Addiction Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse - ATS

Methamphetamine Abuse, Dependence, and Treatment

Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse and Dependence - Addiction Treatment Services

Amphetamines can provide a person with much-needed help in fighting specific disorders, but also carry the potential for addiction development. Methamphetamine, in particular, poses a great risk, due to its effective and overwhelming delivery system.

Abuse or reliance on such stimulants can lead to a stimulant abuse disorder. Recovery depends on the person in danger of addiction, and those around them, being informed of the risks and consequences, including how best to start the road to recovery.

Necessary information includes understanding:

  • What the drugs are
  • Their side effects
  • Which symptoms one may experience during withdrawal
  • What options exist to help recovery

What Is Methamphetamine?

Known by many names, including meth, chalk, ice and crystal, this stimulant drug affects the central nervous system. This highly addictive substance most often comes in a white, bitter crystalline powder that lacks any odor and dissolves quickly in water or alcohol.

First discovered in the early 20th century, methamphetamine originated from amphetamine and, at first, was used in decongestants and inhalers. Use of the drug boosted activity and talkativeness, reduced hunger and flooded a person with a euphoric feeling.

The primary difference between methamphetamine and its parent drug lies in how much of the drug makes it into the brain when similar doses are administered. Methamphetamine enters the brain in much higher quantities, making it the more powerful stimulant, and the one with the most harmful effects on the nervous system.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II stimulant, limiting the legal acquisition to non-refillable prescriptions. These prescriptions include use for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain weight management regimens. However, these doses are well below the potential abuse doses.

What Is Desoxyn?

Many people ask if Desoxyn is meth, but the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Desoxyn is a version of methamphetamine that most often sees use in treatment of children diagnosed with ADHD or exogenous obesity. The drug operates as a nerve stimulant, taking the form of a substrate acting on the neurotransmitters that produce serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Desoxyn stimulates production levels of these neurotransmitters, increasing the quantity to help keep them in the body longer. This boosts attention span in children and acts as an appetite inhibitor for those suffering from exogenous obesity.

Methamphetamine Side Effects

Methamphetamine boosts the production of dopamine, while blocking the body’s reabsorption of the neurotransmitter. This keeps dopamine in the body in greater concentration. Because this neurotransmitter causes a person to feel motivated, excited or happy, accelerated release sends a person into a euphoric state.

Overuse or abuse of meth stems from a chemical change to the brain, creating a dependence. A person can develop a tolerance to ADHD drugs like Desoxyn in as little as two weeks, meaning the potential for a person to develop a dependence, either physical or psychological, is strong and likely to happen early in use.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Crystal Methamphetamine Use

For users who are cut off from methamphetamine, a series of withdrawal symptoms will manifest. During use, the users already experience some of the symptoms because they tend to binge use the drug, leading to extreme highs followed by a severe crash, leaving them fatigued and seeking more of the drug.

Physical withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Dehydration
  • Compulsive hunger
  • Stomach pain or irritability from overeating
  • Poor coordination
  • Body shakes or seizures
  • Arrhythmia or tachycardia
  • Cardiac arrest

Psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Being quick to anger
  • Irritability
  • Extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Craving drugs or something else
  • Massive mood swings
  • Anxious or depression
  • Nightmares or hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation

Patients taking Desoxyn may take it upon themselves to boost their dosage if they start to lose the associated feelings or reactions to the drug. If use of Desoxyn is cut off, a patient may experience numerous withdrawal symptoms. These include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, nausea or vomiting, depression and personality shifts.

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

The method for methamphetamine addiction treatment with the best record of success is behavioral therapy. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management interventions.

One effective strategy is a comprehensive approach, which uses:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Education for the support system
  • Individual counseling
  • Regular drug testing
  • Multi-step support system
  • Positive encouragement toward activities that don’t involve the drug

Another effective strategy lies in using an incentive-based approach, wherein the patient receives tangible prizes as a reward for taking part in treatment programs. An example would be the Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery, a treatment created to aid recovery from cocaine abuse. The program has demonstrated efficacy in aiding methamphetamine abusers in understanding how to quit smoking methamphetamine.

Many drug addiction recovery programs rely on medical aid to help fight withdrawal symptoms and to enable a speedier recovery. However, no medications currently exist that counteract effects from methamphetamine abuse or help extend the abstinence period from drug reliance.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) prioritized finding a drug that can help with recovery from stimulant addiction. Recent research focused on targeting activity in the glial cells, where a new drug showed it could suppress neuroinflammatory reactions.

