Crystal meth or Ice addiction is a common problem that Hope Rehab treats regularly. Many of our clients come with this issue and often stay for a prolonged period of time. The intense program at Hope is ideal for this all-consuming and destructive addiction. On this page is detailed and helpful information about Methamphetamine addiction.
The Hope program aims to restore your health and increase motivation and energy level back to normal. The performance enhancing nature of Methamphetamine impacts the brain and distorts people’s beliefs and thinking. There is a honeymoon period when it feels as if the drug is working for the user, however, this is outlived, and the using lifestyle becomes destructive. At Hope, our clients can rebuild their lives and get away from the often dangerous situations they have been caught up in.
The Hope Mindfulness and meditation program helps clients manage their feelings and thought and is practiced twice daily mornings and evenings. Fitness is all important to restore physical health and revive energy and motivation levels back to normal. In group therapy and counselling clients explore the issues that have caused this problem and learn the coping skills needed.
Methamphetamine, Ice or Crystal Meth is a powerful stimulant and highly addictive. It is a relatively new and more concentrated form of an older and more standard range of amphetamines. All these drugs induce intense euphoric sensations, high levels of energy and depending on how it is administered sometimes also a rush. Methamphetamine is easy to find and often cheaper than other stimulants like Cocaine. It is usually smoked using a glass pipe and can also be sniffed or injected or taken in pill form.
Methamphetamine has a reputation for being the most destructive of all drugs. It can not only destroy your body and mind, but also make you a danger to the people you love. Use of Crystal Meth has reached epidemic proportions in many countries. In Australia, one police deputy commissioner went so far as to say:
Methamphetamine attaches to structures that regulate dopamine, thereby producing euphoria. However, Crystal Meth also produces changes in norepinephrine and glutamate, which are the sources of its stimulant effects, leading to euphoria and a desire to repeat the experience again and again.
The human reward system is designed for survival but hijacked by chemical payoffs provided by methamphetamine. The reward circuitry normally bookmarks important things like food, nurturing children, education, work and friendships. However, now it has been corrupted by Crystal Meth.
A craving is a neurological impulse. Addicts usually lose control over their meth addiction. You don’t need to be using it long before it takes over your life. This is known as powerlessness or compulsive behaviour.
Reward center: Changes in the way we experience pleasure
Impaired memory: Euphoric recall despite negative consequence
Self-medicating: Negative thoughts, feelings and paranoia
The descent into meth dependence can happen quickly because this drug is so highly addictive. People usually start off by taking this substance occasionally just for fun – it has a reputation for being a ‘party drug’. Those who take it, experience a rush of pleasure, increased confidence, as well as a boost in energy levels. This effect lasts for about eight hours. Meth can also enhance one’s performance; some say it helps with work or educational studies and boosts sex drive. The drug is also a very efficient appetite suppressant and has been used for the treatment of obesity however due to its highly addictive nature and many negative side effects it is not recommended. In addition, Methamphetamine has been used to treat ADD or ADHD in the past – alongside with other pharmaceutical stimulant medications. It is the fact that this substance creates such desirable effects that makes it so dangerous.
Meth works by increasing the levels of dopamine by up to 10 times the normal level of this hormone. However, what goes up must go down, and once this drug begins to wear off, the person will feel depressed, tired, and mentally sluggish. Some of the other negative effects and risks of Methamphetamine include anxiety, erratic behaviour, paranoia and psychosis, suicidal thinking, nightmares, mood swings. The after-effects of meth are unpleasant, and this encourages people to use more of the drug in order to return to the high. Meth becomes linked to the internal reward system in the brain, and this means users start to develop cravings once they have taken it a few times.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and, when present in normal quantities, facilitates critical brain functions. People with addictions are low on dopamine causing addiction, depression, loss of satisfaction, poor focus and other symptoms. Low dopamine levels cause us to consciously and unconsciously seek out dopamine raising substances or behaviours. All substances stimulate dopamine release or increase its activity and produce the hedonic response, “I like that” motivation.
The dopamine pleasure pathway is the Go system, and the prefrontal cortex is the Stop system. When we anticipate and experience something good like food or sex, alcohol or drugs, our brain experiences a surge in the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Meth creates a false sense of well-being and energy, so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. So, drug users can experience a severe “crash”, a physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear off.
Increased & Irregular Heart Rate
High Blood Pressure
Lack of Appetite
Behavior change is the most disturbing effect that the family and friends witness including, lying and dishonesty, changing friends, lack of motivation, loss of interest in healthy activities, illegal activities and self-neglect, high-risk behaviors and sexual acting out are amongst many of the distressing issues faced when a loved one becomes addicted to Methamphetamine, Crystal Meth or Ice.
