Methamphetamine addiction has reached crisis proportions in communities throughout the United States. While methamphetamine abuse has inspired many works of fiction, such as television series “Breaking Bad,” its consequences are all too real for millions of Americans, creating an ever-growing need for methamphetamine withdrawal treatment and meth treatment programs.

Methamphetamine – usually called “meth” for short –can be swallowed, snorted, taken intravenously or smoked. The majority of meth found in the United States is smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels. However, small domestic meth labs also contribute to the supply. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2014 there were 9,338 incidents involving clandestine meth labs, chemical dumpsites or equipment used to make meth.

In 2015 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.4% of Americans 26 years or older said they had used meth at some point in their lifetime. According to the PBS series Frontline “There are two current basic profiles of methamphetamine users: students (both high school and college) and white, blue-collar and unemployed persons in their 20s and 30s.

The Effects of Meth Use

Meth is a central nervous system stimulant. It works by producing stimulating the production of dopamine. This neurotransmitter acts on the brain’s reward center by increasing energy levels and creating feelings of wellbeing and a heightened sense of pleasure. Users also feel increased energy and alertness. Meth is able to boost dopamine very rapidly producing euphoric feelings in what users call a “rush.” According to UCLA professor Dr. Richard Rawson “meth produces an extreme peak of euphoria that people describe as something like they’ve never experienced.” The effects produced generally last 6-8 hours, depending on the quantities ingested.

Continued meth usage creates numerous painful and dangerous side effects underscoring the need for methamphetamine detox. The effects include:

  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Violent behavior
  • Psychosis (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • Skin sores caused by scratching
  • Severe weight loss
  • Severe dental problems
  • Problems with thinking, emotion, and memory

Of particular concern is meth’s impact on the brain. Frontline reports that researchers have found that repeated use of meth begins destroying that part of the brain that produces dopamine. As a result, meth users can only feel pleasure by taking ever greater quantities of the drug. “It actually changes how the brain operates,” according to Rawson. “It’s a wonder that anyone ever gets off meth.”

This impact on the brain underscores the challenge faced by those addicted to meth. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes that this requires us to first get the correct perspective on treating addiction to meth and other drugs. “For far too long people have thought about addiction as a character flaw or a moral failing. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion and with urgency.”

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Detox and Treatment For Meth Addiction

Detox from methamphetamine is the first step in combating meth addiction. Meth addicts undergo detox – short for “detoxification” – a process by which toxic substances that have built up over the course of the user’s addiction are eliminated from the body. Methamphetamine detox can produce a variety of uncomfortable side effects. For that reason, methamphetamine detox is done under careful medical supervision. This allows our clinicians to monitor and treat whatever side effects occur.

It is important for addicts to realize that detox from methamphetamine is just the first step. It is vital for the addict to understand the underlying causes and conditions fueling his addiction. At Sovereign Health of Texas we are committed to treating patients with a range of evidenced-based therapies and equipping them with the life skills and tools they need to thrive and enjoy lasting recovery. Our programs include:

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

In addition to residential inpatient treatment we offer both a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Our programs provides patients with the opportunity to attend to their recovery in a supervised setting away from any potential distractions and lowers their risk of relapse.

Overcoming an addiction to meth can be a serious challenge but it is one that can be successfully met with the proper care and compassion. To learn more about methamphetamine treatment centers or any aspect of our program for recovery please call our 24/7 helpline.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie