Treatment works. There was a time when many felt meth use and addiction were so powerful nothing could be done to help the individual or family cope with this most powerful addiction. That is no longer the case. We know the treatment protocols for methamphetamine use and addiction are similar for those of other drugs of addiction; it just requires a longer treatment regime. As with most drugs of addiction, the longer an individual is in treatment, the greater their chance of success. This is particularly true for methamphetamine. Further, treatment for methamphetamine is far more successful if there is strong family and community support.
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Understanding Meth and Preparing for Treatment Solutions
Meth is highly addictive. For some people who use meth to stay awake or lose weight, the process of addiction may take place slowly over many weeks, months or even years. For others, the transition from abuse to addiction is a shorter, faster path.
Like other drugs and alcohol, every person's addiction is the product of the interaction of the drug with that individual?s unique history, personality, and the subculture they live in. To complicate this picture, many people who become addicted to meth also abuse and may be addicted to other drugs and/or alcohol.
Treatment professionals already know that Meth addicts can and do recover. They can and do go on to lead productive lives and to be responsible, caring parents and family members.
Most treatment experts believe that the best treatment for meth addiction is the same treatment used for other drug and alcohol addictions, only more of it. For instance, meth addicts may need four or five outpatient treatment sessions per week rather than just one or two times a week, and they may need to stay in treatment for several extra months. While it takes an average of 12 months to graduate from treatment for other drugs and alcohol, it takes an average of 18 months for recovering meth addicts to do so.
Incentives for Treatment
When a meth addict comes to treatment programs, they are usually without anything. They have lost their jobs, their homes and their ability to provide for their children. Their whole life has become focused on finding and using the drug.
Keeping meth addicts motivated to stay in treatment is difficult, so severe sanctions are sometimes effective. When the consequences of dropping out of treatment is a jail or prison term, or the permanent loss of custody of children, treatment providers find people are more likely to succeed.The Family Services Treatment Program of Washington state and other states have found that when the court supervises recovering addicts they are able to use a system of penalties and rewards to give them compelling incentives to succeed. Potential sanctions include loss of child custody and the threat of jail or prison time. In addition, participants must attend treatment sessions and undergo urine drug tests to determine if they are clean.