Addiction to any drug is damaging for sure, but crystal meth is above and beyond one of the most dangerous drugs available today. It is extremely damaging physically, mentally, and socially and some of the neurological damage caused by meth use may be permanent. Even so, meth use has been growing in popularity over the last several decades. The need for effective treatment for meth addiction is needed today more than ever. The Summit Wellness Group is one of the leading meth rehab centers in Georgia. Our meth addiction treatment program is aimed at providing our clients with the ability to reclaim their lives, and to live free from crystal meth addiction.
How We Treat Meth Addiction
The Summit Wellness Group’s meth treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia utilizes a variety of the latest and most effective treatment modalities to help our clients successfully overcome crystal meth addiction. Using a combined regime of integrative talk therapies, psychiatric and neurobiological care, and holistic therapies we aim to treat the underlying causes of addiction and help our clients to restore their lives. Addressing the psychological, neurological, and physical damage done by meth addiction is critical to helping our clients improve their overall wellness and health.
The Summit Wellness Group’s team of trained professionals include clinical therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, doctors, and recovering addicts who work tirelessly to guide our clients through the journey of recovery from crystal meth addiction. We walk with our clients through the entire recovery process, from detox to aftercare and every step in between.
Important Meth Addiction Treatment Considerations
Because meth is so devastating to both the mind and body of an addict, there are several factors to keep in mind when seeking treatment.
Physical Health Concerns
Malnutrition is very common with meth addicts, and the symptoms can be worsened by extended insomnia and sleep deprivation. Likewise, depending on the route someone chose to use meth, further complications can arise such as infection, kidney and liver issues, or heart and lung problems. Just a few of these issues may include:
- Loss of Sense of Smell
- Frequent Nosebleeds / Sinus Infections / Deviated or Perforated Septum
- Abscesses (which may become septic and lethal)
- Increased Risk of Disease (HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, etc.)
- Lung / Liver / Kidney / Heart / Intestinal Damage
- Meth Mouth (extreme dental and gum line decay)
Mental Health Concerns
The main area of damage produced by meth use is on the psychological health of users. The way meth affects the brain is extremely powerful, and can cause long term changes in the structure and function of critical complexes, resulting in drastic behavioral changes. Some of the more common psychological issues include:
- Dementia-Like Symptoms
- Increase in Aggression
- Mood Disorder (depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Psychotic States (mania, extreme paranoia, delusional thinking, etc.)
- Fatigue or Lethargy
- Inability to Focus or Concentrate
Meth overdose is unfortunately very common these days. Using meth alone can easily result in an overdose, and a large number of medications can interact with meth to increase the chances of an overdose. The variety of medications which can interact with meth is immense and includes antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and even radiopharmeceuticals used to treat tumors or for contrast in MRI or CAT scans. Regardless of how an overdose is achieved, the outcome is always very bad. Meth overdoses can produce a variety of issues including brain damage, coma, heart attack, and of course death.
Meth Withdrawal And Detox
While meth does not have any physical withdrawal symptoms, the neurological symptoms of withdrawal are intense and can possibly lead to negative outcomes. The way meth affects the brain will produce huge neurotransmitter deficits when someone abruptly stops using it, resulting in a sudden decay in their mental wellbeing. It is highly recommended to seek medical and psychiatric help to safely go through meth detox. The symptoms can be managed with the appropriate medical supervision and care. Getting through this difficult time safely will give someone the best possible chances for lasting recovery.