Stopping long-term can be very difficult as Methamphetamine use is known to change the brain’s impulse control more than any other substances making cravings harder to resist and triggers like feeling down or expecting a reward after a hard weeks work very difficult to manage.
Not everyone who gets into trouble with Crystal Meth is going to fit the stereotype of the emaciated, desperate-looking, and paranoid user. Nonetheless, you don’t need to reach this point in order to be in need of help to quit. Unfortunately, by the time we wake up to the fact that the cons outweigh the pros with this drug, we are usually well and truly hooked. It isn’t just that our withdrawals can be challenging but we also find life without methamphetamine almost impossible to imagine. It can be harder to permanently break free of methamphetamine than it is for other drugs like heroin and cocaine. This is why a structured rehab program can be so important.
One of the things that can happen when you stop taking meth, is that your dopamine levels start to drop significantly. This is why quitting Crystal Meth can be tough if you don’t have the right support and resources. It isn’t only that the initial withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, but the sudden drop in dopamine levels can lead to a state called anhedonia where the person finds it hard to find pleasure in things. Even if you are fully committed to recovery, you may lose motivation, unless you are supported through this adaptation phase. The acute withdrawal from Crystal Meth can be exhausting, frightening and dangerous as the often extremely low mood – if it doesn’t take place in a healthy environment with adequate support – could trigger self-harm behaviour. Methamphetamine users also often use a variety of other drugs such as sleep medications and alcohol to manage these scary comedowns after long binges, thus creating a dual dependency, so a detox from Benzodiazepines or alcohol can sometimes be necessary.
Remember your urge to use the substance will not magically disappear just because you stop using. It is the psychological addiction, the underlying issues that gave rise to the desire to self-medicate in the first place, that need to be worked on over time. Therefore, you will be encouraged to explore these problems so as to develop self-awareness around your triggers and create a personal relapse prevention plan. Cause the reality is: Without help with your Ice addiction, you are far less likely to remain free of the drug. Even if you do manage to avoid relapse, prolonged anhedonia is going to put you at high risk of new addictions as you brain desperately looks for ways to increase your dopamine levels.
One of the great benefits of going to a residential treatment center for methamphetamine dependency is it means you will enter a therapeutic environment. Making any type of major life change is always going to be difficult, and this difficulty is greatly multiplied when it involves dependency on a drug. By coming to us at Hope Rehab, you will be surrounded by people who share your desire to change, and our therapists will support you every step of the way.
At Hope, we appreciate that methamphetamine will have performed a significant function in your life. The desire to escape the pressures of daily life is understandable, and you may now find it hard to imagine how you will cope without this refuge. There is nothing wrong with your desire to feel comfortable – it is just that your methods of achieving this goal have been flawed. By entering a rehab for Crystal Meth treatment, you will pick up more effective tools for dealing with the ups and downs of life. This way your need to use Ice will diminish.
People who fall into addiction do share many similarities with each other, but it would be a mistake to assume that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is going to work for all substance abusers. Our team at Hope Rehab has extensive experience with helping clients rebuild their lives following methamphetamine addiction, and our program takes the peculiarities of this type of dependency into account. We provide individualised care to make sure you are getting exactly what you need. At Hope, you’ll live in a supportive and therapeutic environment where you can begin to heal. You will also benefit from a range of evidence-based approaches that will provide you with the tools you need to build a better life. Our residential rehabilitation program is designed to provide you with effective strategies for managing the pressures of life and finding real happiness. Our program is made up of three pillars: therapy, mindfulness and fitness. Treatment at Hope includes among other things Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as well as a Minnesota model recovery program, one-on-one counselling sessions twice a week and a variety of fitness activities; our extensive mindfulness program which includes weekly one-on-one coaching will help regulate your emotions. If you, or somebody you care about, is dealing with meth addiction, we may have the solution you have been looking for. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for more info.
The goal of Crystal Meth recovery is for you to become satisfied enough with your life that you no longer feel the need to abuse drugs and alcohol. One of the main barriers to reaching this goal is that we have picked up dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaving that are getting in the way of our happiness. During your stay at Hope Rehab, you will be introduced to and begin to use tools like mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Those will help you to start to escape these old patterns. By the time you leave Hope Rehab you’ll have developped a new outlook on and feel excited about your new life. You’ll have a recovery and relapse prevention plan in place and will stay connected with the Hope family and therapeutic community through our aftercare program. The latter will provide support, guidance, and accountability until you’ve settled back in at home.
Methamphetamine treatment is a highly structured program consisting of…