Meth is a very dangerous, difficult to handle addiction. This stimulant is extremely dangerous and there is no pharmacological approach to meth addiction treatment.
The reason why counseling for meth addiction or abuse is so important is that it is one of the only methods of meth addiction treatment. There are a variety of meth abuse counseling methods to choose from.
To understand meth abuse counseling, you first need to understand why it is necessary. Meth makes drastic changes in, and does significant damage to, the brain. This results in a number of psychological consequences.
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, the psychological effects of long term meth abuse include:
These effects can make it impossible to function in society and can occur very quickly once you start abusing meth. For this reason, you must receive intensive counseling during methamphetamine addiction treatment in order to reduce or eliminate these symptoms.
Once you understand the need for counseling as part of your meth abuse treatment, you need to know what counseling options are available. One of these is motivational interviewing.
This technique involves the therapist asking you questions in order to help you understand the effects of your substance abuse, as well as helping you become motivated to change these behaviors. According to the University of Washington this technique can be very effective when certain principles are followed. These are:
Cognitive behavioral therapy is probably one of the most common addiction treatments available. It involves learning new behaviors and recognizing when you engage in a behavior that is negative. Negative behaviors encourage continued methamphetamine abuse. When you recognize these behaviors, you can work to correct them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy may also help you discover the cause of the addiction. Once you find the cause it is easier to stop using methamphetamine by treating that cause.
According to Penn State University, contingency management is a therapy technique that aims to help recovering substance abusers remain in treatment and stay motivated. It succeeds by providing tangible rewards for positive behaviors. The behaviors are normally:
The rewards are usually vouchers for cash or prizes that are redeemed at specific times. This creates the ability to remove rewards for failing to meet the expectations set by the counselor.
In this manner, patients are more likely to continue their treatment and do all of the things expected of them in order to keep getting the desired rewards. This has the added benefit of helping end their methamphetamine abuse.
In addition to these most common behavioral therapies, there are also several less widely used counseling methods that have shown to be beneficial in the treatment of methamphetamine abuse.
Aversion Therapy - According to the University of Arizona, aversion therapy involves coupling an immediate negative consequence with the behavior you are trying to change. These can be medically induced vomiting, mild electric shock, or similar penalties that encourage patients to stop their drug use.
Cue Exposure - This method involves exposing patients to their meth use triggers while they are not in a position to actually use meth. Relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms are often combined with this to help patients learn to control their response to situations that would normally cause them to abuse meth.
Community Reinforcement - In community reinforcement encourages patients to change their lifestyle, career, or friends that may be contributing to their drug abuse. By doing this, patients learn the benefits of remaining sober and lose the desire to use meth.
All of these techniques can be very beneficial to certain meth abusers, or in certain situations. Since no addiction or person is the same it is important to explore all of the various counseling techniques that are available to you in order to find what works best for your unique situation.
While it is true that there are currently no medications approved specifically for the treatment of meth abuse, there are a few that have shown promise in aiding the counseling and behavioral treatments that are most often used.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that has shown to reduce stimulant abuse when combined with substance abuse counseling. The anticonvulsant topiramate has also been shown to help users remain stimulant free and reduce cravings when it is combined with behavioral therapies.
Unfortunately, more studies are needed to know just how effective these drugs can be, but the current information gives some hope to people suffering from methamphetamine abuse disorders. It will be a while before the FDA approves one of these medications for methamphetamine abuse.
Although these drugs might help, they are not substitutions for meth abuse counseling. The different types of counseling are available in many treatment centers. If you are considering meth addiction treatment, consider your counseling options and find the best treatment program for your individual needs and goals.
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