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      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      Drug Rehab for Methamphetamine

      Drug Rehab for Methamphetamine

      It used to be that people saw addiction as a behavioral issue and, consequently, a question of morality, but we came to realize that addiction is actually a chronic relapsing disease of the brain. In this way, addiction to any substance is actually more similar to something like diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease than a moral affliction.

      Recreational use of methamphetamine has increased greatly since the 1990’s. Today, meth has been reported to be the second most widely misused substance after cannabis. The drug causes a large surge in the feel-good brain chemical, dopamine, which produces euphoria. Alterations in dopamine and other neurotransmitters change various areas of the brain. Crystal meth has toxic effects on the body and mind, resulting in addiction.

      In stark contrast to substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines (Xanax), and even opioids, methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug. While the other drugs mentioned above work to slow the body and reduce overall energy levels, methamphetamine actually works to stimulate the central nervous system as well as numerous other systems and processes in the body. In practice, the use of methamphetamine results in a marked increase in overall energy level.

      It is imperative that meth addiction treatment take place in a meth rehab facility equipped to handle the potential physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with meth cessation. Detox and stabilization help regulate brain chemistry, while other facets of meth rehab help clients address underlying issues related to methamphetamine abuse and any co-occurring disorders.

      Finding the right methamphetamine rehab facility or program is the first step toward recovery from meth addiction, and making the decision to quit using meth is the most important step in the recovery process. After deciding to quit, it is essential to find the right treatment for a lasting recovery. People who try to quit alone are rarely able to fully recover. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before picking out a treatment facility:

      • How does meth rehab work?
      • Are there medications used to treat meth addiction?
      • Will a health insurance plan cover the cost of meth rehab?
      • Does meth rehab actually work?

      How Meth Rehab Works

      The purpose of meth rehab is to help a person overcome his or her dependence on methamphetamine. This is achieved through the combination of detoxification, psychotherapy, counseling, group therapy, and numerous types of alternative or complementary therapies. The idea is to address the addiction and its various effects individually by matching those effects to the most appropriate forms of treatment. By completing methamphetamine rehab, an individual regains his or her sobriety while learning effective strategies and skills to reinforce or safeguard that sobriety for the long-term.

      Overcoming an addiction to methamphetamine doesn’t happen overnight, and there are many paths to get there. In fact, meth addiction rehab is a process that can be broken into a series of distinct yet complementary steps. The majority of individuals who receive treatment at meth rehabs will complete some combination of the following:


      As with other drugs, the frequent use of methamphetamine over a period of time results in an individual’s body becoming physiologically dependent on the drug. With the use of methamphetamine, the user’s mood and overall demeanor change notably. Those who use methamphetamine report feeling extremely happy, powerful, and energetic. Further, the drug decreases appetite and is reported to increase sexual performance and appetites.

      Therefore, the first step in meth rehab is detoxification. Detox is all about addressing the physical components of the addiction. Of course, methamphetamine addiction affects virtually all aspects of self, from a person’s physical health and psychology to his or her relationships and sense of spiritual fulfillment. However, before an individual can begin participating in psychotherapy and other forms of treatment, it’s essential to address the physiological aspects of meth dependency so that he or she isn’t dealing with withdrawal symptoms and counseling at the same time.

      Meth detoxification typically takes place for a period of three to five days although it’s not uncommon for individuals to need as much as a week. During this time, the individual is encouraged to relax while a team of detox technicians monitor him or her to ensure comfort and safety throughout the detoxification process. Further, the length of detoxification treatment is decided on a case-by-case basis and depends on such factors as how long an individual has been suffering from meth addiction, the severity of his or her daily meth habit, and whether there have been prior attempts at treatment and sobriety.

      Inpatient Treatment

      Once detoxification is complete, many patients will proceed to inpatient treatment as the next phase of meth addiction rehab. With inpatient care, the patient will reside on-site within the facility for the duration of treatment, which typically lasts for a minimum of four weeks (28 days) or up to three months (90 days); however, longer-term residential style programs are also a possibility, lasting for six months or more and dependent on the needs of the patient. Throughout inpatient care, the individual will participate in a combination of individual and group counseling sessions and possibly some other forms of treatment, including holistic and alternative therapies. During rehabilitation, peer support plays an integral role in recovery. After relationships that have been often nonexistent, drug-fueled or dysfunctional at best, patients can experience positive and accountable relationships in the moderated atmosphere of rehabilitation programs. The ultimate goal is to uncover the root causes of a patient’s meth addiction so as to alleviate those causes, help the patient achieve sobriety, and teach the patient how to maintain that newfound sobriety for the long-term.

      Outpatient Treatment

      Outpatient treatment can be used in lieu of inpatient care or as a follow-up to an inpatient program. In an outpatient program, the patient continues to live at home or in some type of transitional living facility while commuting to a treatment facility on designated days. There’s some variation in terms of the curriculum intensity for outpatient programs with intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs being types of outpatient treatment that offer a more inpatient-like level of treatment.


      Beyond inpatient and outpatient care, many patients who complete treatment will require some form of aftercare. In the simplest of terms, aftercare is equally as important to acclimating back into the real work as prior treatment modalities and a form of sustained support that extends beyond the completion of meth addiction rehab. An aftercare program can be an important resource for individuals who may still be adjusting to sobriety while also seeking employment, stable living arrangements, and some type of peer support group in which to network with other individuals in recovery.

      Throughout the aftercare process, patients may build a foundation for sober living through acquisition of life skills. Anger and stress management courses, conflict resolution training, communication workshops, time management and organization instruction, and problem-solving skills coaching allow recovering meth addicts to learn the survival skills they will need to create productive and rewarding lives after treatment.