Customized Meth Addiction Treatment Plan
Addiction is a very complex and layered disease, and at the Summit Wellness Group we work with our clients to tailor a treatment plan which will address the specific needs of each individual client. This plan is developed in a 1 on 1 session with our treatment team, and is unique for every person. Some contributing factors to such a treatment plan may include:
- Other drug or alcohol addiction (meth is rarely used independently)
- The length of time and the amounts of meth used
- Any co-occurring mental health issues; either pre-existing, or meth induced
- Physical health complications
- Current living or housing situation
- Insurance coverage or self-pay
- Preference of outpatient or inpatient treatment
- The clients commitment to their recovery
At the Summit Wellness Group we know that addiction does not discriminate between the rich or the poor, so neither should recovery. We have helped people from all walks of life and economic tiers, and our charge to our clients is first and foremost making sure recovery is achievable, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Managing Your Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
While meth does not produce physical withdrawal symptoms, the mental experience of withdrawal can be agonizing. The severe depression during withdrawal can make recovery seem hopeless as well as pointless, and because of this the highest rate of relapse is during, or immediately after, acute meth withdrawal. Some of the most common symptoms of acute meth withdrawal include:
- Deep Depression (possibly with suicidal ideation)
- Increased Anxiety and Restlessness
- Fatigue and Lethargy
- Sleep Disturbances (usually hypersomnia)
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Intense Cravings for Meth
- Clouded and Disorganized Thinking
- Very Vivid Dreams or Nightmares
Having the help needed to minimize the threats to recovery and to safely make it through this sensitive time can be invaluable. The Summit Wellness Group is connected to a network of partner detox facilities which are very experienced and prepared to effectively treat acute meth withdrawal. Once detox has been completed, clients are welcome to begin their treatment safely here at the Summit Wellness Group.
Medications To Reduce Meth Cravings
Cravings for meth are the biggest threat to early recovery. Luckily, there are pharmaceuticals which can help to reduce or minimize these cravings. The brain will take time to be able to normalize in the absence of meth, but until then giving our clients the best chance to build a solid foundation in recovery is our goal. Some medications which may be helpful in this regard include:
- Naltrexone: Usually used to treat opioid or alcohol addiction, this medication may reduce cravings for meth as well.
- Bupropion: An antidepressant and smoking cessation aid, it may be able to reduce meth cravings.
- Quetiapine: Originally an antipsychotic, this medication has been shown to reduce cravings in people with drug or alcohol dependence disorder.
- Selegiline: An MAO-B Inhibitor drug used to treat Parkinson’s, it may help to reduce meth cravings and depression.
- Fluoxetine: An SSRI antidepressant, it may reduce meth cravings.
- Imipramine: A tricyclic antidepressant, it has been shown to improve length of adherence to addiction treatment.
- Mirtazapine: A new and unique antidepressant used for major depressive disorder, the way this medication works is not fully understood. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for use in meth detox by helping to reduce cravings.
These medications will not “fix” the cravings for meth, but they will give our clients some relief and more time to develop the tools to deal with cravings in a healthy and constructive way.
Our Therapeutic Approach To Meth Addiction Treatment
Addiction in general is a very complex disease with a wide range of causes and contributing factors. Meth addiction is doubly so as meth users typically become antisocial at best, but more often paranoid or delusional. This lack of trust and a view of the world as hostile can make successful recovery much more challenging. The therapeutic practices used at the Summit Wellness Group are aimed at building trust in others and giving a client a feeling of security when opening up about their addiction and life. Further, we help our clients uncover some of the underlying thought processes and subsequent behaviors which may contribute to the negative cycle of addiction. Some of the techniques that we use in this regard are referred to as “integrative talk therapies” and include:
- Motivational Interviewing
- Group Therapy
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
- DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)
- Trauma Informed Care
Motivational interviewing and group therapy are aimed at uncovering and elaborating the desire to recover as well as building trust in others so that this desire may be more effectively realized. More specifically, motivational interviewing is used to help an addict reveal the desire to change, and make this desire more real and tangible. Being able to confront and express this desire is the first step in being free from crystal meth addiction. Once that has been achieved, group therapy is used to create connection to others who are going, or have gone, through the same struggles. Connection is extremely important in successful recovery, as the isolationist attitude of most addict helps to keep them sick. Feeling a sense of community with others who are likewise trying to get well is a very powerful component in meth treatment and addiction recovery.
