The country has been in the death grip of a methamphetamine epidemic for over a decade. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is smoked in a crystal form. It causes a dramatic release of dopamine into the system and has effects on the central nervous system. This hard drug is known to become addictive after just one use.
Over 1.5 million people in the U.S. were addicted to meth in 2020, and those numbers continue to rise each year. Authorities in every state say that the war on meth is one of their top priorities.
Unfortunately, the manufacturing process is simple enough to be done in a basement, and a dozen new labs pop up for everyone that the police shut down.
The good news for those that are struggling with a meth addiction is that there is help out there for you. Whether you choose a substance abuse recovery center or work with a private doctor, there are treatments that can help you kick the meth habit for good.
Many treatment facilities are now offering medicated recovery programs to patients. Many of the medications that are used are still experimental but are thought to help patients get through the detox process and move towards recovery more successfully.
Effects of Methamphetamine
It doesn’t take long for the effects of taking meth to take a toll on the body. Many people seem to transform into a virtual shadow of their former selves when they become addicted to meth. Just a few of the effects of meth include:
• Decreased appetite
• Elevated body temperature
• Rapid breathing
• High blood pressure
• Dental issues
• Rapid heartbeat
• Violent behavior
Generalized Treatment for Meth Addiction
It can be very difficult to kick the meth habit, but it is possible with the right support and treatment. Many addicts fear the detox process as it causes patients to often become violently ill. However, the ill effects of detox pass quickly and can be tamed with the use of medications to help patients recover. Most meth patients that seek out treatment will go through a similar process.
• Thorough medical and mental evaluation by doctors and therapists.
• The detox process can include some severe withdrawal symptoms. Patients in the care of a recovery clinic will have the assistance of qualified staff and possible medication to help them deal with the effects of detox.
• Addiction treatment involves a combination of behavioral, group, and personal counseling.
• An aftercare plan will be created by your support staff to encourage you to continue your healing process independently.
Medications for Meth Addiction
While there is no current medication to combat meth addiction approved by the FDA, there are many treatment medications that are used to help the withdrawal of detox. Medications used in a recovery program will not eliminate the addiction to meth but will treat the severe effects of the detoxification process and help patients recuperate.
Detox from meth can produce intense withdrawal symptoms including severe anxiety and panic attacks, fever, vomiting, and strong cravings to use. The best way to help patients through this process is by treating the symptoms to ease the suffering and encourage them to continue on their recovery journey.
Some of the most promising medications that are currently being used in meth addiction treatment include:
• Bupropion is a strong antidepressant that has stimulant-like effects on patients. It is believed that the increased levels of dopamine in the brain from Bupropion can help to reduce the cravings of meth addicts. It may also help to offset some of the cognitive issues of recovering patients.
• Modafinil is a stimulant that does not contain amphetamine and has dopaminergic effects on the brain. Modafinil can help reduce cravings, improve short-term memory, attention levels, and the improvement of motor skills.
• Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that is believed to be able to offset cravings in meth addicts.
• Mirtazapine is a special type of antidepressant that is believed to be able to reverse drug addiction conditioning. This antidepressant may be able to suppress cravings, improve mood, and calm anxiety.
• Topiramate is an anticonvulsant medication that works to calm the nervous system. It is believed to help meth addicts deal with strong cravings to use and calm anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
There are many medications for addiction that are currently in the testing stages. The hope is that there will one day be a medication that will directly treat addiction. For now, addicts that want to change their lives and live a clean daily existence can get the help they need from clinical recovery programs and symptomatic medication.
If you are dealing with a meth addiction, talk to a family member, a friend, or your doctor about getting the treatment you need to move forward into a brighter future.