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New approach to treating crystal meth addiction

28 September | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Crystal methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant drug that acts on the central nervous system (CNS) by activating the production of feel-good neurotransmitters. It is chemically similar yet more powerful than amphetamines, which are sometimes prescribed to treat mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Continued use of meth is believed to cause a condition called “serotonin syndrome” or “serotonin toxicity” where the freely-acting serotonin on the CNS can be potentially fatal. There is also an increased risk of physical dependence and addiction.

The immediate ‘high’ that consumes an individual can also come down just as fast, leaving the user to crave for more to achieve the same state. The side effects of meth addiction include dizziness, dry mouth, impaired speech, rapid heartbeat and insomnia among others. The withdrawal process can be very painful and dangerous as there is a high probability of relapse, especially if the process is done without professional assistance. It may also lead to instant death. Therefore, in-depth understanding of the treatment procedures as well as up-to-date researches on the matter is of utmost importance to ensure higher success rates of long-term recovery from meth addiction.

Best practices in managing meth withdrawal

A most recent attempt is that of Samantha L. Wiendels, MA, counselling psychology candidate from the Brescia University College, who explored the best practices of managing methamphetamine withdrawal, taking into consideration the challenges faced by the patients as well as health care service providers. Her report was based on the analysis of information collected from 34 patients and staff members of a treatment center that continued for about eight weeks. She identified five themes that would ensure effective management of withdrawal in a detoxification setting. These are:

1. Individual support as per patients’ needs was the “overarching theme”. The need for personalized care arises from unpredictable symptoms, interplay of physical, psychological and environmental factors, and different stages of withdrawal.

2. Staged integration for treating methamphetamine patients separately for the safety of other patients and effectiveness of the treatment. It offered greater supervision during the acute phase.

3. Education of patients and staff members about the addiction, its symptoms and risks as well as the needs of a patient especially during the withdrawal stage.

4. Utilizing a two-tiered approach, which involved paying attention to the physical symptoms and physical well-being in phase l, and psychological well-being in phase II. This ensured safety and allowed implementation of cognitive-behavioural treatment approaches.

5. Resource and team collaboration involved team efforts whereby multiple skill-sets were utilized to help manage the withdrawal stage and overall treatment procedure. It also solicited support from independent crisis team and emergency services personnel.

Although the analysis is limited in terms of the number of participants and treatment facilities, Wiendels emphasizes “that these methods do need to be replicated”. She is hopeful that her analysis can pave way for more effective approaches and policies to address the challenges of a drug detox process. Team collaborations and understanding of individual triggers are essential for better management of drug withdrawal, and to ensure long-lasting recovery.

Drug detoxification is necessary

Excessive use of any harmful substance can leave a lifelong negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of an individual, as well as on near and dear ones. Detoxification is the first step to seeking sobriety as the body needs to get rid of the harmful toxins accumulated from long-term use. Once the traces of the drug are removed, the body and mind are in a better state to respond to medication and therapies.

The experts at Detox Facilities Texas can provide you with more information about substance use addiction and can connect you or your loved one to state-of-the-art detox centers in Texas that provide effective detox programs. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 671-4308 or chat with a representative to know more.