Another approach takes advantage of the immune system, placing antibodies in the bloodstream to encourage white blood cells to learn to attack methamphetamine in the body before it reaches the brain.

Road to Recovery

While many promising approaches exist, the most effective program a person can use in their journey to recovery involves a professional recovery team such as those found at rehabilitation centers. These facilities have the right equipment to monitor a patient’s symptoms as medical professionals keep the patient as healthy as possible. They can provide needed medication and activities that promote recovery.

Many rehab centers include holistic approaches that take advantage of non-traditional treatment methods such as acupuncture and massage to help keep the body healthy.

Finding Methamphetamine Addiction Help

The threat from amphetamines and their derivative forms remains strong. Help does exist, however, as the nation takes this threat more and more seriously. From new drug tests to help dealing with withdrawal to medical centers dedicated to walking a patient through a recovery program, no one needs to face this problem alone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with stimulant addiction, seek help today. Addiction Treatment Services offers a trusted hand in finding the help you need. Reach out to us for a consultation.

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Prescription Stimulant Abuse Has Opposite Effect for Students

adderallWhen most people think about prescription drug abuse they think about painkillers. However, there is another category of prescription medication that is being abused by many students across the country. Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin have been making their way across college campuses and even high schools. The drugs are being sold to young people who believe it will make them stay awake and alert when they are studying for a big test or if they have a lot of homework.

These drugs were created to help people with ADHD focus on their work. Unfortunately, it did not take long for other people to realize that when they take the drugs they are very powerful stimulants. This realization enticed many youth and young adults into taking the drug without a prescription, oftentimes developing a strong addiction to the pills due to their high potential for abuse.

Adderall and Ritalin are forms of amphetamine. They are powerful stimulants that increase the heart rate and cause a person to have more energy, temporarily. They are highly addictive as they mimic the effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants. Many people who are addicted to methamphetamine or cocaine started out abusing some type of prescription stimulant. For those who are abusing the drug in order to get better grades, studies show that the opposite actually happens.

“Many (students) are misusing or abusing stimulants thinking it is going to help them to concentrate and study more effectively, when in actuality, research shows that the kids who are using and abusing the stimulants actually have a lower grade point average than those who are not using stimulants,” explained certified alcohol and drug addiction counselor, Michelle De La Riva.

All across the country the DEA is holding drug take-back events where people are encouraged to bring their unused prescriptions for safe disposal. These take-back days are ways to prevent students from selling or buying unused prescriptions of potentially dangerous medications like these.

Survey Indicates Doctors Not Prepared For Prescription Stimulant Diversion

stimulantserAccording to the CDC, over 10 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been given the label as having Attention Dificit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and almost 70 percent of them are given medication. The prescription stimulants given to these kids can have a large array of side effects, including addiction.

A recent survey of more than 800 doctors who specialize in ADHD turned up some interesting results. For starters, nearly three quarters of the doctors said they received no training on the prevention of prescription drug diversion in medical school, and over half said they didn’t in their residency or fellowhip programs either.

At the same time, these doctors did feel that they saw patients who were trying to obtain prescriptions for stimulants for disingenuous reasons, ranging from wanting a study aid to weight loss and diversion.

The subject of prescription stimulant diversion and abuse continues to come up as the problems associated with the drugs and students seem to escalate. A prime example of this includes the fact that emergency room visits involved stimulants like these quadrupled in just six years, going from more than 5,500 in 2005 to well over 22,000 by 2011.

A recent story in the New York Times quoted Duke University psychologist and professor emeritus Dr. Keith Connors, who said, “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous. This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

While many people seem to think that giving away medications to people isn’t as bad as selling it to them, laws say otherwise. “In the eyes of the law, there is no difference between someone giving away a pill or selling one; they are both prosecuted as unlawful distribution of a controlled substance,” said Andrew Adesman, MD, senior investigator and chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

Many prescription drug abuse and recovery experts encourage parents to get second opinions regarding ADHD diagnoses and treatments, as over-prescribing continues to be a problem in America. Of course, if a young person truly does have a medical condition that needs to be address by a medication then it should be, but there also may be other doctors who have different options available. The more people become aware of the powerful side effects and abuse potential of various prescription drugs, the more they can avoid the potential problems associated with them.