Meth treatment: A unique challenge
The power of methamphetamine's impact on the brain is like
no other drug and makes recovery from regular meth use
among the most difficult of all addictive drugs.
Meth withdrawal leaves the user with extreme cravings --
particularly in situations or places where the drug was used
earlier. Any thoughts,sights or conversations associated
with the drug will trigger the cravings.
Coming off the drug also virtually removes the ability of the
patient to feel pleasure from normal stimuli such as food or
sex. The brain -- hampered by long-term over-production
of dopamine -- cannot produce the feelings of pleasure.
"Meth effects can last up to six months for just one use,
and the drug can do greater damage to a person's physical,
behavioral and thinking functions than many other illicit drugs
or alcohol," says James Hall of the University of Iowa. "For
this reason, it takes much longer to treat a person with a meth addiction than it does to treat someone with a cocaine or heroin problem. This time factor is also one reason why so many meth treatments currently fail."