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For Users

Is recovery from meth possible?

It is possible to recover from meth, but it takes time. Meth use can have severe negative impacts on your motor and verbal skills and your psychology. Overcoming these health problems does not happen overnight. A 2010 review of studies from Temple University looked at the restoration of brain function after cessation of different recreational drugs, including cannabis, MDMA, and methamphetamine. Former methamphetamine users who had been abstinent for six months scored lower on motor skills, verbal skills, and psychological tasks compared to a set of people who had never used. However, after 12 and 17 months, their ability to perform many of the tasks improved and their motor and verbal skills became comparable to those of the non-users. 

The ability for brain function to go back to normal after quitting meth can vary from person to person. It is largely related to how long you used the drug, how regularly you used it, and how much you used. Typically, you can see minor improvements in your well-being after 6-12 months of quitting meth. You might experience fewer nightmare, less jitteriness, improvement of focus, and improvement of depression and/or anxiety. However, you might not experience improvements in your drug cravings until far later into your journey to recovery.

Where is help available for methamphetamine addiction?

There are treatment and support options available all across the country. Different facilities utilize different treatment methods and therapies. Some therapies that might be used are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps to understand how our thoughts can affect our feelings and behavior. It helps you to recognize patterns of thinking that are negatively impacting you, and to develop strategies to make those thoughts positive instead.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI centers on you having a conversation with a health professional about your drug use in a non-judgmental and collaborative way. You determine the direction and tone of this conversation. CBT and MI can be used in combination with each other and may help you reduce methamphetamine use.
  • Contingency Management (CM): CM involves a reward system. People receiving treatment for drug dependence receive prizes (e.g. vouchers, activities) whenever they hit their treatment goals, like attending a set number of treatment sessions or staying abstinent throughout the program. The goal is to make life without meth more attractive than continuing to use it. 

Online treatment is also an option. Online treatment programs involve chatting with a trained counsellor over the internet in real-time or by email, or an online “course” that is offered with or without support from a trained professional. These services can help provide treatment at times when people most need them and are available 24-hours a day. They are also a good option for those who are waiting to access face-to-face treatment services, or are in situations where specialist services are unavailable. 

How much does treatment cost for meth addiction?

According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA), lack of affordability is the number one reason addicts who need help who don’t receive it. Rehabilitation treatment can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000. The cost of rehab varies person to person since everyone’s needs are different. It also depends on if you have insurance and what your insurance does and does not cover. Generally, a 90-day outpatient program will cost $3,000-$10,000, a 30-day in-patient program will cost $5,000-$20,000, and luxury treatment facilities will cost $30,000-$100,000 for 30 days.

Is it possible to quit meth alone?

Yes, but it would be EXTREMELY difficult. It is much better to quit with the help of others. There are very challenging physiological and psychological effects that come with using meth, and they are much more possible to overcome with the assistance and support of others.

Long-term meth use causes a decrease in the number of dopamine receptors. When a methamphetamine addict stops taking meth, their dopamine levels also decrease. This makes it extremely difficult for former meth users to feel pleasure. Things that make “normal” people happy just don’t work on most newly recovering meth addicts. It can take as long as two years of sobriety for the dopamine function of a former meth-addict to return to that of a “normal” person’s. The inability to feel pleasure is often what causes newly recovered addicts to relapse, which is why having support from others is so important.

What happens if I am arrested for methamphetamine?

Unless prescribed legally, methamphetamines are considered controlled substances, so possessing, selling, and manufacturing meth is illegal. Furthermore, in some places, it is illegal to have the chemicals used to make meth and other paraphernalia, like scales.

The punishment for possession, sale, and manufacturing of meth depends on where the case was prosecuted. Every state has its own sentencing provisions. A meth conviction can result in punishments ranging from a fine, a misdemeanor jail term, or a lengthy prison term for a felony conviction. In North Dakota, possession of meth can get you a $5,000 fine and/ or 5 years in prison. The larger the amount of meth possessed, the longer the prison sentence usually is. The punishment is even worse if you are convicted not only of possession of meth, but of having the intention to sell or traffic it as as well. If you are arrested for meth, your best option is to consult a lawyer.

For Loved Ones

What are the signs of meth use?

