Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Amphetamines come in many different street and medical forms. This can include prescription medications, methamphetamine, crystal meth, and several other common substances. What they all have in common is how they affect your body. They are all stimulants that have the potential to become addictive, but the good news is that recovery is possible.
We will cover what amphetamines are, what they do to your body, and common treatment options that are available to you. There are many options for treatment that can supplement your recovery journey.
What Are Amphetamines?
You might be wondering what amphetamines really are. Amphetamines are stimulants that directly affect the central nervous system and brain. This makes it seem like you have more energy, and you will likely feel that you can move faster and get more done.
The effect is similar to cocaine in that the substance works fairly quickly and gives you increased energy. The difference is that the onset is slower, but it lasts longer. Amphetamines will also increase your body temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. It’s common to feel exhausted once the effect wears off. This is essentially your central nervous system trying to recover and reinstate homeostasis.
Amphetamines also directly increase the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Norepinephrine increases blood pressure and heart rate, while dopamine makes you feel good and is part of the brain’s reward system. Depending on the form you get, amphetamines can be swallowed as a pill, snorted as a powder, or injected intravenously.
Amphetamines have legitimate medical uses and are commonly prescribed for psychiatric needs. The most common brand names are Adderall, Focalin, and Concerta, but you can find other brands along with generic forms of these medications. Amphetamines are prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Those with ADHD will find that these medications improve focus and reduce hyperactive energy. Due to this, many people buy amphetamine off the street and use it as a study drug.
The truth is that those without ADHD will instead feel this as a stimulant that will increase energy rather than focus. It might help with getting more done, but it likely won’t improve focus. Some also use it simply as a stimulant to feel increased energy.
Methamphetamine and Crystal Meth
You might be surprised to know that both methamphetamine and crystal meth are chemically similar to amphetamine. They also have the exact same effects on your nervous system and brain, but the difference between amphetamine and methamphetamine is their potency.
Meth is significantly stronger than regular amphetamines. Crystal meth is just a purer and stronger form of meth.
While meth and crystal meth are chemically similar and have the same effects as amphetamines, the truth is that they do more harm because they are stronger.
Amphetamine Treatment Options
You might be wondering what treatment options are available for amphetamine addiction and dependency. There are numerous treatment modalities that can be used to help with this. Everyone’s recovery journey is different, so it’s important to find what works for you.
Some people might prefer a 12-Step program, while others benefit from therapy and group sessions. We have found that most clients benefit from a mixed approach that takes from all the various treatment options to ensure they have all the support they need.
Medical Detox Program
The first step towards recovery is reducing or stopping your use. Regardless of your goal, a medical detox program can be very beneficial. Some people feel like they can detox on their own. There are even some that feel like their recovery is invalid unless they go through the withdrawal symptoms on their own.
While some could see this as admirable, the truth is that it’s limiting your support and actually making recovery much harder. A medical detox program is there to help you get through the withdrawal symptoms in the most comfortable way possible.
Many people associate withdrawal symptoms with opioids, but nearly every substance has withdrawal symptoms. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms typically include:
- Mood swings from agitation to depression
- Feeling tired or lethargic
- Trouble concentrating
- Visual or audio hallucinations
- Headaches or other body pains
- Strong cravings for amphetamines
These symptoms are uncomfortable and generally last for around two to four weeks for amphetamine use, but they may last longer depending on your body and pattern of use. A medical detox program will keep watch over you while also providing supplemental medications to help you get through it.
Another problem with trying to detox on your own is that this is a vulnerable period. Your body will be craving amphetamines because it wants to return to homeostasis. It’s so used to functioning with amphetamines that it feels weird not having it. Your mind can trick you into thinking that relapsing will help you, but it just starts the process all over again.
Many people benefit from self-help or 12-Step groups. As you can guess from the name, these groups have 12 basic steps that involve admitting your use, making amends, helping others, and so on. Unlike group therapy, these groups are typically led by peers and are often more accessible.
There are self-help groups for nearly every type of substance or problematic behavior. The two most popular are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, also known as AA and NA. While there are Crystal Meth Anonymous groups or CMA, these tend to be harder to find.
