I’m scared and don’t know what I’m in for. What does meth treatment involve?
First, it’s alright to be scared, but you’ve already experienced the most frightening part of meth addiction: you’ve become addicted to drugs. That’s the scariest part and it gets better from here on in. As to how long you’re going to need to be on addiction treatment, that depends on you. This may seem like a simple answer, but the severity of the addiction dictates how long it takes to get you clean and sober.
The next thing that’s important to remember is that some changes to your brain chemistry may be permanent. Meth is a methamphetamine that deeply penetrates the brain, mainly due to its refined form. It mainly affects the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, which is why it can affect your brain to a great degree. Does this mean that you’re brain damaged? No, but it can result in severe depression when you go off the drug. It is because of this that there are two forms of treatment available, depending on just how long you’ve been addicted to crystal meth:
Outpatient Treatment – This is the best option for those who have been addicted to crystal meth for a short time, or have been addicted for longer, but their addiction has been limited to smaller, more controlled doses. If you have experienced “meth binges” where you consumed meth for several hours or days at one time, this option is probably not the best one for you. Furthermore, this option also depends on having good support at home to keep you on your plan. You also need to have consistent and reliable transportation to the facility. The most important thing about outpatient treatment is the desire to quit. If you are strongly motivated to get back on track and get back to your life and loved ones, then this is a good option to take. The pros of this option are that you can continue on with a normal way of life, with minimal impact on your everyday schedule. This form of minimal treatment can take as little as two or three hours a week.
There is also a more intensive form of therapy available for outpatients. This involves a program of six to nine hours of treatment per day, but you still return home, rather than stay overnight.
Inpatient Treatment – This is the option best suited for those who have a severe addiction to crystal meth. If you believe that you need full-time help to kick your addiction, then this may be the better option for you. Inpatient treatment is designed for people who have a high likelihood of relapsing or who experience meth binges. This is also the best option if you need full-time mental and physical support to get clean and sober.
As the term suggests, this option means that your treatment is on the premises and you are likely staying for an extended term. Some treatment centers may limit your ability to leave, but this is for your sake and not theirs. This may sound scary, but it is the option best suited to you if you know that you can’t quit on your own and don’t have a good support mechanism at home. If you have no way of getting to and from treatment, this might also be a good option for treatment.
Keep in mind, that as you come off the drug, your brain chemistry can be affected and this can lead to severe depression. Inpatient treatment staff are aware of this and are trained to prevent you from hurting yourself during the recovery process.
It is also here that “meth sores”, as they are called, can be most effectively treated. Meth sores are the sores on the skin that develop from addicts’ own obsession with an imaginary “meth mite”. The delusion that these mites are real is the result of the effect the drug’s effect has on the brain that one’s skin is “crawling”. Eventually, the person affected needs an explanation for this effect, and they come to believe that they infested with mites. After this occurs, the person feels the need to scratch them out. This is what results in mite sores, which take a long time to heal, as the meth addict will continue to try to scratch at them.
After you have made the decision as to whether or not you want to be an inpatient or an outpatient, you can then begin treatment which starts with weaning you off the drug, gradually. This can take a long time, but it is worth it, and the doctors are there to ensure that you don’t experience the effects of going cold turkey. Afterwards, a more psychological therapy will begin to modify your behaviours and ensure that you stay off the drug for good!