      What Medications Are Used to Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

      Although we tend to associate rehab and recovery with sobriety, it’s common for addiction to be treated with medication. More often than not, this occurs during the detoxification phase of addiction, which is an initial period during which the individual gets acclimated to not having methamphetamine or another substance in his or her system. In short, detoxification serves as a physical cleanse through which the body is rid of various toxins and harmful substances, helping the individual to return to a state of comprehensive physical wellness.

      The use of medications as part of addiction treatment will depend on the type of addiction being treated. With methamphetamine addiction, the use of medication is somewhat less common than with other types of addiction, but there are instances where methamphetamine addiction may be treated with medication.

      One of the most common scenarios would be to use something like a muscle relaxant or sedative to help individuals detoxing in methamphetamine rehab to become more relaxed during the process. Since withdrawal can sometimes entail physiological discomfort, the use of medications affords individuals with a level of relief from that discomfort. Further, many individuals have trouble sleeping in the early stages of methamphetamine recovery; therefore, sleep aids and hypnotics may help them to sleep at night, which is incredible important for overall wellness.

      Additionally, out of the medications that have been studied so far, it appears that two of those drugs may show some promise in reducing both meth use as well as meth cravings:

      Buproprion (including Wellbutrin) – Buproprion may be one of the most publicized medications in aiding methamphetamine addiction. Buproprion’s mechanism of action is not completely understood, but it is believed to weakly inhibit uptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. This action results in increased amounts of norepinephrine and dopamine available in the body.

      Naltrexone – Naltrexone is currently FDA-approved for treating both alcohol and opioid drug dependence. It works as an opioid receptor antagonist – meaning that it competes with and blocks other drugs that would normally have an effect on opioid receptors. Naltrexone is believed to have some potential for helping with meth addiction by blocking meth-induced dopamine.

      Human Support Is Key

      Although medications have been proven to help with crystal meth addiction, they should be used in conjunction with – rather than as a substitute for – some of the primary meth treatment approaches that rely on human support. Group and individual counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family involvement and addiction support groups all have their own substantial roles in contributing to one’s addiction recovery.

      Does Insurance Cover Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment?

      Historically, individuals who required treatment for methamphetamine addiction or other forms of chemical dependency were forced to fund their recoveries out of their own pockets. This made rehabilitation extremely prohibitive as it was only accessible to those who could pay for treatment. Fortunately, with the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2011, substance abuse treatment was designated an essential health benefit, meaning that many private and government healthcare plans now offer coverage for addiction treatment. In turn, this has greatly improved the level of access that individuals have to quality addiction treatment.

      What If I Don’t Have Insurance?

      There are still other ways to fund addiction treatment for those who may not have health coverage. In addition to still being able to pay for addiction treatment oneself, many addiction treatment centers have begun to offer more flexible payment options. For example, some facilities will allow patients to pay for treatment in installments over time. Similarly, it’s common for treatment centers to over subsidized pricing options, meaning that the cost of treatment is adjusted based on a person’s ability to pay. In other words, some addiction treatment programs are reduced in price according to a patient’s financial need.

      Beyond insurance and payment plans, there are other resources available to fund one’s addiction treatment. Many individuals who find themselves in need of rehab will research scholarships and grants; these tend to be funded by either the government or private institutions and made available according to financial need.

      Finally, there are also financial institutions that offer financing options meant specifically for addiction treatment. When an individual procures a loan from one of these financial institutions, he or she is often not required to make the first payment until after a certain amount of time following completion of the treatment program. When no other options are available, loans meant specifically for addiction treatment are just another way with which to make recovery more accessible.

      Does Methamphetamine Rehab Actually Work?

      Much as there are numerous different ways to become addicted to mind-altering substances, there are many ways to overcome addiction to methamphetamine or some other drug. The recovery process is designed to be incredibly personal, ensuring that each individual has his or her unique recovery needs met over the course of treatment. This strategy of individualization is central to the efficacy of methamphetamine rehab.

      However, of all the methods for recovering from meth addiction, a meth addiction rehab is certainly the most effective and offers the highest chances for an individual to achieve lasting sobriety. Meth rehab is effective is because the programs offered at rehabilitation centers are capable of addressing the many components of meth addiction as opposed to one trying to quit by themselves.

      Importance Of Counseling

      Specifically, each of the components of methamphetamine rehab are crucial to overcoming methamphetamine addiction in its own way. For instance, psychotherapy and individual or one-on-one counseling are designed to help patients better understand the circumstances and environmental factors that led to becoming addicted to in the first place. By better understanding how they came to be addicted, patients and their therapists can work together to develop relapse-prevention plans. In other words, the therapists help the patients identify ways to resist possible relapse triggers and reinforce their newfound sobriety as the progress to more advanced stages of recovery.

      Other components of methamphetamine rehab are likewise designed to optimize each patient’s potential for success in recovery. Group therapy has become strongly associated with addiction recovery as group-style therapies tend to be ideal scenarios for things like skills building, refining social skills, repairing relationships with loved ones, and developing addiction relapse-prevention strategies.

      In short, the purpose of methamphetamine rehab is to help patients achieve sobriety, learn ways to sustain that sobriety, and prepare for their eventual return home where they’ll assume total responsibility for maintaining their recoveries. As such, every element of a methamphetamine rehab program serves either one or all of those main goals. By the time a patient has reached the end of a meth rehab program, he or she should feel confident about returning home and being able to navigate their daily lives while minimizing risk for relapse.

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