CBT and DBT are therapeutic techniques which are basically used to examine the inner workings of the mind, and help to change unhealthy patterns. CBT helps to take a look at the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These 3 mental aspects affect each other in deep and profound ways, and a better understanding of how this happens is crucial in changing unhealthy interactions. This is where DBT comes into play. Once the interaction is better understood, DBT helps give our clients some tools and practices with which to interrupt or change this dynamic. When used together, these 2 techniques are extremely powerful and help give our clients the most effective toolkit to achieve lasting sobriety.
Trauma informed care is more of a general approach to treatment which pervades all that we do here at the Summit Wellness Group. Trauma is intimately linked to addiction in a wide variety of ways, and keeping this in mind when providing treatment is critical with regards to building trust and a sense of security for our clients. Unfortunately, many addicts suffer from some form of trauma either physical, emotional, or sexual at some point in their life. This could be prior to drug use, or as a direct result of addiction. With meth addiction, the abuse tends to be physical and sexual violence and there is a direct correlation to the rates of abuse and the rates of addiction, and this is first and foremost in our minds when approaching treatment. Everyone deserves to feel safe and cared for, and at the Summit Wellness Group, that is the first goal we aim to achieve with our clients.
Our Psychiatric Approach To Meth Addiction Treatment
Psychiatric care is extremely important in meth addiction treatment. After acute meth withdrawal, there is typically a long period of depression, anxiety, and fatigue which takes time to recover from. This period can be shortened slightly with medication, and the experience of these symptoms can be made less painful. Both of these outcomes result in our clients having a better chance of successfully completing treatment, and beginning a new life free from crystal meth addiction. When treatment begins clients will meet with a psychiatrist to determine what their medication needs may be. Periodic psychiatrist appointments will continue throughout treatment to monitor the effectiveness of any medications, and adjust them if needed.
Some of the more common psychiatric symptoms of post acute meth withdrawal can include:
- Fatigue and Lethargy
- Paranoia and Antisocial Tendencies
- Sleep Disturbances (Hypersomnia and Vivid Dreams or Nightmares)
Most of these symptoms are essentially fallout from the way meth affects the brain. The brain can heal in most cases, but this takes time and abstinence. Through extended periods of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine imbalances the brain made changes to maintain function. Now that those chemicals are returning to normal levels, the brain likewise needs time to balance itself out again. While the brain is healing, there are several different types of medication which may lessen the symptoms, and maybe even speed the recovery process along. Some of these medications include:
- Anti-Anxiety Medications
- Dopamine Agonists (for mood and energy levels)
- GABA Agents (for paranoia and anxiety issues)
- α or β-Blockers (for anti-anxiety effects)
- Opioid Antagonists (to reduce cravings)
- Sleep Aids (non-sedatives like melatonin or diphenhydramine)
Every person is unique when it comes to medication and will tolerate or respond to particular medications differently. At the Summit Wellness Group, we take great care prescribing and monitoring the effectiveness of medications for our clients, and work to tailor medications to each individual.
Our Holistic Approach To Meth Addiction Treatment
The wide ranging damage done by meth addiction is profound, and as mentioned, it will take the brain and body time to recover fully. Aside from medications, there are ways to reduce the experience of the negative impacts, and shorten the time to normalcy. The holistic therapies used at the Summit Wellness Group are intended to recruit the body itself as an actor on the stage of recovery. Turning the normal regenerative abilities of the body toward the goal of meth addiction recovery has proved to be very beneficial for our clients. Some of the ways we achieve this include therapies such as:
- Nutritional Classes
- Guided Meditation
- Art Therapy
- Adventure Therapy
- Therapeutic Fitness
- Massage Therapy
- Chiropractic Care
While it seems like common sense, healthy nutrition is crucial in meth addiction recovery. There is of course the typical meth addict who is malnourished and needs to recover physically, but the mental aspects of meth addiction recovery are greatly helped by effective nutrition as well. The neurotransmitter imbalances produced through meth addiction can be healed more quickly when a client is engaged in healthy nutrition practices. Neurotransmitters themselves are protein based, and require a variety of vitamins for the brain to synthesize. In this way, the negative aspects of post acute meth withdrawal can be lessened slightly, as well as shortening the time to full recovery.
