Recovery from crystal meth can be daunting. Not only is the drug so addictive, and as a result are the cravings for the drug so intense, the negative psychological effects of crystal meth cessation can last or months or even years. When these two factors are combined, the high recidivism rates of crystal meth addicts in recovery are better understood.
In response to the rising rates of crystal meth addiction in the country, and also in response to the devastation that an addiction to crystal meth can cause, there have been a number of research studies done on what treatment approaches are the most effective for crystal meth rehabilitation. As with any drug, any one treatment won’t work for every user, and as a result the best rehabilitation programs will combine both psycho social counseling with behavioral modification programs.
But a third strategy towards prolonged abstinence, commonly used for cocaine addiction, also seems to be effective.
This strategy is called contingency management (CM). The carrot and the stick…we all live our lives essentially by the principles of avoiding pain, and seeking reward, and while most drug rehabilitation programs emphasize pain (addiction) avoidance, contingency management provides the carrot to the matrix. What contingency management is, is a system in which recovering addicts are rewarded for periods of abstinence with rewards of increasing values, and the longer the period of abstinence, the bigger the reward.
These rewards are usually non monetary vouchers for things such as movies, gasoline or other entertainment vouchers, and the system has proven reliably effective as a strategy for crystal meth addiction recovery. Clinical studies indicate that the use of contingency management in a recovery program is associated with longer periods of sobriety. Long used for cocaine addiction, contingency management is becoming an increasingly common element of crystal meth recovery.
You can’t have the stick without the carrot, and it makes sense that by making treatment more comprehensive, recovery outlooks would be brighter. Research continues on how best to incorporate contingency management into crystal meth recovery, but it is encouraging that there is at least some good news for the treatment of the ever increasing numbers of people devastated through an addiction to crystal meth.