Although meth (methamphetamine) has practical medical uses when treating conditions like ADHD or as a stimulant for those suffering from narcolepsy and severe obesity, doctors prescribe it in very small doses due to its addictive and deadly properties.
In its street form, crystal meth is generally sold in a rock form or broken down into a powder and called speed. It can be smoked, diluted and injected, sniffed, or turned into pills and swallowed.
Signs of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is one of the most difficult to fight, but the battle is well worth the effort.
If you think you have a problem with a meth addiction, chances are you do. According to clinical research, methamphetamine impairs rational thought within one hour of use, and radical changes occur in the brain that can last as much as two years after quitting.
It’s often thought there are three levels of users; low-intensity users, who take the substance to help lose weight or to retain energy for shift work and school, binge users, who take doses occasionally and become hooked, and high-intensity users, who have to keep taking greater quantities of the substance to avoid withdrawal. Due to the intensity of meth addiction, even low-intensity users often need professional help quitting.
Unlike other substance abuse problems that are easy to hide, methamphetamine tends to leave clear physical markers on people as they abuse the substance. It’s often referred to as “meth face” because the person’s teeth rot and their skin becomes covered in sores, which they often scratch. Rapid weight loss or an almost skeletal appearance is also common because users lose their appetite. Those on the drug are prone to bouts of psychosis, in which they may feel like bugs are crawling in or under their skin, which is why they scratch so much, and they often engage in repetitive tasks, much like someone with OCD would do. Some may show other odd signs, like being excitable, paranoid, or euphoric.
When is Intervention Necessary for a Meth Addiction?
People hooked on methamphetamine do not usually realize their own dependence in the early stage, and they’re likely to deny it in the latter. However, it’s still worth speaking with them, explaining the dangers and why you’re concerned, and urging them to get help in a one-on-one conversation. If the person rejects help, denies the meth addiction, or tries and relapses, an intervention specialist should be called. Intervention specialists have the training and education to oversee the entire intervention process, so they help set up the time and day, speak with friends and family about how to conduct the intervention, make arrangements for treatment after it, and coach everyone during the intervention, so it keeps moving in a positive direction. They also know how to address a wide variety of responses from the addict and can often nudge them in the direction of treatment if the situation becomes challenging.
Choosing a Rehab for Meth Addiction
- Location: Do you need a place close to home or is travel ok if a distant facility seems like a better fit?
- Cost/ Insurance: Will your insurance cover only specific facilities and/ or can you afford the costs of a particular center?
- Dual Diagnosis: Are you aware of an underlying condition, such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or an eating disorder, that the individual will need treatment for alongside the meth addiction?
- Methamphetamine Specialist: Is the facility you’re considering experienced in helping people overcome issues with this specific substance?
- Personal Interests: Will the person be more comfortable in a luxury, holistic, faith-based, pet-friendly or gender-specific center?
How is Meth Addiction Treated?
Meth addiction is one of the toughest to beat, and requires a plan for ongoing care, even after discharge from a facility.
Detox: After check-in, the patient goes through a period of medically-supervised detoxification. Medications are given to help cope with withdrawal. Symptoms traditionally peak about 24 hours after the last dose and take 1-2 weeks for the symptoms to subside. In extreme cases, heavy users may experience withdrawal for several weeks.
General Inpatient Treatment: People generally need a long-term stay in rehab to kick a methamphetamine habit, which amounts to 90 days or more in most facilities, though some low-intensity users may be successful with a less aggressive program. Treatment focuses on mental healthcare, such as addressing a dual diagnosis, engaging in group counseling, and participating in individual or cognitive behavioral therapy. There are also other wellness components routinely added, such as nutrition counseling and physical fitness activities. Combined, the activities empower the individual to form new healthy habits and consider how to create a drug-free future.
Outpatient: After inpatient treatment, the next greatest hurdle is what’s known as “the wall.” After 4-6 months of sobriety, many methamphetamine addicts begin to stumble. They may face depression, stop caring about recovery, or feel like recovery is something they can’t maintain. It’s at this point that many relapse. For this reason, it’s absolutely crucial that those in recovery have a care plan for after in-patient treatment. Although the addiction center will help set this up before discharge, it’s up to the patient to follow through and his or her loved ones to keep a close eye out for trouble and provide support. They are never alone in this, though. Treatment for after rehab usually includes out-patient treatment under the supervision of a physician, as well as ongoing therapy, and often attendance in a support group, like Crystal Meth Anonymous. Long-term success is incredibly difficult for the recovering meth addict, but participating in these things and remaining committed to lifelong wellness improves the odds.
How Successful is Meth Rehab?
Comparative research indicates that:
- Short-term rehab or detox provides little to no long-term benefit.
- After 3 months of abstaining from the drug, 48% of those who went into long-term rehab remain sober, while only 15% of those who only did detox or got no treatment remained in recovery.
- After one year, 20% of the long-term rehabbers remain sober, while just 7% of the other groups do.
- At three years, the numbers reduce to 12% and 5%, respectively.
Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of Meth Addiction Treatment?
The reality is that about 70% of methamphetamine addicts are jobless and receiving government aid. However, at present, all Medicaid and Medicare plans are required to provide basic drug rehabilitation coverage, though patients are required to select an in-network provider. Private insurances work differently, and each plan is unique. Some will also require an in-network provider be selected, or that the patient pay a deductible, and/ or a portion of his or her treatment costs.
If treatment were to be paid totally out of pocket, a luxury facility would likely cost upwards of $20,000 per month, whereas a more modest and traditional center will likely be in the neighborhood of $6,000 per month.
If you’d like help determining what your out-of-pocket costs will be or need assistance selecting the right facility for your needs, please contact us at 888-327-1047.
Meth Addiction Treatment in Your Area
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