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How to Treat MXE Drug Addiction

What Is MXE?

Methoxetamine—also known as MXE, M-ket, or Mexxy—is a synthetic drug with effects similar to those of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine. It can be inhaled through the nose, injected, or taken orally.1 It is, in fact, so similar to ketamine that it is sometimes called “legal ketamine.”

MXE can cause users to experience altered sensory experiences, a distorted sense of reality, and a feeling of detachment from their bodies. Some users also report feeling as though they are having a ‘near-death experience.’ The effects of MXE may take up to 90 minutes to begin and can last for as long as 5 to 7 hours.1

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2011, 21.6 million people over the age of 12 were in need of addiction treatment, but only 2.3 million received the help they needed.2 Reaching out to loved ones struggling with MXE and other addictions can help to bridge this gap.

Is MXE Addictive?

Addiction is a chronic illness that involves continued drug use despite significant problems in a person’s life.

Drugs like MXE can be addictive because of the drug’s impact on the structure and functioning of the brain.5 Studies show that the drug may influence dopamine levels in a way similar to PCP—another addictive dissociative drug.6

Early use of drugs like MXE can also permanently impact the developing brain of adolescents.5 An adolescent’s prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for judgment, emotions, and impulse control—continues to develop into adulthood. Using drugs like MXE during this stage of development can lead to significant and permanent negative consequences. Even though addiction poses serious problems, treatment centers are available to help you or a loved one quit. Treatment may involve many elements—for example detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient care.

Many people begin treatment in an inpatient facility and step down to an outpatient program where they can find support in early recovery. To find a program, please call American Addiction Centers (AAC) free at .

What Are the Signs of MXE Addiction?

MXE users may develop addictions even after short periods of use. Symptoms of a substance use disorder include the following:7

  • Taking larger amounts of a drug over time.
  • Repeated failed attempts to cut down.
  • Spending long periods of time acquiring, taking, and/or recovering from a drug.

Tolerance may also indicate that an addiction is developing, as the user will require more and more of a drug in order to get “high.” Tolerance can be dangerous because users may continually increase the amount of the drugs they use and put themselves at higher risk of overdose.

Withdrawal symptoms may arise in a person who has become physically dependent on MXE. Withdrawal occurs when a person stops using the drug abruptly and begins to experience symptoms like low mood and depressive thoughts.1

If a person is addicted to MXE, you will likely also regularly notice the signs and symptoms of intoxication, which can include euphoria, distorted sense of reality, and confusion. If you think that you may be addicted to MXE, consider seeking addiction treatment. With the proper tools and support, you can quit and begin the road to recovery.

How to Approach an Addict

Family and friends of those struggling with addictions to MXE can help motivate their loved ones to seek treatment. In the past, addiction professionals have encouraged taking a confrontational approach toward drug users.3 However, research has revealed that empathic and supportive approaches are more effective in getting users into treatment.

Discussing concern over loved one's MXE use

If you are concerned about a loved one’s MXE use, consider approaching them in the following manner:

  • Non-judgmentally express your concerns about their use.
  • Maintain a neutral tone and non-aggressive body language.
  • Approach them in a familiar, private setting.
  • Avoid blaming and name-calling.
  • Avoid coercing them into treatment.
  • Provide them with a variety of different treatment options.
  • Convey that it is their choice to enter treatment.

If you do choose to employ a more confrontational approach—such as by staging a properly arranged intervention—there are ways to make the experience a positive and motivating one. You may wish to get the help of a professional interventionist to make sure that the meeting is well planned, involves the right people, and is set up in the best possible way to encourage your loved one to enter a treatment program.

Once a drug user agrees to attend treatment, family members may choose to be involved in the process by attending therapy sessions, helping with necessary arrangements after rehabilitation, planning, and providing support. Family support and involvement in treatment has been shown to lead to better long-term outcomes.2

MXE Addiction Treatment Types

Addiction treatment for drugs like MXE may take a variety of forms. Evidence-based treatments supported by research include the following:2

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): focuses on the relationship between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal of CBT is to identify and change negative thoughts that lead to destructive behaviors such as drug use. CBT also teaches coping skills, helps those in recovery to anticipate and avoid high-risk situations, and increases a person’s sense of control over his or her own behavior.
  • Reward-based contingency therapy: uses rewards as motivators to stay sober, especially during the early stages of recovery where a person’s risk of relapse is particularly high.
  • Twelve-step facilitation therapy: aims to introduce and promote involvement in 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Therapy focuses on helping program participants work through 12 steps to recovery while they accept that they are powerless over their addictions and surrender to a higher power (as defined by each individual).

Therapeutic approaches that support family involvement in treatment include:

  • Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT): assumes that drug use is reinforced in a variety of ways by environmental factors, including the family’s behavior.4 Often this involves rewarding an individual’s drug use with the family’s attention. The aim of CRAFT is to provide reinforcement for healthy behaviors like abstinence. CRAFT also teaches communication skills, promotes positive interactions between family members, and encourages self-care.
  • Family Behavior Therapy (FBT): teaches skills to improve relations between family members and reduce substance use.2 Treatment involves setting goals, reviewing progress, and developing a reward system for when goals are reached.

Treatment for MXE addiction may take place in one or more of the following settings:

Getting medical treatment for MXE addiction
  • Detox: frequently the first step in addiction treatment. The goal of detox is to rid the body of drugs and alcohol and manage any unpleasant or potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Detox may be necessary in some cases because MXE may lead to withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and depressive thoughts that may hamper a person’s ability to stay sober.1
  • Treatment in a medical facility: offers intensive therapy in a structured, drug-free environment. The benefits of inpatient treatment include having a living environment free from outside distractions and having access to professional support 24 hours per day.
  • Treatment outside of a medical facility: offers therapy one or more times per week. This form of treatment requires relatively less of a time commitment, but it can still be hugely beneficial. Formal outpatient substance abuse treatment programs meet during the day in designated locations and afford participants greater freedom, since they are not required to stay in a facility.

Recovery from MXE addiction can occur across various treatment settings and via a number of different therapeutic approaches. The type of treatment most appropriate for a person will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of their addiction and the presence of other substance use, mental health problems, or medical issues.

Find MXE Treatment Programs

Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S., and a variety of treatment types is available. You can use SAMHSA’s Find Treatment tool to search for MXE treatment facilities. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading treatment provider and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. If you or someone you know is struggling with MXE addiction, please call our hotline free at . Our representatives are available to assist you with finding a treatment program.

MXE Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

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