Methamphetamine addiction is a substance use disorder characterized by an increasing pattern of using amphetamine-type substances that leads to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- Meth is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control meth use
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain meth, use meth, or recover from its effects
- Recurrent meth use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home
- Continued meth use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of meth
- Recurrent meth use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
- Meth use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by meth
- High tolerance for meth use
- Withdrawals experienced from lack of meth use
The above criteria was taken from the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). If you or a loved one meet two or more of the above criteria, there may be a meth addiction issue requiring treatment.
How does meth addiction look in real life? Those who are meth addicts gradually prioritize meth over everything else in their life. Meth addicts may prioritize meth over work, school, significant others, children and even their own health. Meth addicts will often continue to use meth even if they have had legal consequences as a result of their meth use.
Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Treatment for meth addiction typically happens over a period of 3-12 months based on the needs of each individual. Many meth addicts require a medical detox as their first stop due to withdrawal symptoms they experience when they cease using meth. Medical detox for meth typically lasts between 2-7 days. There is typically no counseling or groups during detox as the purpose of detox is to get the patient medically stabilized and prepared to be able to participate in meth treatment.
After medical detox, many recovering people choose to enter “residential” or “inpatient” treatment. Inpatient meth treatment typically lasts around 4 weeks. During residential meth treatment, clients undergo assessments by professional counselors and physicians and participate in group and individual counseling sessions. Many clients continue to experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms in residential meth treatment and those symptoms are closely monitored and treated in an inpatient treatment center environment.
Stepping Down Through Levels of Care
Following residential treatment for meth, many clients enter “partial hospitalization” or “day treatment.” Day treatment for meth addiction is typically conducted Monday-Friday for about 6 hours per day (30 hours per week) consisting of group and individual therapy. Clients in day treatment level of care typically see a psychiatrist on a regular schedule to continue monitoring of post-acute withdrawal symptoms and other medical issues. Clients will participate in day treatment for around 4 weeks following residential treatment. Clients at day treatment level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
Following day treatment, the next level of care is intensive outpatient (IOP). At the IOP level of care at our center, clients participate in group therapy 3 hours per day 3 days per week (9 hours per week of group therapy) and may continue seeing their individual therapist and psychiatrist as needed. Clients at intensive outpatient level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
The Importance of Drug Testing
Drug and alcohol testing is an important component of meth addiction treatment and should be performed as medically indicated at all levels of care. In addition to urine drug screens, NorthStar Transitions offers a cellular Sober Link breathalyzer device to clients in day treatment and intensive outpatient for additional accountability.
If you or a loved one suffers from meth addiction, NorthStar Transitions can help! Please click HERE to verify your insurance and an admission representative will contact you within 24 hours to counsel you on the available treatment options and insurance coverage.