There are many physiological signs of meth use. Meth increases a user’s rate of breathing and blood pressure. It can also make them hyperactive. Users may move around a lot and talk a lot. They might sometimes forget to eat and/ or sleep when they are hyper. Methamphetamine can also cause users to scratch themselves a lot, which causes sores, and it can also make them moody. A user might be happy and outgoing one second and the next turn angry and belligerent. Sometimes users become paranoid and thin people are out to get them, and they might even try to kill themselves.

What should I do if I know someone who is using methamphetamine?

To help a loved one get a handle on their addiction, there are a number of steps you can and should take. First, learn the effects of drugs, so you will have an idea of what drug addiction can do to a person and why recovery may be remarkably difficult for someone. Second, show the user that you care for them. Don’t be harsh or judgmental, rather approach them calmly and with a comforting demeanor. Try to be positive and encouraging for your loved one, even when they make mistakes. Lastly, offer practical support, like going with them to environments where they may be tempted to use and help them stay accountable.

To convince a user to get professional help, you will probably need to stage an intervention. Interventions are the most successful way to get someone to enroll into rehab. Make sure to carefully organize the intervention. The last thing you want is for your loved one to feel attacked. Don’t invite people your loved on doesn’t like, people who can’t control their temper, anyone who has an unaddressed substance abuse problem, or anyone who might try to sabotage the intervention. There are professional interventionists who are trained to help an intervention run smoothly as well. Call us at 701-380-5836, if you need help finding an interventionist or have questions about hosting an intervention.

What types of drugs are often used with meth?

Meth is often mixed with speed, ecstasy, alcohol, cannabis, or benzodiazepines. Methamphetamine alone is already a dangerous drug to play with. Mixing it with other drugs (legal and illegal) can cause an array of unpredictable consequences. Using meth with speed or ecstasy can cause strain on the heart and other parts of the body, which could cause stroke. Using meth with alcohol, cannabis, and/or benzodiazepines also causes strain to the body. Mixing these drugs significantly increases the chances of accidental overdose because the stimulant effect of meth can mask the effects of depressants.

How can a loved one’s meth use affect me?

Addiction doesn’t only affect the user. It affects those around them as well. It can be difficult to be a friend or family member of an addict. Often, the negative behavior that comes with using drugs spills over into the lives of those closest with the user.

Some things that might happen due to this negative behavior are:

  • The relationship might end.- Often, a person with an addiction withdraws from the people and activities they used to once enjoy. That might mean they ignore your calls, turn down invitations to hang out, and/ or stop going to places that you both used to frequent. This can be emotionally draining and painful, especially if the addict is someone very close to you, such as a significant other or a best friend.
  • Negativity may spread.- An addict’s loved ones may start to blame themselves or others for the addict’s behavior. Addiction often leads to users lying on a regular basis, which increases mistrust between the user and those around them. The user might start to disappoint friends and family members because of their addiction. Furthermore, the emotional distress put on the children of users is often high.
  • You might become a caretaker.- Addiction takes a toll on the body. An addict will experience physical symptoms that they may not be able to handle on their own. Due to this and mental health issues that may arise, loved ones may feel the need to step in and look after the addict. Caretaking can become burdensome very quickly. Caretaking can on the caretaker’s health physically and mentally, and sometimes the caretaker might forget to care for themself.
  • Financial instability can lead to interpersonal problems.- Feeding an addiction costs a significant amount of money. The more a person uses, the more money they will need to support their addiction. Furthermore, a person may lose their job because of their addiction. These two factors combined leave an addict in a very tough situation. They may not have enough money to pay their rent/mortgage, electricity bills, or even groceries. This could lead an addict to start other unhealthy behaviors, such as stealing, to support their addiction.

Should I stage an intervention for my loved one who is using methamphetamine?

An intervention is the best way to convince someone to get professional help for their meth addiction. Often, addicts are in denial about their addictions and are not willing to get professional treatment. A planned meeting with people who care about the user could be the first step in getting someone on the road to recovery.

Interventions present an opportunity for friends, family, and others who are close to the addict to express their concerns. It also gives the addict an opportunity to express their feelings, hear what those who care about them have to think. Most importantly, it gives the user a chance to accept professional help.

We understand that planning an intervention can be stressful. We are here to help. Call us at 701-380-5836 to talk more about interventions or drug abuse in general. Don’t let today be your loved one’s last.