How to Help a Crystal Meth Addict
- Table of ContentsPrint
- Is Crystal Meth Addictive?
- What Are the Signs of Addiction?
- Am I Addicted to Crystal Meth?
- Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment
- Call Our Hotline Today
In 2012, 1.2 million people in the US reported using methamphetamine in the previous year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. With this rate of crystal meth use, there are doubtless many people in need of treatment. As with all drugs of abuse, seeking professional treatment from mental health and addiction specialists will lead to the highest chance of methamphetamine recovery success.
Unfortunately, there is no medication treatment currently available for crystal meth abuse. Because of this, treatment will take a different course. Crystal meth addiction treatment will focus on counseling and other therapeutic options like:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Contingency management.
- Family education.
- 12-step support programs.
Is Crystal Meth Addictive?
Overall, methamphetamine is a very addictive substance because of its abilities to provide a strong, lasting high. The method by which the substance enters the body – for instance, smoking vs. snorting – can modify the impact of the drug and the tendency to become addicted to it. The very intense rush achieved when smoking crystal meth can render the addictive properties even stronger.
One of the effects of meth as it reaches the brain is to stimulate dopamine release. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is related to rewarding sensations and motivation. Not only does crystal meth trigger the higher flow of dopamine, but it also prevents the dopamine from being reabsorbed back into the brain cells. This results in the sustained high that even cocaine cannot produce.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
Like other stimulant drugs, crystal meth is usually abused in binges or “runs” that continue until no more of the substance can be obtained.
When looking for the signs of a crystal meth problem in someone you love, check for both the short-term and long-term signs of use – even if you don’t think your loved one has been using for long – since long-term signs may show up as a result of a binge.
The short-term signs include:
- High motivation to accomplish tasks.
- Decreased need for sleep.
- Speaking very rapidly and moving between topics quickly.
- Not eating for extended periods.
- Inability to sit still.
The long-term signs of crystal meth addiction include:
- Psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and paranoid delusions.
- Repetitive movements.
- Inability to pay attention or focus.
- Cognitive problems marked by poor judgment and memory loss.
- Excessive weight loss.
- Aggression and violence towards self and others.
- Changes in physical appearance, including declining dental health and scars from skin picking.
Following a binge, the crystal meth user may return to a period of normalcy that can last for days, weeks, or months; however, this period of normalcy should not be taken as an indication that the individual is no longer addicted.
Am I Addicted to Crystal Meth?
Most people do not find crystal meth to be a drug that can be used casually or recreationally for long before the scales are tipped towards addiction. With the high addictive potential, using the substance even a few times can lead to addiction.
Consider these other indicators that you are addicted to crystal meth:
- Your relationships and work have been failing due to use.
- You have been spending more time and money to obtain the drug and are experiencing financial issues as a result.
- You have encountered issues with law enforcement related to crystal meth.
- Despite these and other negative consequences, you continue seeking the substance.
Take the Quiz
Complete the following assessment to determine the severity of the problem.
Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment
Crystal meth treatment focuses on long-term recovery—utilizing diverse modalities of treatment intervention and multiple types of therapeutic support. Treatment options will often include:
- Providing education regarding the nature of crystal meth use, abuse, and withdrawal so that relapse triggers and other patterns of addiction may be realized and avoided in the future.
Behavioral/ mental health therapies that utilize facets of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency-management (CM).
- CBT works to build connections between the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the individual to understand the role crystal meth fulfilled and ways to function without it in the future.
- CM works to assess the people, places, and things that trigger use or cravings for the substance. By providing real rewards for avoiding use, recovery can be extended.
- Family education and therapy that illustrate the level of influence that family and close supports have towards perpetuating or ending the addiction. Together, better plans can be created to maintain abstinence.
- 12-step supports to build and maintain a support structure based on maintaining recovery from alcohol and other drugs. Daily or weekly peer meetings can aid in having goals and direction while moving through the steps.
- Drug testing that is administered at regular or variable intervals to keep the person in recovery accountable for their decision-making.
The best crystal meth treatment programs are the ones that combine some or all of the elements listed above.
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- Methamphetamine. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2015, from https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/methrrs.pdf
- Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
- Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/monitoring-future-study-trends-in-prevalence-various-drugs