Methamphetamine treatment is not entirely different from other substance abuse treatment options. What seems to make a difference in methamphetamine treatment is time, this is because meth stays in the body from six to twelve months. Treatment is difficult and uncertain due to the unusually intense addiction the substance induces. Meth addiction recovery is acutely difficult, because of how meth affects the brain chemicals.
All addiction recovery faces the effects of withdrawals, the same is true for methamphetamine recovery. The meth user at the onset of withdrawl experiences an extreme inability to feel pleasure. This is due to the fact that meth affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the control hormone for happiness. When methamphetamine enters the body it tells the brain to releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. Because of the abuse of the drug, a neurotoxic effect happens. In doing so, the brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin are damaged. Over time methamphetamine appears to cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like those of Parkinson’s disease, a severe movement disorder.
In addition, other symptoms of meth withdrawal include: severe craving, mental confusion, depression, insomnia, and restlessness. There are currently no pharmaceuticals to aid with meth recovery and behavioral therapy is needed while the brain attempts to heal itself. Successful meth treatment usually takes four months or longer. Part of treatment is teaching the user how to feel good without drugs. Preferably treatment would be in patient, then several months or years in a halfway house. Even though there are no specific medications to help the user withdraw from methamphetamine there are anti depressants that can help with the emotions and psychotic symptoms during recovery.
As with all treatment, a strong social and familial network is crucial in determining a successful recovery.