Since you usually aren’t supposed to go into detail about what you’re using, some people find an AA or NA group that they like and stick with that. We also provide a more general 12-Step group called REST. This stands for Recovery Education and Skills Training. It combines step work with a psychoeducational approach. Not only that, but it’s more general to ensure that polysubstance users or those who don’t use alcohol or narcotics still have a group they can call their own.
There are technically two types of outpatient treatment for amphetamine use. There is just individual outpatient therapy, and then there is intensive outpatient therapy, or IOP. Both are useful and are frequently combined depending on your needs.
Outpatient therapy involves meeting with your therapist on an individual basis. This is typically once a week, but it depends on your needs and presentation. While this is the lowest level of care, many clients like it because they can speak with their therapist one-on-one while exploring their motivations for recovering, obstacles holding them back, and underlying issues that must be resolved.
IOP therapy is the next level of care, and it involves group therapy. You will meet three times a week, and each group lasts for three hours. This allows you to talk with peers and learn from them. You’ll each engage in vicarious learning or learning from each other as everyone progresses on their road to recovery.
IOP programs will frequently include an individual session as well so that you have time to explore your personal issues outside of the group.
Partial Hospitalization Program
If you are facing significant struggles with amphetamines, or if other substances or mental health concerns are making recovery difficult, then you could benefit from a partial hospitalization program or PHP.
This level of care is sandwiched between IOP and residential treatment. It’s still technically outpatient because you go home at night, but you will receive treatment five days a week. This gives you a significant level of support to help you move through any issues or concerns you have.
Not only do you get treatment for most of the week, but you will be linked to therapists, doctors, nurses, and other staff members that can help you. You will be involved in a medical detox program along with group and individual therapy while here. You can then go home at night to speak with friends or family members, sleep in your own bed, and relax as you recover and learn new ways to cope with stress.
Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Residential treatment is our highest level of care and it can help if you’re finding it difficult to recover with the other levels of care. Another benefit is that this removes you from common life stressors. Many clients find that the stress of everyday life pushes them into using. This level of treatment gives you time away from all that. You’re able to focus completely on your recovery while you’re at our center.
Residential treatment is very similar to PHP. You’ll have access to doctors, therapists, and other medical staff members. You will participate in a mixture of individual and group therapy along with holistic activities such as yoga and meditation. The major difference is that you’ll stay at the facility for the duration of treatment. If you’re finding that your environment makes recovery incredibly difficult, then a residential program might be exactly what you need.
We employ numerous evidence-based treatments that have been shown to be effective for both substance use and dual diagnosis clients. While this section isn’t exhaustive, this will teach you a little about the common theories you’re likely to run across while receiving treatment for amphetamine addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is currently one of the most popular and most researched therapy modalities.
This teaches you to consider your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and to find ways to change them for the better. While this is quite useful with substance use and recovery, it can also be used for nearly any other type of behavioral change that you want. You will learn how to examine what causes you to think or act the way you do, and you will also learn ways to change that.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
DBT was made primarily to help suicidal and bipolar clients, and it has also been quite effective with several personality disorders. You will learn to identify your moods and behaviors while learning new ways to modify them. There is a large mindfulness component as well that teaches you to accept how life is now while also learning how to change it for the better.
Relapse Prevention Therapy
Many people think that you either use substances or you don’t, but the road to recovery isn’t that linear. It’s common for people to relapse, and that’s where relapse prevention therapy comes into play.
You may not want to think about relapsing, but this also limits you from preparing for when the cravings come up. This type of therapy helps you identify supports and coping skills that you can use if you feel cravings. It will also help you shorten the relapse time so that you can quickly get back into treatment.
We at Granite Recovery Centers have been helping many substance use and dual diagnosis clients in the New Hampshire area. Our treatment approach is versatile and tailored to your exact needs. Whether you come to use with just a mild case of amphetamine use or you have other underlying concerns, we are prepared to help you on this journey.
Contact us today and let us help you through this path. We can give you the supplemental care and support you need to truly recover.