating condition that requires professional treatment. What does addiction treatment involve? Though there is no single path of treatment that will work for every patient, there are many avenues through which healing and recovery can be achieved. The theories behind various treatment methods and/or courses of treatment differ, but the majority of approaches to dependence treatment are structurally comparable. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information some characteristics of care include:
A multifaceted approach to treating the addiction. Virtually all treatment regimens spend equal time invested in healing the mental, emotional and physical ramifications of addiction. Holistic, natural and traditional rehab centers alike understand that addiction is characterized by an obsession of the mind, a physical craving and a spiritual emptiness.
Individualized therapy. Through one-on-one therapy, addicts have the opportunity to address underlying psychological issues that have been contributing to the growth of their addiction. Common issues addicts have are low self-esteem, an overwhelming desire to please others, compulsivity, and the feeling of being consumed by fears.
Also, one-on-one therapy allows recovering addicts the ability to:
- Sort through feelings associated with childhood trauma and/or abuse
- Be professionally diagnosed with a concurrent disorder, such as bipolar disorder or clinical depression, if applicable
- Get to the root of why and how the crystal meth addiction was born
- Process feelings that arise throughout the early stages of sobriety; drug abuse is often an outlet which addicts utilized to de-stress, escape intrinsic emotions, or avoid facing deep-rooted fears; therapy encourages the unearthing and processing of such feelings
A comprehensive aftercare plan. Beyond the scope of the treatment period, patients must reference their aftercare plan.
- A list of referral sources and appointments
- Identified triggers and commensurate coping mechanisms
- Ideas for drug-free ways to spend time and money
- Phone numbers of recovering addicts whom the addict feels comfortable reaching out to in times of need
- A list of local 12-step anonymous fellowship meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
- A written description of how the addict has progressed – mentally, emotionally and spiritually – from the start date of the treatment program to the end date
Family therapy. In the event that the rehab center or outpatient program does not offer family therapy on site, treatment professionals will most likely recommend at least one family session take place during or after the addict’s treatment and provide a referral source. In terms of the after-effects of family therapy, many treatment programs notate family members as active participants in the post-treatment recovery process.
Recovering From a Dependence
Crystal meth is a lifestyle drug. What this means is that the typical addict is not so much addicted to the drug itself, but rather they are hooked on the lifestyle that comes along with crystal meth abuse – late nights, partying, hanging out with other meth addicts, and so on. This lifestyle becomes a part of the patient’s identity. He or she may become dependent not only on the drug itself but on the social aspects of the drug culture. This makes recovery even more challenging, because this lifestyle must be abandoned when the patient chooses to get clean.
Replacing this lifestyle becomes a top priority for the recovering addict. If the patient is bored and uninspired in recovery, they will eventually revert back to what they know – using drugs. Therefore, the ideal form of recovery becomes an exploration in personal growth, and a series of positive actions that can lead to a new life of both passion and purpose for the meth addict. If they cannot find a way to get excited about living clean, then they will eventually revert to the excitement of their old lifestyle. This is why recovery involves so much more than simply avoiding the chemicals, and instead is all about creating a new life and pushing toward personal growth. It is this push for growth that drives patients toward success in recovery, while also helping them to avoid the trap of complacency that could lead them back to our drug of choice.
Tips for Success in Beating Addiction
Success in treatment comes with hard work and persistence. Patients who show up to their recovery every day with the will to succeed – even with no other assistance – will be more successful than those who ignore their resources.
Here are a few tips for those ready to get the most out of crystal meth addiction treatment:
- Sign Up for the Right Treatment Program. The patient’s success in treatment starts with choosing a drug rehab that offers the amenities necessary to address personal addiction issues including trauma and co-occurring mental and physical disorders. There are a number of different effective treatment options, according to NIDA, and patients should review their options and make a choice based on their personal needs.
- Choose High-End Care. Luxury programs often have access to the most cutting-edge, evidence-based treatments as they become available. They also staff some of the most prestigious specialists in the industry. Additionally, there is always a lower number of patients for each staff member, ensuring that each patient gets everything he or she needs right when it is needed in order to build a solid foundation in recovery.
- Leave Town for Treatment. Sometimes putting physical distance between the environment of addiction and all the people and events that informed that experience and the patient’s experience with recovery can help them to be more psychologically centered in embracing treatment.
- Get Space From Those Back Home. Cutting off communication with friends and family at home can help patients to get into the frame of mind that they need to focus on themselves and their recovery. Most rehabs will require a “blackout” period during the first couple weeks of treatment but even after that, patients who find relationships with specific people back home highly stressful may benefit from continuing to limit contact.
- Participate in Groups. The more that patients speak up and participate in group therapy sessions, the more likely they are to create positive peer relationships and learn how to work through their issues while also listening and providing support to others. Often concepts that are raised during groups provide fodder for exploration during personal therapy and alternative treatments.
- Set Goals During Treatment. Patients who create personal goals to incorporate into their rehabilitation program are more likely to walk out of treatment with the skills they need to build a solid new life without drugs and alcohol. These goals can be as large as working on the repair of relationships wounded during addiction or as small as creating a resume that will help them get the job they want in their future. The gift of control over the trajectory of their lives can be a huge part of a positive rehabilitation experience.
- Choose Aftercare Services. Aftercare services like addiction counseling and sober living can help patients to stay focused after rehabilitation. Choosing the type of aftercare services that will complement their goals and lifestyle will mean a higher rate of success for continued abstinence without relapse.
Don’t Wait to Find Treatment
We can help you to locate the treatment program that will best serve your needs when you contact us at the phone number listed above.
Our counselors are standing by to answer your questions about treatment as well as discuss your personal issues with you to determine what your next best step in recovery should be.
Call now to get started.