Help for Crystal Meth Addicts

Crystal Meth Shards

Crystal Meth Shards. photo by By Radspunk – Own work, GFDL

Meth, or methamphetamine, is a chemical substance that has little to no medical use. Only Desoxyn is a methamphetamine medication, which is being researched as a possible treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Meth is a highly addictive substance, taken orally as a tablet or powder, or injected, snorted, or smoked. It produces a euphoric high and is highly stimulating.
Crystal meth is in the form of a rock-like crystal that is either blue or semi-transparent white in color. If you encounter this form of meth, you can be sure that it is illegal because it serves no other purpose aside from abuse. This form of methamphetamine is often heated and smoked in a glass pipe, which is a faster way of getting the substance into the bloodstream, thus making it more dangerous than the other forms.

Getting Help Starts with Education

When attempting to intervene in a loved one’s crystal meth problem you want  to make sure he or she understands how the drug works, what makes it addictive and why it is dangerous. Knowing this, it is easier for a person to recognize what the drug is doing to his or her body and why it is time to quit.

Meth has a twofold action on the brain:

1. It releases dopamine, like many other drugs do, which helps people feel euphoric, pleasurable, and rewarded.
2. It inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, which means that the brain becomes addicted to the substance because it must replenish its dopamine levels.

Meth addiction is one of the most serious drug addictions as it compels people to do things they would never have imagined they were capable of doing. These include debasing themselves, turning to crime, and living in abject squalor. Additionally, people addicted to meth suffer from very poor health, which is visibly recognizable through changes in their appearance, including the so-called “meth mouth”.
People go through various stages of meth addiction, and it is important to seek help as early as possible, before the addiction worsens. Unfortunately, people usually go through the stages very rapidly, and a huge number of people who try using the drug end up becoming addicted to it. It is very important, therefore, not just to be aware of what meth is and what its effects are, but also on the types of treatment that are available.

Help Is Out There for Crystal Meth Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported on the extent of the meth problem in this country.

“According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.2 million people (0.4 percent of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 (0.2 percent) reported using it in the past month.”

While the above figures do represent an improvement for the country as a whole, there is significant geographical disparity. Furthermore, even one meth addiction is one too many and shows that there is a continued need for treatment. Thankfully, treatment is indeed available and it has also been shown to be as effective as the treatment for cocaine or other substance addictions.

Treatment options for crystal meth addiction:

• Residential rehab facilities
• Outpatient rehab facilities
• Individual therapy with counselors
• Family therapy
• Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other similar programs

Speaking to Someone with a Crystal Meth Addiction

If you are concerned that your loved one is dependent on or addicted to crystal meth, or any other kind of methamphetamine, it is important to have a conversation with him or her regarding this. Meth is a dangerous substance and various parts of the country have reported a surge in emergency room admissions and deaths as a result of this substance. Nobody wants to see loved ones dealing with an addiction, watching them destroy their lives and that of others. Those who are addicted to meth will suffer from significant physical and mental health problems, and these can have an effect on the entire community.

Although it may feel overwhelming to speak to a loved one about his or her problem, it is essential to realize that help is out there. Meth addiction has been well-researched, and intervention approaches have been thoroughly investigated. One of the tools that has been proven to be effective is the Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, model.

“Kirby et al. (1999) randomly assigned 32 caregivers of drug users to CRAFT or a 12-step self-help group (TSG). Caregivers who were assigned to CRAFT attended more sessions than those in TSG and were more likely to complete a full course of counseling during which the persons abusing drugs were far more likely to enter treatment (64% vs 17%). Reductions in drug use occurred during the study, but there was no group x time interaction. Meyers et al. (2002) replicated and extended those findings with drug users with similar positive effects on engagement of the drug abusing family members in treatment.”

In the CRAFT model, the loved ones of addicted people are taught the importance of self-care and how to do it, how to understand the triggers causing their loved ones to turn to drugs, how to decrease or remove meth use and addictive behaviors in their loved ones, and how to appropriately reward non-drug-using behavior.

Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment

Crystal meth is undeniably one of the most addictive illicit substances available, and one of the hardest to treat. Fortunately, both residential and outpatient treatment facilities have had successes, offering a number of treatment options.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy has been shown many times to help people overcome a meth addiction. Different types of behavioral therapies exist, but those that are based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) combined with contingency management (CM) have been shown to be the most effective of all.

Various models exist, including:
• The Matrix Model, which is a 16-week program in which patients are provided with group and individual therapy, drug testing, 12-step meetings, and counseling for their families
• MIEDAR (Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery), which is a CM program in which abstinence is rewarded with interesting incentives

Free Help For crystal meth addicts:

There are many different types of support groups available, most of which follow the 12-step model. These groups tend to be non-affiliated and give addicted people the opportunity to receive informal treatment with their peers, while at the same time, they are encouraged to take part in sober activities. Support groups have regular meetings that are held by members and not by professional counselors. Crystal Meth Anonymous is one such group.

Family Therapy and Education

When people are addicted to a substance, everyone around them suffers. Similarly, their loved ones have a tremendous influence on the addiction as a whole. Through family therapy, addicted people can, on the one hand, are made aware of the effects of their behavior on their family, while loved ones can learn how to better support the addicted individual.

Generally speaking, when people go to rehab, they will be provided with a combination of the above treatment strategies. Treatment must start with a period of detox, during which time the body rids itself of the toxins that have accumulated. Then, after formal treatment has been completed, stringent aftercare programs must be set in place to prevent a relapse.

How to Detect If a Person Is Addicted to Crystal Meth

Most people with a drug addiction are in strong denial, including their loved ones, who often try to convince themselves that things are “not that bad”. Thus, it is vital to look for some specific signs. Addicted people often:
• Experience euphoria
• Are highly motivated and energized
• Sleep differently
• Have little to no appetite
• Have a fever
• Have a rapid heartbeat
• Breath quickly
As they become more frequent users, they will start to display the more harmful effects of meth, including:
• Worry, nervousness, and anxiety
• Insomnia
• Depression and mood swings
• Forgetfulness or confusion
• Aggressive behavior
• Psychosis, including paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
Those addicted to meth will usually go on a “binge”, which means they use the drug for several days in a row. This is inevitably followed by a “crash”, which means they may sleep for several days. If you notice such behavior, make sure to seek help for that person.

Summing up help for crystal meth users and addicts

As we have shown crystal meth is

  1. highly addictive
  2. long term or short term use can result in serious health problems, including death
  3. affects the whole family
  4. destroys lives