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Meth Treatment and Relapse Prevention

Methamphetamines are powerful stimulants that can be made at home, sold illegally, and are also highly addictive. Methamphetamines — known as meth for short — can cause death even in first-time users and are likely to cause addiction in first-time users as well. 


Some of the short-term effects of meth use are increased blood pressure, increased body temperature, rapid breathing, irregular or increased heartbeat, euphoria, and bizarre behavior. Long-term effects of meth use include permanent damage to the brain or heart, severe mental health implications, hallucinations, paranoia, intense itching, and dental problems. 


Fortunately, meth addiction is treatable and there are methods of relapse prevention that can help a person stay on track in their recovery. 


Meth Treatment Options


There is a multitude of options available to treat addiction to methamphetamines. Many of these are utilized co-currently with other treatments as a comprehensive plan. The most important thing to remember when figuring out a treatment plan is that it should be catered to the person’s individual needs. 


  • Detox: Detox is the complete removal of methamphetamines from one’s system through abstinence from substances. Because the brain is wired to crave the drug, the brain and body will react negatively to detox at first. These negative effects can include mood swings, powerful muscle cramps, insomnia, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, intense cravings, irritability, paranoia, and hallucinations. 


In rare cases, total detox can cause death, which is why it is important to experience detox in a safe place like a treatment facility, hospital, or with a trusted adult or family member. Over a few days or weeks, the brain and body will gradually adjust and crave the drug significantly less, causing lessened negative physical symptoms. One will never feel the way they did when they were using methamphetamines, but they will feel clearer and ready for treatment after detox. 


  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a combination of two therapies: cognitive therapy (the recognition of one’s thoughts and feelings) and behavioral therapy (the recognition of learned behavior and how to change it). CBT is conducted with a therapist but put into practice in everyday life. The therapist is there to provide emotional support and help one learn the appropriate language about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The patient will use CBT and practice the language as they heal. For those who have struggled with methamphetamine use, CBT can have a phenomenal impact on healing and future behaviors. 


  • Individual/Family Therapy: Many people in recovery from meth addiction can benefit from individual or family therapy. Some people will need to process why they began using methamphetamines in the first place, or what happened while they were using. Therapy is a good way to heal from past issues so they cannot manipulate your present. Families can also heal any broken bonds through family therapy. 


  • Trauma or Other Therapy: For those who have experienced high amounts of trauma in their lives, there are specific therapies that can help. Trauma therapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and others are meant to help one process trauma and deal with it appropriately so it does not extend to other parts of their life.


  • Pharmacotherapy: A doctor may recommend pharmacotherapy as a stepping stone from extreme cases of meth addiction. Medically-assisted treatment is not recommended for all and works best when coupled with CBT or another version of therapy that best fits the patient. The National Institutes of Health recently shared news about a study on combination treatment for methamphetamine use disorder that had promising results.


Relapse Prevention


Though the risk of relapse is always present, it does not have to be a dark cloud that hangs over one’s life. Continued therapy and abstinence from substance use, similar to what a person does in active treatment, should be continued in recovery as part of relapse prevention. Another way to continue relapse prevention is to join a 12-Step or support group. Support in recovery is vital for companionship and continued accountability. 


A study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine shares these five rules for successful recovery, based on cognitive therapy:


  1. Change your life. This can be achieved by changing negative thoughts, avoiding people and places associated with substance use, and continuing to follow these rules daily. 
  2. Be completely honest. Be honest with yourself, your support, and your surroundings. Keep yourself safe through honesty.
  3. Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help and support. Continue to ask for help when you need it. 
  4. Practice self-care. Take care of your spiritual, physical, and mental health as you heal. 
  5. Do not bend the rules. Hard boundaries are imperative in recovery. Establish your boundaries and then keep them. 


Recovery from excessive methamphetamine use or meth addiction is possible for anyone. There is no shame in asking for help, and you can change your life for the better with proper treatment. At RECO Intensive, we are proud to offer treatment for meth addiction that can help you turn your life around. We understand that dual-approach treatment often works best for the treatment of meth addiction. Our professional staff and experienced alumni will help you find an effective treatment approach that is specifically catered to you and your needs. Here at RECO Intensive, we offer cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as many other types of therapy to best serve you in treatment. Our in-house treatment also extends to sober living facilities and extensive outpatient treatment if you need more support. Whatever stage of treatment you are in, we will cater your treatment to you. To learn more, call RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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