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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Methamphetamine Detox - Is It Time To Go?

By Ben Pate

With methamphetamines being the signature drug addiction scourge of the past ten to fifteen years, the need for methamphetamine rehabilitation is a vital public health concern. At the same time, adverse changes in insurance coverage and budget cuts to local governments have worked to squeeze access to needed treatment, especially for younger people. Those suffering this addiction have to work harder to find out about their problem and discover what treatment options are available to them.

Military Use

Methamphetamines became prominent during the 1930s and 1940s but especially during World War II when they were given to both German and Japanese soldiers by their governments to help them stay awake for prolonged periods. The drug gave heightened alertness and energy but at a significant cost to health. Meth use is known to cause damage to the small blood vessels in the human brain, potentially leading to strokes. It also inflames the lining of the heart.


Methamphetamine abusers often go without sleep for days and can be full of nervous energy. That dubious benefit doesn't come cheaply. The short-term price is reddened, sunken eyes, aged skin pocked with sores and cracks, especially at the lips. Like heroin users, methamphetamine use develops a constant need to scratch all over their bodies.


As the addiction progresses, the methamphetamine addict may experience hallucinations. These hallucinations may be both visual and aural and won't necessarily coincide with the smoking of the drug but may occur sporadically as a result of damage done to the brain tissue. Further, the addict can expect to develop one of the most typical symptoms of long-term abuse, an alarming loss of weight and tooth decay in all teeth simultaneously.

Emotional Addiction

When the meth crisis first emerged, therapists soon learned that rehabilitation would have to involve more than simply addressing the pharmacological effects of the drug itself. Methamphetamines is a notorious "lifestyle drug", which is not partaken by isolate individuals so much as by close-knit "tribes" with each member becoming as attracted to this drug culture as to the drug itself.

Negative Social Bond

For treatment to have lasting impact, it is advisable to physically move the patient out of town, beyond the reach of his or her drug culture. The social reinforcement needs to be addressed just as much as the withdrawal from the drug. Otherwise, experience has shown that progress will be slow and relapse highly probable.

Types of Therapy

Treatment can be both individual, working one on one with a therapist, and in methamphetamine detoxification. One on one therapy is best for sorting the problems that underlie the addiction. These include compulsiveness, being overwhelmed with fears and a diminished sense of self. Group and then aftercare treatment is a good environment for identifying the events that trigger patients to seek and use the drug.

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