Faced with the rising epidemic of meth usage and addiction, particularly in the Mid West, researchers at the University of Iowa took a look at what exactly was needed for successful meth addiction treatment; and they concluded that standard drug rehab therapies are effective for meth addicts, but that longer programs are especially beneficial when dealing with the devastation of crystal meth addiction.
A single usage of crystal meth can have physical implications for as long as 6 months, and as such it’s not surprising that heavy meth use can devastate, and that the physical and mental repercussions of this abuse can take a long time to heal. Meth is uniquely damaging and uniquely addictive, and is truly one of the saddest stories of modern American drug addiction. The University of Iowa researchers concluded that almost two full weeks of medically supervised detoxification were required before a meth addict was clear headed enough to even begin to benefit from the therapy and education offered at a rehab facility.
A two week rehab does little other than detoxing the meth addict off of the drug, and offers no education or skills for future drug taking avoidance. Using a variety of drug treatments and therapies together was deemed most effective, but meth addicts benefited uniquely from cognitive training and temptations avoidance counseling.
Cognitive and behavioral strategies are emphasized to teach the addict how to minimize the temptation to use. Cognitive therapy requires of addicts to discover the triggers that lead them to abuse, to think about how best to avoid these triggers, and teaches what to do if faced with the temptation to use once out of rehab. The university researchers ended their report with a recommendation for government to move funding away from incarceration for meth possession offenses and towards better funded facilities geared towards meth treatment, and at least partially funding stays appropriate to the severity of the addiction.
Meth justifiably strikes fear into the hearts of parents across the country, and the devastation of meth is such that if anyone you know and love is using meth, the time to get them help is now. The damage of meth abuse can become irreversible, and even a few months of heavy use can devastate for years to come. Meth is so addictive, and the damage to the body, the mind and the spirit is so encompassing, that treatment should never be delayed a day longer than necessary. Rehab for meth addicts needs to be comprehensive, and needs to be long enough for a couple of weeks of detoxification, followed by a period of counseling, sobriety and drug education. Detox alone should not be considered an acceptable goal for meth rehab, and the recidivism rates on detox only treatments are unacceptably high. Meth treatment is tough, but it is possible, and people recover from the devastation of meth abuse everyday.
Happy and sober living begins with a serious rehab stay; and the sooner done the better.