Using Meth at All Costs (Explained)
When meth addiction is severe, life without the drug can seem impossible. But addiction often comes at the cost of your health, friends, family, employment, and so much more that makes life fulfilling. Despite the harm it can cause, though, addiction is not easy to walk away from. It is a disease that needs thorough, continued treatment. Managing addiction is much more than a matter of stopping drug use.
This should not discourage you, however. Many others have succeeded in living without their addiction, and you can too. Your addiction-free future relies on you getting help as soon as possible. Reaching out can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start, but we are here to help make the process of starting treatment as stress-free as possible. Call 706-480-8733 today to discover addiction treatment programs in your area.
Meth addiction has the potential to negatively affect nearly every aspect of your life, yet quitting can seem like an impossible task. With proper treatment, however, many people can successfully overcome the obstacles to recovery.
- What Treatment Can Do for You
- Behavioral Therapy at a Glance
- Why It’s So Hard to Quit
- Health Reasons to Quit
- Addiction-Free Life is Possible
What Treatment Can Do for You
With the proper addiction treatment, many people see drastic improvement in their lives. Improvement is often due to behavioral therapy, which is a common method of treatment for drug addiction. Different types of medications may also be useful for certain substance use disorders, helping to ease withdrawal symptoms, for example. However, there are currently no medications that have proven effective in treating meth addiction specifically. Although studies involving pharmacological treatment are underway, behavioral therapies are currently the best approach to treating meth addiction. Therapy can address not just drug use, but also an array of problems that often accompany addiction.
A major part of treating addiction is recognizing and avoiding triggers for relapse. This is mainly what behavioral therapy aims to do. Therapy helps people change their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use so that they are able to manage stressful situations and other triggers that might lead to relapse.
Every type of therapy may not apply to you in your journey to recovery. Treatment is meant to be unique to you. In order to be successful, treatment should to address a person and their needs as a whole, because addiction can impact so many aspects of a person’s life. Treatment goes far beyond stopping drug use. Counselors can work with you to address your specific medical, mental, social, occupational, family, and legal needs.
The Hard Work Ahead
Although it may seem impossible right now, life without addiction is within reach. However, it’s important to remember that treatment is not a quick fix. Recovery requires effort and willingness on your part. In order to remain in recovery long-term, you will have to:
- Relearn how to live without drugs
- Work on the problems caused by your drug use
- Stay away from the people/places you associate with drug use
- Learn what makes you crave using, so you can avoid or work on those things
- Treat other problems that led to your drug use, such as anxiety or depression
Although recovery involves commitment and hard work, so many people believe the effort is worth it. Treatment has helped countless addicts start fully living their lives again.
Behavioral Therapy at a Glance
There are several types of behavioral therapies that address different issues of addiction. You may not need every kind, and not each one will work for you. Your treatment program will work with you to find what suits your needs.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Motivational enhancement therapy can be especially helpful when someone is beginning treatment. It makes the use of one’s readiness to change their behavior. This type of therapy helps patients discover and make use of their own motivations for stopping drug use so they feel more encouraged to stick with treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) also deals with self-assessment, but takes it a step further to help patients actually make changes to their behavior. Therapists help patients recognize the situations in which they’re most likely to use drugs and teach them how to avoid or cope with them moving forward. CBT helps patients to understand their damaging behaviors and alter them.
Contingency management is another type of behavioral therapy that uses positive reinforcement to encourage remaining drug free. For example, patients are provided with rewards or certain privileges in return for attending and participating in counseling sessions, taking treatment medications and prescribed, or passing drug tests. This helps people associate staying off drugs with positive results.
Some people whose addictions have impacted or are impacted by their family relationships benefit from family therapy. This helps address family influences on drug use and can improve overall family functioning, which can promote positive behavior and decrease drug use. Adolescents especially are often more successful in treatment when they have the support of their parents.
Twelve-step facilitation is an individual therapy that prepares people for engagement in a 12-step program. Although 12-step programs are not medical treatments, they do provide additional support that can help people stay in medical treatment. They emphasize mutual support and provide a drug-free community for those in recovery. Twelve-step facilitation follows the themes of the 12-steps, which include acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in treatment.
