Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful drug that stimulates the workings of the central nervous system. Its potency and resulting euphoria make it difficult for a person to resist usage or dependence. Effective rehabilitation calls for a comprehensive treatment plan to ensure long-term sobriety.
Most people who attempt to treat meth addiction on their own are likely unable to sustain recovery. To effectively sever crystal meth cravings means more than just eliminating the drug from the body; it necessitates professional intervention that includes counseling and therapy.
Staging an Intervention
Meth users are likely to deny abuse or dependence. The drug elicits aggressive behaviors, so when you confront a loved one or a friend with a meth problem, you can expect chances of physical and verbal violence. Getting the person to acknowledge the problem and seek treatment is, in many cases, the hardest part.
It is for this reason that concerned families and friends are encouraged to seek professional help. Call a treatment facility to get your suffering loved one into a rehabilitation program.
1. Inpatient Treatment
A host of factors is considered in the initial assessment and selection of a rehabilitation program for the person. Substance abuse has underlying emotional triggers such that getting the person into a facility with a controlled and stable environment is more advantageous. This holds for individuals with a more severe and chronic case of meth abuse. In controlled facilities, recovering individuals are free to deal with their issues without fear of judgments, devoid of the presence of an external stimulus that can sabotage their progress. Depending on the response of the person, inpatient treatment takes 30 to 90 days.
Others who have shown less severe addiction problems or more control of their emotions are allowed to take the outpatient treatment program. Or the person, who is willing to commit to treatment, has responsibilities to keep – a job, a study, or a family. The decision to enroll in outpatient rehabilitation, however, is made after professional assessment. Outpatient treatment runs part-time, usually 10 to 12 hours a week.
Effective rehabilitation treatments are holistic, covering physical, emotional, and mental aspects.
Physical detoxification is necessary for the person to later function without the drug in the body. Withdrawal symptoms can easily go out of hand with an unsupervised detoxification process. An overseeing medical professional can check the person’s vital signs and safely administer medications, such as benzodiazepine, when agitation or anxiety becomes severe.
3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Only after the drug is eliminated from the body can the person proceed to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is particularly effective in treating methamphetamine addiction.
In this rehabilitation approach, the patient learns to identify the events and emotions that trigger drug use. Furthermore, the person is encouraged to make friends with his or her feelings, no matter how painful it may be.
With increased awareness of these “triggers,” the person can manage them without the false security offered by recreational drugs like meth. Trigger management usually comprises three stages, namely recognition, avoidance, and coping.
In the avoidance phase, the patient learns to deliberately steer clear of the stimulus, be it a friend who is the source of drug or a stressful work environment that undermines his or her confidence.
Several coping techniques are also taught, such as keeping a journal and meditation. Other methods may require professional assistance initially, such as the Imagery Based Exposure that allows a person to revisit and replay the painful image clearly in his or her mind until he or she becomes more accepting of the pain.
Often, patients experience a hard time facing their inner demons. They need trained counselors who can help them avoid denials and assist them in redirecting negative thoughts. Counselors employ narrative therapy, wherein the person is allowed to tell his or her personal life story. This helps the therapist spot any destructive thought patterns or distorted facts unknown to the patient.
5. Peer-group Sessions
Socializing with others who experience the same addiction struggles helps patients cope with their meth cravings. They can listen to the inspiring success stories of others who have fully recovered from meth addiction. At the same time, they feel supported, knowing that they are not alone.
6. Pleasant Activity Schedule
Anxiety and depression often co-occur with drug addiction. Meditation is one effective approach to deal with meth cravings. A more active approach is called the pleasant activity schedule, which enlists a range of activities the patient finds enjoyable and relaxing that can substitute the use of drugs. It could be listening to music, practicing calligraphy, reading a book, or solving a puzzle. Getting back into the real world after treatment can be daunting. A person may have doubts about his or her ability to resist. For this reason, social re-integration in rehabilitation programs is gradual. A patient may be allowed to go out for a day or two until it becomes safe to leave him or her in the outside world for weeks and months.
In all of this endeavor, the truth stands that every recovering meth addict requires professional help.