Although the national conversation of drug abuse and overdose deaths has been focused on the opioid crisis, methamphetamines are still the leading killer for Texans. 715 people overdosed on meth in Texas in 2016. This is compared to the 539 who overdosed on heroin in Texas in 2016. Heroin and other opiates are still a major problem, but meth remains one of the most addictive and life-threatening drugs available on the streets today. Compound the problem with fentanyl being increasingly added to batches of meth and overdose deaths could skyrocket in the next few years.
It is easy to become addicted even after just the first few times you use methamphetamine as your body can become very dependent on the high. It is incredibly potent and the high can last for over 10 hours, which is very attractive to people looking to get high. A lot of addicts begin using meth thinking they could control their usage. They may just want to be more alert or stay up all night to study for a final exam in college. Some users think they can use it for a little while to help them lose weight. But sadly, even people who think they can control their use get caught up in the highly addictive properties of the drug very fast.
Meth addiction usually requires a longer and more intense outpatient treatment program than for other drug addictions. The initial stage of effective meth rehab treatment programs is the initial detox. Since meth is such a physically addictive drug, the initial detox can be quite difficult for the patient. The first 24 hours are extremely intense, and the early physical withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks, depending on the amount of time the person has been using meth. Underlying mental health issues can come out during this process and can make the path towards sobriety even more difficult to navigate.
As the initial detox and acute meth withdrawal is completed, the post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years depending on the length of abuse. This stage of recovery can include severe depression, anxiety, physical fatigue, paranoia, delusions, insomnia and an intense condition known as anhedonia where the patient has severely reduced motivation and the inability to experience pleasure. This occurs because a serious, long-term meth addiction can destroy the dopamine receptors in the brain.
The psychological affects of meth withdrawal can be almost too much to bear for many recovering addicts. During the long, difficult withdrawal process, relapse is quite common. Many who are in treatment cannot deal with the negative effects of the withdrawal symptoms and the urge to relapse during this stage is very strong. The best treatment regimen for meth abuse is this initial physical detox and a complimentary psychological therapy that helps identify potential relapse triggers and changes the mental perception of the meth user towards a sustained, lifelong sobriety. Setting up positive reinforcement and alternative coping mechanisms to help the patient build self-confidence to achieve goals and maintain their newfound sobriety.
Meth addiction affects not only the user, but also their friends, family members and the community as a whole. Here in Texas, methamphetamine abuse has been a problem for decades and it is compounded by the socioeconomic factors unique to Texas life. Addiction knows no boundaries and many different types of people from all different backgrounds can easily become addicted.
If you or a loved one in your family has a substance abuse problem, give us a call at More Than Rehab. We are open 24hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you and answer any questions you may have.