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Methamphetamine Overview

Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses that are prescribed are much lower than those typically abused. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment. Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is taken orally, intranasally (snorting the powder), by needle injection, or by smoking.

Methamphetamine Abuse Treatment

Currently, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are comprehensive cognitive-behavioral interventions. For example, the Matrix Model—a behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for nondrug-related activities—has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse. Contingency management interventions, which provide tangible incentives in exchange for engaging in treatment and maintaining abstinence, have also been shown to be effective. There are no medications at this time approved to treat methamphetamine addiction; however, this is an active area of research for NIDA. Unfortunately, the success rates of treatment are rather modest. Even with the most effective treatment for adults, only about 50 percent of enrollees achieve an initial 2-week period of abstinence, and among those who do, approximately half will resume use within a year. Across studies, 1-year abstinence rates have ranged between 10 and 30 percent for the various behavioral approaches. As with other addictions, these data suggest that a chronic care model should be considered for Methamphetamine addiction, with treatment intensity stepped up or down based on need, comorbid addictions or other mental disorders, and the availability of family and other supports.

Methamphetamine Signs of Abuse

In addition to being addicted to methamphetamine, chronic abusers may exhibit symptoms that can include significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. They also may display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects creeping under the skin). Psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit abusing methamphetamine, and stress has been shown to precipitate spontaneous recurrence of methamphetamine psychosis in formerly psychotic methamphetamine abusers. These and other problems reflect significant changes in the brain caused by abuse of methamphetamine. Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning. Studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.

Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine increases the release and blocks the reuptake of the brain chemical (or neurotransmitter) dopamine, leading to high levels of the chemical in the brain—a common mechanism of action for most drugs of abuse. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or “rush,” that many users feel after snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. Chronic methamphetamine abuse significantly changes how the brain functions. Noninvasive human brain imaging studies have shown alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. Recent studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers. Repeated methamphetamine abuse can also lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, which is accompanied by chemical and molecular changes in the brain. Some of these changes persist long after methamphetamine abuse is stopped. Reversal of some of the changes, however, may be observed after sustained periods of abstinence (e.g., more than 1 year)

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Tolerance may develop and users may quickly become addicted and use it with increasing frequency and in increasing doses. Abrupt discontinuation of use can produce extreme fatigue, mental depression, apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, and disorientation.

Methamphetamine Abuse Statistics

According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of past-month methamphetamine users age 12 and older decreased by over half between 2006 and 2008. Current (past-month) users were numbered at 731,000 in 2006, 529,000 in 2007, and 314,000 in 2008. Significant declines from 2002 and 2008 also were noted for lifetime and past-year use in this age group. From 2002 to 2008, past-month use of methamphetamine declined significantly among youths aged 12 to 17, from 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent, and young adults aged 18 to 25 also reported significant declines in past-month use, from 0.6 percent in 2002 to 0.2 percent in 2008.

References
http://www.drugabuse.gov
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs
http://www.usa.gov/
http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/factsheets.shtml
http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/drugportal/drugportal.jsp

Individualized detox protocols are carefully monitored and tailored to address detox symptoms. As part of our holistic approach, our detox incorporates traditional detox with biofeedback sessions.

Clients being treated in our residential program reside with us for the specific amount of days established in their individualized addiction treatment program.

Our treatment model is rooted in the belief that it is our utmost responsibility to do whatever we can to prepare our clients for life outside of treatment.

In addition to our traditional therapeutic treatments we offer holistic and alternative therapies such as: yoga, chiropractic care, medical massage, personal training and art therapy.