Guided meditation and art therapy work in tandem with some of the other therapeutic techniques such as group therapy and motivational interviewing. In particular, guided meditation can help our clients to be more comfortable monitoring and examining their thoughts without reacting to them. With continued art therapy it becomes easier and more natural to express these thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. Likewise, it becomes less threatening to share these experiences with others and reduces the fear of doing so. In this way, these therapies make it easier to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level.
The more physical aspects of our holistic approach are just as beneficial but in a more direct way. Using the natural regulatory and regenerative processes of the body can strengthen them and make them more effective. Yoga is a stretching and mindfulness exercise which can reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of calm. Adventure therapy is essentially light exercise which takes place outdoors. This helps regulate certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and can activate the normal opioid system of the body. Likewise, it is certain that sunlight, fresh air, and being in the presence of green life is beneficial to mental health, although the exact ways this helps are difficult to quantify. Therapeutic fitness takes a similar approach, except is indoors and can be practiced more regularly. All of these exercises can help reduce depression, fatigue, and lethargy which has a cascade effect on all of the other therapies that are used here.
Massage therapy and chiropractic care are both low impact therapies, but are nevertheless very beneficial. Both of these therapies can reduce stress and promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. Many people don’t realize how much our emotions and thoughts are carried in our muscles, especially so with recovering meth addicts. Once a person better understands how and where they carry stress they can be more perceptive to their own stress levels, and respond in a more proactive and healthy manner. In this way, these therapies also affect every other aspect of recovery in subtle ways.
Why Is Getting Help At A Meth Rehab So Important?
Recovery from crystal meth addiction is challenging no matter what. The behaviors developed during addiction, plus the wild emotional disturbances and isolationist tendencies of addicts help to keep them sick. A deep understanding of the unique challenges posed by meth is crucial in giving someone the best possible chances to recover successfully. As mentioned, the team at the Summit Wellness Group includes recovering addicts; people who are walking the road of recovery alongside our clients. Having a team of compassionate people available who can empathize with the struggle is critical. Seeing that there is life beyond meth is often the biggest help in successful recovery, and we are here to show that it is possible.
Getting through the acute phase of meth withdrawal is often the biggest challenge to recovery. The overwhelming depression, anxiety, and discomfort can make an addict feel that if this is life without meth, they want no part of it. This is the time where a vast majority of relapses happen. Once making it through the acute phase, the chances of successful recovery increase drastically. Due to this, the need for help making it through this difficult time is paramount. Having medical, therapeutic, and emotional support during and after withdrawal will put an addict in the best position to continue the journey.
In 2016, there were 7,542 psychostimulant drug overdose deaths according to the CDC. This is an amazing 387% increase from 2005, which tracks an increase in purity and potency exhibited by meth across this timeline. With the purity and availability of meth increasing, the risks of using meth are increasing with time. Likewise, the need to enter treatment is greater now than it ever has been.
Our Meth Addiction Aftercare Program
The commitment we make to our clients at the Summit Wellness Group does not end at the conclusion of our treatment program. Recovery is a journey, and we aim to walk with our clients and give them all the aid we can to make it a successful journey. The Summit Wellness Group has a far reaching network of connections in the Atlanta area recovery community, and we will make these available to help our clients in any way possible. This may include finding a recovery fellowship convenient to our clients home, finding a sponsor, and finding a sober living program. We also offer our clients continued counseling with their therapist as well as participation in our aftercare Alumni program. The Alumni program is available to all who have completed treatment and continued their recovery, and hosts gatherings and events throughout the year. This can be a great benefit to offer community and networking opportunities to those who are continuing to live a sober life.
There are many different recovery fellowships in the Atlanta area, including Crystal Meth Anonymous. There are also many non-12 Step recovery fellowships such as SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery. We will help our clients find the recovery fellowship which best suits them and their needs. Finding a group in which someone can connect with people and feel a part of is a crucial part of the recovery process, and we will help with this in any ways we can. The goal is long term sobriety and with help, it is achievable.