A commonly used synthetic street drug that is also known as ‘speed’, ‘meth’, ‘ice’, ‘crystal’, ‘crank’ or ‘chalk’, methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that effects the central nervous system. Although it can be prescribed for medical purposes such as the treatment of attention-deficit disorder, narcolepsy and obesity, such cases are rare and intended for short-term use only. Because of its powerful effects as a stimulant, methamphetamine is a very dangerous drug that can lead to violent behavior following the initial rush or high, and psychosis and paranoia over long term use.
Although there are three grades of methamphetamine addicts including low-intensity addiction, high-intensity addiction and binge addiction, the symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal are the same for all. Some symptoms include:
- fatigue or exhaustion
- long, disturbed periods of sleep
- intense hunger
- moderate to severe depression
- psychotic episodes
- confused state
Because there are currently no particular pharmacological treatments designed specifically for methamphetamine dependency other than what has been borrowed from cocaine treatments, the most effective treatment plan involves cognitive-behavioral interventions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is meant to help change the addict’s way of thinking, their expectancies from drug use, and their learned behavior and to help them better cope with life’s daily stressors. Combined with support groups, individual therapy and group counseling, such a treatment plan has a relatively high degree of success for long-term rehabilitation.