- Written by Marcel Gemme C.C.D.C
Methamphetamine Abuse: How to Treat It
Speed is a drug that is most often used by people who need to have a burst of energy, want to lose some weight, or stay alert to study for a test or drive hundreds of miles. Mostly used by truck drivers, students, overworked housewives, and even physicians, speed abuse has the tendency to start simple and then end up destroying lives.
Known by the common street names of speed, meth, ecstasy, among many others, methamphetamine is a mood-altering drug. It is very addictive because of the way that it makes the user feel when they first take the drug. Immediately following the ingestion of methamphetamine, there is a feeling of euphoria. It is commonly referred to as the "rush" of the drug. Many people continue to seek out this feeling through use of the drug. There is also an instant feeling of alertness, energy, and confidence. These are all addictive feelings which the body then craves.
Once someone is addicted to the drug, which can have some serious side effects from a prolonged use, it becomes increasingly harder to break them of this potentially deadly habit. Researchers, and physicians, have called a meth addiction one of the hardest of all to be free of. The psychological need of the drug is very strong and is ever present. However, intense treatment is needed immediately once someone has been determined to be addicted to methamphetamine.
The first thing in treating an addict is to recognize the seriousness of the addiction. Once the drug has been removed from the person abusing it, there will be serious withdrawals. The person addicted cannot possibly cope with these symptoms and will choose to seek out the drug with increasing aggressiveness. Long-term treatment in an in-patient facility is usually the only way that people abusing methamphetamine can reach a point where they can deal without the drug.
Treating the medical withdrawals is the next step. For many this is the hardest step. The good news is that this period lasts for a short time. The vomiting, pain, increased paranoia, and aggressive behavior are all a way that the body naturally adjusts to the sudden decrease of the drug levels.
After this period, the patient then goes through a fairly intensive meth treatment program that can be located in Alberta or somewhere else in Canada. For those who are heavy users, for a long period of time, this stage can last up to three years. While not all of this is through around the clock in-patient care, at least 12 months is. Depression, episodes of hallucinations, and feelings of suicide are often a part of the first six months.
The last part of treatment is a two-part process. First, there is life training for new skills and help in re-entering society. While this is going on, there is outpatient support care through groups, family, and visits with a treatment facility or counselor. This combination keeps the addict's mind busy so that they are not thinking about the drugs that they could be using. It also gives them a reason to stay away from the atmosphere that led to the use of the drugs in the first place.