Why It’s So Hard to Quit
This issue of addiction does not end with drug use. Someone who is addicted to meth or any other drug might do almost anything to keep taking it. This can include lying, stealing, or hurting people. Using meth at all costs can lead to family problems, losing a job, and even arrest and jail time. Even when people understand this, they can still be unable to quit.
People start using drugs for many reasons, often to feel good or stop feeling bad. As is often the case with teenagers, many start using drugs simply because others around them are doing it and they are curious or want to fit in.
Whatever the reason, taking drugs is usually a choice at first. But as you continue to take them, exercising self-control becomes much more difficult. At this point, drug use is less of a choice and more of a compulsion. Research has shown that addiction makes changes to the brain in areas that are involved in judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and self-control. This explains the harmful and dangerous behaviors associated with addiction and why it’s so hard for addicts to restrain themselves. Loss of control over drug use is the biggest sign of addiction.
Perpetuating the Cycle
Addiction is a chronic disease. So even if you stop using for a while, addiction can still remain for a long time. It does not simply go away with time, like a cold might. Things like withdrawal and triggers can lead to relapse and start the cycle over again.
Withdrawal results from dependence on a drug. Addictive drugs generally stimulate the reward centers of the brain, which are responsible for making you feel good. Meth specifically increases the release of dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain associated with pleasurable experiences. When you continue taking it for a while, your brain’s reward circuit gets used to the excess of dopamine, so you eventually need more of the drug to get the same good feeling. As drug use continues, you will likely develop dependence on the drug, meaning your brain and body now need the drug simply to feel normal. At this point, if you stop taking the drug, you will typically feel sick, anxious, and irritable. The unpleasant symptoms of meth withdrawal can make you feel as though you can’t live without the drug.
Sometimes people are able to quit their drug use for a while despite withdrawal if they are away from their triggers, which are people, places, or other things that remind them of their drug use and cause cravings. Unless people with addictions learn to avoid or manage their triggers, they are likely to relapse any time these triggers are present.
Health Reasons to Quit
As mentioned, addiction can affect people in a variety of ways, but meth inevitably takes a considerable toll on both your brain and body. The changes that meth makes to your brain can affect many areas of your mental state. Some effects include:
- Deficits in thinking and motor skills
- Increased distractibility
- Memory loss
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Mood disturbances
In long-term users, meth use can even lead to the development of symptoms of psychosis, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. A common example of a delusion is the sensation of insects crawling under the skin. This can cause people to pick and scratch at their skin, resulting in sores. In some cases, symptoms of psychosis can persist even after a person has quit using meth.
Meth can also cause several heart problems, including rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Because meth decreases appetite, it is also commonly associated with significant weight loss. Continued use can lead to what is known as “meth mouth” or severe dental problems due to a combination of poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, and teeth grinding.
After prolonged use, the development of physical dependence makes it difficult to feel any pleasure from anything other than the drug. In many cases, however, long-term users continue to use meth not to produce any of the pleasurable effects, but rather to avoid the uncomfortable effects of meth withdrawal.
Addiction-Free Life is Possible
Meth addiction can be damaging in so many ways, not just to your mind and body, but to those around you and other components of your life. But when you’ve come to depend on any drug, living without it can seem like an impossibility. It’s likely that you no longer use meth to feel good, but rather to avoid feeling bad. Maybe you’ve even tried to quit, but the meth withdrawal symptoms were too much to bear.
Proper treatment can help you get past the initial period of withdrawal so you can actually focus on solving problems instead of simply coping. Treatment addresses your situation as a whole, which means it takes into account not just your drug use, but any surrounding issues or areas of your life impacted by addiction. Anything you leave unaddressed could hinder your progress in recovery. Fortunately, addiction counselors are equipped to help you deal with many aspects of addiction.
Treatment may sound complex, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the process. But while it’s true that it is no simple task, there are people to help you through every step. First, however, it is up to you to reach out for help, which we can provide. We are here to guide you to your best treatment options in your area. Call us today at 706-480-8733 to speak to a representative about your next steps toward a happier, healthier life.