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Methamphetamine Addicts: Effects, New Treatments


Methamphetamine, also known as meth, has contributed highly to the increase in population of drug addicts in many countries and it is linked with severe health and psychological effects such as brain damage, psychotic behavior, memory and thinking problems, and heart problem. Methamphetamine is also linked with the spread of contagious diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. There are increasing number of children and families affected by the methamphetamine addicts. So as to set up appropriate and effective plan for its treatment, more information regarding methamphetamine, intervention efficiency, and its effects to the people should be analyzed (Covey, 2007, p.161). Methamphetamines normally possess low recovery process for addicted people. Actually, the issue of methamphetamine addiction is hard to deal with and the addictions can be broken by secure, clinically managed detoxification. Methamphetamines addiction may assume inconceivable psychological position where the drug users would have the feelings of bravery, false self-assurance, and escape through immediate gratification. Effective and efficient sober living options can be employed to provide freedom to people addicted to meth; however a number of addicted people as well feel the need for recovery assistance through sober living options. This paper gives recommendations for the effective treatment and sober-living options for methamphetamine addicts throughout their transition.

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Literature Review


The study done by National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in U.S and Missouri in 2004 reported that around 1.5 million people who are 12 years and above took meth in the previous year and around 600,000 people took meth drugs in the previous month (Lee, 2006, p.45). For the people who took meth in the previous month, about 345,000 (60%), attained standard measures for reliance or abuse. In 2002, there was an average age of 19 years for first users but higher in 2004, 22 years (Lee, 2006, p.45). This raised figure is an optimistic indication since starting taking meth earlier commonly leads to more harsh problems with misuse or reliance of meth. The study findings showed geographic difference, with greater number of meth users in the western part and very low percentage in the Northeastern section. The entire use of meth (0.7%) was less than for the illegal drugs like cannabis (11%), palliative users (4.8%), and cocaine (2.5%). Between the years 2002 and 2004, the average sum of Missourians who reported using meth for a longer time was 330,000 people; an average of 45,000 Missourians reported using it within the previous month (Lee, 2006, p.45).

Effects of Methamphetamine to the Brain and Body

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant and it indicates that it possess a greater abuse possibility and is accessible merely through prescription. As a strong stimulant, even in minimal quantity, can raise sleeplessness and physical activity and reduce appetite (Halkitis, 2009, p.49). Methamphetamine is provided in different forms and can be injected, inhaled, ingested, or smoked, but the favored way among these varies from one place to another. The methods used vary from geographical region and these methods change with time. Smoking and injection are considered to be the fastest way of administering and are more common, hence intensifying methamphetamine’s addiction likelihood and severe effects.

Meth mainly affects several parts of the brain but mostly the structures which have the neurotransmitter dopamine, because of resemblances in their chemical chain. The abuse of these drugs will raise the dopamine discharge hence creating the sense of being high. As a most powerful stimulant, it facilitates the discharge of dopamine than any other drugs and thrice more than cocaine (Washton & Zweben, 2009, p.23).

Meth abuse can lead to severe effects in the long term run as well as addiction. Roll, Rawson, & Walter (2009, p.61) studies reported that meth misuse may bring about cardiovascular issues like abnormal heartbeat, raised blood pressure, and permanent stoke-creating harm to some blood vessels in the brain. There will be raised body temperature and abnormal contraction of muscles through the abuse of meth and may lead to sudden death. Other than facing toxic physical health consequences, chronic methamphetamine users display symptoms of mental misery, comprising aggressive conducts, anxiety effects, dejection, and insomnia. They can experience psychotic signs like hearing hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Apart from common effects in adults, there is high concern concerning the effects of meth on the growth of young children uncovered from meth misuse from their parents. NIDA did a study about the effects of meth on children and they reported that 5.3% of mothers had used the drug at the time of their pregnancy and they proposed the need to research the developmental effects for such children (Browne-Miller, 2009, p.161).

Sober Living Options

Moore (2011) stated that after meth addicts pass through the rehab, sober-living options may raise their chances of long-term recovery from the drug addiction. In a sober living places where they provide extensive collection of services, the addicts can benefit from the sustained counseling, assistance, and professionals committed to their welfare. The way of treatment in sober living options differ from peer-run halfway houses by their slight regulation and intense rules to administer sober living facilities which provide thorough treatment measured to patient’s degree of existing recovery.

