San Diego’s Leading Meth Rehab for Women
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to meth, rehab can help. Our team will help build the skills needed to identify cravings and strategize coping skills, explore the feelings that arise in early recovery, and guide the client through an honest look at their behaviors and motivations. It is normal during this time for the client to feel either emotionally dysregulated or emotionally “neutralized” and blank as the brain works to rebalance itself. We are here to help our clients understand this process, to support and educate them throughout, and, most importantly, to help explore the underlying issues that drove addictive drug use.
What is Meth Addiction?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that has a strong addiction potential, as measured by the intensity of the effect and the rapidness of onset of the effect. Users can consume the drug by smoking, snorting, or injecting it. Polysubstance use (doing multiple drugs at once) is common with methamphetamine users because oftentimes people try to “balance out” the stimulant effect of methamphetamine with other drugs that have a depressant or sedative effect, like opiates or benzodiazepines. Methamphetamine affects the central nervous system directly and as a result brain function becomes impaired. People who suffer from methamphetamine addiction usually experience a predictable decline in their ability to function, manage responsibility, general health, emotional regulation, and general quality of life, because the brain chemistry, particularly the dopamine reward system, has been “hijacked.”
The Dopamine Reward System
Dopamine is the brain chemical that is naturally involved when a person experiences something that is interpreted as pleasurable or, on a more basic level, something that is pertinent to survival. For example, dopamine is released and re-absorbed when we have a satisfying meal, a positive social interaction, or complete a complicated task. When methamphetamine is released into the system, huge spikes of dopamine take place in levels that are unachievable from normal pleasant experiences. Over time, these dopamine spikes begin to dominate the brain’s circuitry, because, on a fundamental level, the brain only interprets chemical signaling and it reads dopamine spikes as being synonymous with functions necessary for survival. The brain is literally reading these methamphetamine-induced giant surges of dopamine as far more important to the system than the small dopamine spikes created by eating, sleeping, or productive activity. Eventually, the brain will instruct the person to disregard whatever is creating the small dopamine bursts (normal pleasurable/survival activity) and to focus more on whatever is creating the giant bursts (methamphetamine use). The problem with this is that the body is always trying to keep itself in homeostasis – that is to find out what the levels of “normal” are for current functioning. As time goes on, the brain creates new set points for dopamine that are higher and higher. Now, not only does the substance user need greater and greater amounts of the drug, but the normal pleasurable activities barely register. It takes time for the brain’s chemistry to re-align and the “flat line” emotional state that one can experience after removing methamphetamine can be a strong relapse trigger. Fortunately, we now know that the brain is far more resilient than we ever thought and that the brain is usually fully capable of returning to its normal homeostasis.
Recognizing and Recovering from Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine addiction can be hard to recognize in its early stage, because the user normally feels an initial burst of productivity. The person using might be surprised that they can suddenly put in all those extra hours at work, be “supermom” all day, or effortlessly loose the weight they’ve been working to shed. With continued exposure to the drug, however, this phase of high achievement dissipates. Eventually, regions of the brain connected to decision-making, consequence weighing, long-term planning, and risk evaluation become compromised. What was once productivity, becomes frenzied activity, purposeless micro-tasking, and dangerous risk-taking. Psychologically, the user also begins to suffer, as the neurochemistry required for mental well-being deteriorates. Users might feel paranoid, combative, tend to isolate, or even experience psychosis. The lack of nutrition and sleep deprivation that are symptomatic of methamphetamine addiction support these psychological side-effects.
In the early stages of methamphetamine addiction, the user’s ability to recognize problematic circumstances might be strong enough to compel them to seek recovery. In more advanced cases of methamphetamine use, the user’s ability to experience personal insight is often gravely diminished, and treatment is likely to be prompted by a loved one, a doctor, a mental health professional, or the court system. Fortunately, recent research indicates that clients participating in treatment that has been coerced or mandated do not necessarily have less positive outcomes than voluntary clients. Normally, the physical symptoms (jitteriness, agitation, itching or skin crawling, malnutrition, sleep deprivation, etc.) of methamphetamine abuse subside with rest, proper nutrition, and drug-abstinent time. If the methamphetamine user has pre-existing medical conditions, or medical conditions that have arisen through the course of addiction (heart condition, respiratory condition, skin infections at injection sites, or from skin picking, severe malnutrition, communicable diseases acquired through shared needles or high-risk behaviors, etc.) it is recommended that acute withdrawal include medical supervision and/or a medical evaluation.
How We Can Help
Many who women who seek help at our meth rehab come to find that deeper issues such as body image were the driving force in their methamphetamine use. For people in otherwise good health, the physical symptoms of methamphetamine abuse resolve as a normal, healthy lifestyle is implemented. The weight gain and metabolic changes that are a normal part of methamphetamine recovery can be a strong relapse trigger for women who have negative body images or who suffer from disordered eating. At Haven Hills Recovery, we have a registered dietician to help guarantee that proper nutrition and food education is a part of the recovery process. We also have therapists who specialize in body-consciousness and self-acceptance to help navigate the emotions that arise during the physical adjustments. Restful sleep in a peaceful environment is another key part of the recovery process. Other physical health concerns can be discussed during the client’s weekly meeting with the facility doctor.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to meth, rehab can be quite effective. We offer IOP, PHP and sober living form women. Give us a call and speak to one of our addiction experts. We are here to help and our phones are answered 24 hours a day.