Meth Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug. As a stimulant, meth increases activity in certain areas of the brain, and functions of the central nervous system are heightened as a result. For example, heart rate, body temperature, respiration, and blood pressure all rise under the influence of meth. Energy, attention, focus, pleasure, and excitement are enhanced as well, as chemical messengers in the brain, such as dopamine, are increased by the interaction of meth. Elevated levels of dopamine cause the intense “high” that is associated with meth, and the desire to recreate this feeling makes the drug extremely addictive.

Long-term use of meth can cause significant damage to the brain and the cells that make dopamine as well as to the nerve cells containing serotonin. Individuals who use meth long-term can have severe cognitive and emotional issues, including: aggressive behaviors, trouble with verbal learning and memory, violent outbursts, anxiety, depression, paranoia, confusion, distractibility, difficulties sleeping, movement, motor, and coordination issues, mood disturbances, visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. People are also at a higher risk for skin sores, infections from picking at their skin and unhealthy weight loss.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) reports that the sooner someone receives help for meth abuse, the better the long-term prognosis is. Meth is highly addictive, and the emotional lows and severe drug cravings associated with its use can make relapse highly likely. Behavioral therapies are usually considered the ideal form of treatment for meth addiction.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) uses both individual and group sessions to teach stress management, coping tools, communication, and other life skills to maintain abstinence and improve thinking and behavior patterns overall.