Benefits of Sober Living Options

The most inclusive sober living options for meth addiction improvement will provide wide range procedures with unlimited assistance. At the effective sober living houses, the addicts can obtain direct counseling sessions to them assist recover from severe trauma they may have faced, comprising disturbing incidents which may have facilitated drugs misuse, in addition to any trauma they experienced due to their meth addiction (Triggle, 2007, p.14). First-class facilities as well comprise life coaching to assist them carry on their normal and career ambitions. And also sober coaching program to assist them identify their new sober lives.

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Furthermore, sober living options should offer focus on health and nutrition to regain the losses which the body may have pass through due to their meth addiction. This may comprise diagnostic assessment to know any mental or physical iniquities which methamphetamine misuse may have brought about, in addition to nutritional plans and extra assistance to assist recover their body and brain to its usual and healthy state. Johnson (2010) stated that food management and medical services can be important for people looking to treat problems related to emotional and cognitive which meth misuse may have promoted. Sober living options have to go deeper to offer spiritual assistance and meditative lessons. They should also offer substitute treatments services for a person looking to recover normal life as they begin a sober life.

Effective Sober Living Options

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities have been effective and they have assisted to remove the desire to take alcohol or use drugs both in the body and in their thinking. The sober living options should help them get ready to face the new life, since going into sober living area when they are not ready will be a huge obstacle to their success. Uhl (2010, p.236) stated that previous toxic relations will likely to bring about more traumas and living surroundings which comprise drugs that will merely generate unwanted destructions to their emotional treatment, their dreams, and their sober life ambitions. As a result of this, several people coming out of sober living facilities look for effective options for they long-term recovery, assisting to strengthen healthy adapting methods, lifestyle selections, and to provide them a better start on their sober living throughout their recovery period after meth rehab or any other drugs addiction rehab (Hanson, 2011, p.295). Below are some of the best elements which should be used at sober living options to assist their standards, objectives, and views after completing impatient rehab.

Upscale Sober Living Facilities

Special sober living options should provide various effective standards of progressive care. Committed therapists should also provide direct counseling opportunities, first-class chefs to prepare quality nutritional foods, and alternative medicine professionals to offer particular, personalized services to enhanced wellness and repose (Harrow, 2007, p.8). Life coaches may assist them sketch career course, set up future living surroundings. In the effective sober living options, they can continue to get involved in their relationships, daily life accomplishments, and family life, as they learn ways to handle those factors of their lives in manners which enhance healthy and meth-free living (Kahn & Fawcett, 2008, p.292).

Sober Coaching at Home

Sober coaching is one of the unused options despite its effectiveness for meth addict’s recovery; therefore they should be employed to provide effective and better way of handling and supporting the addicts. If they feel at any time devastated or anxious at the hope of going back to their families after staying in rehab, sober coaching may offer the peace of mind and additional assistance they require. Rawson (2006) contended that some professional can “shadow” them during their time in sober living options, assisting them manage their home, adapt new living styles, destroying all drug-related paraphernalia, and generate comforting, optimistic surroundings. Sober coaches can help them with job-related matters, social assistance, health, or even choosing helpful hobbies, through going back from rehab facilities with them. While offering counseling and shadowing services, sober coaches may assist to get them located, with arrangements modified to their own individual way of life, character and recovery requirements (Herman & Jerry, 2003, p.204).

Long-Term Sober Living Facilities

Sober living housing should provide comprehensive medical options for meth addicts who require extra assistance for a lengthy duration of time. Some sober living housing should provide for single mothers who have passed through enormously lasting addictions, or people experiencing dual diagnosis (Lackey, 2005). Such facilities should provide staff assistance, constructive peer socialization, and a time even temporary jobs for those in long-term plans. Long-term sober living housing are not for every person but can be useful option for people who have comply with recurring relapse or meth addicts who have specific needs which require a extra concentration, continuing solution prior to getting on sober living.

New Treatments for METH Addiction

Behavioral Therapies

Since there is no specific behavioral treatment which is successful for everybody, studies on behavioral strategies for methamphetamine addiction are being carried out. In 2007, NIDA requested for raising, refining, and examining behavioral and/or pharmacological interventions for methamphetamine misuse and addiction. Most people expect that, like any other kinds of addiction, using both behavioral therapies and pharmacotherapy will produce the most successful treatments for meth addiction (NIDA, 2008).

