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By Stacy Jackson, Addiction Treatment Specialist

There are many different drug treatment programs that help addicts and their families recover from crystal methamphetamine addiction. Crystal methamphetamine is primarily a central nervous system stimulant. It is the toxic form of methamphetamine that has been used to treat health issues such as attention deficit disorder and obesity. Crystal methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs available today. It is known for creating a feeling of euphoria. Crystal meth is a type of methamphetamine that has effects similar to those of cocaine, although it is comparatively much cheaper and far stronger than cocaine. Many professionals in the medical field are concerned about the deleterious effect of consistent and prolonged methamphetamine usage. On the street, crystal meth is known by various names, such as crystal, speed, ice and glass. Crystal meth is easily produced in small laboratories. The drug can be injected, inhaled, or smoked and the effects may vary depending on the method of use and the amount consumed. When abused in small quantities, crystal meth may increase alertness as well as reduce hunger pangs and fatigue. Higher doses can cause high blood pressure, a racing heart, and a heightened body temperature as well as the emotional state of euphoria.

Unfortunately, as drug addiction goes, the user must continually increase their dosage in order to experience the same high they experienced initially. Thus, the addictive cycle is born and the crystal methamphetamine user soon will become physically and psychologically addicted to the drug. The effects of this drug can be devastating and can lead to depression, vision problems, hallucinations, and damage to vital organs such as the liver, brain, and lungs. Overdose is common among users of crystal meth. An overdose can lead to seizures, heart failure, a high fever, and may even ruptured blood vessels in the brain. Crystal methamphetamine users will also experience severe mood swings, anger, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and unprovoked, drastic changes in behavior. The psychological effects of the drug are as serious as the physical symptoms of abuse. Because of the overwhelming feeling of depression that occurs when the drug use is stopped, the treatment of crystal meth addiction becomes extremely difficult. This psychological "crash" is quite severe and as a result, the addict is tempted to use more amounts of the drug in order to get rid of depression. A drug treatment program for crystal methamphetamine addiction will address the physical components of the drug addiction as well as the thinking and behavior patterns that lead individuals down the path of addiction to this incredibly harmful drug.

Crystal methamphetamine addiction is very insidious and although many addicts know the long-term effects of the drug, they still do not see themselves clearly enough to realize that they are sick and require treatment. Many addicts begin the process of seeking treatment when they start to come to terms with the dire consequences of their addiction to this drug. Often the precipitating event that propels the addict into treatment is trouble with the law, serious physical symptoms, the loss of a job, or the loss of friends and family. In order to free an addict from the self-destructive cycle, the first step is to find a professional drug treatment center and enroll the addict in the treatment program. This may be quite difficult and the services of a professional interventionist may be necessary if the addict is in denial about his or her drug addiction. There are drug treatment centers that specialize in the treatment of crystal methamphetamine addiction. Before choosing a program, make sure to check the license of the treatment facility. The staff at the drug treatment center should be appropriately trained and licensed and all medical services must be available at the center. There are also hospital based programs that require the addict to be admitted into the hospital for a period of time. If a hospital program is chosen, it is critical that counseling is a part of the treatment program. The counseling may be available on a one-on-one basis and/or in the form of group therapy.

Crystal meth addiction is a very difficult addiction to overcome; the patient will need to be strong in his or her resolve to go through all the stages of the drug treatment program. The patient's support network in the form of family and friends play a significant role in supporting the patient through the drug rehabilitation process. The drug treatment for addicts of crystal methamphetamine is also difficult and withdrawal symptoms can last about a month. Aftercare treatment at a health and assistance center is equally important to help integrate and reinforce the skills the patient learned in the drug rehabilitation program, so that the patient remains sober after leaving the program. If there are no professional drug treatment centers in the local area, it is best to enroll the addict in a high-quality program, even if it involves some traveling. It is possible to have the addict attend a treatment program that is outside of the local area, but continue with after-care in his or her home town. Like many other addictions, crystal meth treatment includes education, rehabilitation, counseling and group therapy. Different treatment centers offer programs of varying lengths of time. Some drug treatment programs are as short as a week, while others are as long as a year in length. A week is clearly not enough time to treat a crystal methamphetamine addict. An initial consultation with the supervising physician or psychiatrist will assist the patient in choosing a program of adequate duration. Depending on the patient's individual needs, it may be necessary to locate a treatment center that accepts patients who are dually diagnosed with both an addiction and mental illness.

A good crystal methamphetamine drug treatment program will teach the addict important skills such as drug refusal, self awareness, mindfulness, and conflict resolution skills to ensure that they continue to live a drug-free life once they leave the treatment center. Crystal meth addiction is so serious that it is best treated in on in-patient facility, whether at a hospital or a drug treatment center. If the program the addicts enrolls in is a hospital program, it is critical that the program also include psychological counseling. The therapeutic aspect of the program is a core component of helping the addict uproot addictive thinking and behavior patterns in order to resume a normal, drug-free life. In a health and assistance center, counseling and medical support are given to patients to help with withdrawal symptoms that accompany the process of detoxification. The long-term treatment of crystal methamphetamine addiction is an ongoing process. Addicts who have gone through the rehabilitation process still need to be involved in counseling and group therapy to help them to address underlying addictive thinking and behavior and enhance their ability to stay sober. It is a very tough drug to beat. Research has shown that only about ten percent of crystal methamphetamine addicts stay sober over the long term. There is more information on crystal methamphetamine addiction on the internet. A good resource to find out more information on crystal methamphetamine addiction and drug addiction treatment center guidelines is a federal web site such as the National Center for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services or the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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