Promising Medications

NIDA (2008) studies have focused on searching for medications for all extents of methamphetamine abuse. For some people, depression has some difficulties factors in recovery by meth addicts. Actually, latest studies reports that at the phase of withdrawal, the methamphetamine addicts’ brains are like for people who are depressed. Antidepressants can assist at the beginning periods of treatment. Bupropion provides promise as an anti-addiction prescription for some illegal substances. Latest analyses outcomes reported that bupropion decreases severe meth-induced subjective consequences in addition to cue-induced desires (NIDA, 2008). A lately concluded Phase II clinical test with bupropion has reported that it is considerably efficient in decreasing methamphetamine abuse in low or moderate drug addicts.

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Another medical test has emphasized on topiramate which is an anti-epileptic prescription. A NIDA-supported Phase I safety interaction analysis between topiramate and methamphetamine has been concluded, with no security issues (NIDA, 2008). A Phase II outpatient analysis with topiramate in methamphetamine addicted people is still on process (NIDA, 2008). Introduction of monoclonal antibody-based medicines, intended to offer a fast reverse of methamphetamine consequences in an emergency unit environment and decrease or prevent lasting medical issues, has indicated constructive outcomes in animal researches. Bupropion, topiramate, and any other anti-epileptic should be introduced into sober living options so that it can improve or fasten recovery of the meth addicts.

Combined Approaches

Meth addicts have experience changes in some sections of the brain which have effects on their capacity to think, to handle impulses, and to realize effects (Sherzer, 2008). Since drug-impaired cognitive operation can foresee treatment withdrawal and result to constant misuse and relapse, those pursuing addiction rehab are also assisted to regain this operation and provide behavioral therapies the effective opportunity to function. Meth goes beyond other abused substances in its distraction of cognition, particularly the capacity to focus and neglect or hinder disruptions (Dawud-Noursi, 2000). Since modafinil has indicated effectiveness in cocaine interventions and can have optimistic effects on executive purpose and impulsiveness, it is being examined as a possible intervention in methamphetamine addiction (Moore, 2011, p.124).

Relapse Prevention

Regardless of the accessibility of several forms of effective treatment, the setback of relapse stays as the main challenge to attaining continuous recovery for all the addictions. Most studies have provided improved understanding of relapse to meth abuse through revealing the brain structures where drugs customize mood, view, and emotional situations after chronic experience (Lackey, 2005). Most meth addicts undergo recovery with distorted brains, resulting to disordered thinking. Furthermore, such brains modifications efficiently restructure a meth addict previous hierarchy of needs, replacing an intense desire to get involved in meth abuse, even knowing its severe effects. The powerful desire for meth drugs may leave individuals susceptible to relapse from different activates, like stress, even after leaving meth abuse for a long time (Lee, 2006).

Just similar to some chronic illness, meth addiction needs a range of care and can be successfully cured and controlled although its course, especially if treatment modes adjust to meth addicts needs and deal with the chronic, composite, and relapse-prone state of the illness (Rawson, Anglin, & Ling, 2003). Dealing with methamphetamine addiction needs a strategy which includes the entire person and deal with the truth of methamphetamine-induced brain alterations. It is not adequate just to get a person off meth abuse, issues like biological, social, and other factors which facilitate addiction and revival from it should be considered. Modified treatment provided as part of a range of care may assist everyone avoids misuse of meth drugs and stay in a complete and better life.


In conclusion, the issue of meth addiction has generated great attention to the public, researchers, and the governments. Several effective plans and measures have been introduced to assist in treating methamphetamine addiction and even educating the public about the effects of the methamphetamine to their health, daily activities, and environment (Burton, 2005). The main concern in the country is the addictive power of methamphetamine and its high toxicity which bring about more addicts and more severe effects for people and communities. The significant goal and objectives of organizations against methamphetamine is to use the available scientific and research data to assist communities to better understand the effects and addiction of methamphetamine and any other misused drugs. The information they will get will assist them to establish more efficient approaches for the prevention and treatment. Effective use of sober-living strategies would help the addicts to stop using methamphetamine and also recover from the addiction. The sober living options should also address the need for the community education to prevent new users of meth.


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