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Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders in Women with Methamphetamine Addiction

Sarah (name changed) was living in a rollercoaster of meth-fueled highs, followed by the crushing lows of depression when the drug wore off. This addiction was taking a toll on every aspect of her life: family, career, home, and social activities. 

She felt like she could no longer hide her addiction and was desperate for change – she needed to find a way to not only stop the drug use but also overcome the underlying mental health challenges that were contributing to a lifestyle that was spiraling down.

When Sarah reached out to our team at Avery Lane, she knew that she had to find long-lasting solutions if she was going to see her kids grow up. Our addiction recovery center provided the personalized treatments she needed, combining medical interventions, therapy, and a holistic approach. Even though Sarah still feels the cravings at times, she is walking on her new path and has a newly found strength to rebuild her life.

The reality is that many women are suffering in silence, with an experience similar to Sarah’s. Methamphetamine is a stimulant and can feel great in the beginning, but the addiction quickly takes over, leaving a path of destruction in a person’s life. The good news is that there is always hope: the first step is reaching out to a local addiction recovery center to learn more about methamphetamine treatments and available services.

Methamphetamine Statistics: A Growing Problem

Recent reports show a significant rise in amphetamine and methamphetamine use, especially in hard-hit areas nationwide – and throughout the state of California. 

Even though methamphetamine addiction can affect people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic conditions, gender is a critical variable that must always be addressed when designing an individualized treatment plan. For this reason, our team at Avery Lane uses scientifically proven methods for holistic treatments that help each woman heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Why is Meth So Addictive?

When a person uses a stimulant, such as methamphetamine, certain responses in the brain and nervous system are heightened. This increased activity affects respiration, heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. As a result, the person has incredible energy, focus, attention, excitement, and pleasure. 

Meth puts the chemical messengers in the brain on overdrive, delivering feel-good dopamine. This neurotransmitter disrupts normal functioning, causing a person to not only feel pleasure but it also amplifies motivation, memory functions, reward processing, learning, and more. Because the use of the drug feels so good in the moment, it makes the person want to continue taking it so they can maintain the same feeling.

Then, as the drug starts to wear off, the person feels a drastic juxtaposition as the body backslides into a depressive, low state of energy. 

Which Comes First? Meth and Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Because meth is a mood-lifter and can create a temporary boost in energy and focus, it is particularly addictive for people suffering from co-occurring disorders. Many women experiencing meth addiction are often also suffering from mental health challenges, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar Disorder

But it is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario: for example, depression and anxiety can cause a person to want the high that comes from using meth, but the after-effects of the drug can send the individual into an even lower mental health state when the high is over. So, they self-medicate by using the drug again in an attempt to feel better.

When meth wears off, the “crash” is usually significant, leaving the person feeling exhausted, depressed, hungry, lethargic, and anxious. It becomes difficult to feel happy without meth, especially when the withdrawal symptoms and painful and uncomfortable. 

Substance abuse exacerbates mental health symptoms and vice versa.

This pattern often results in a binge pattern, where the person keeps taking small doses of meth in an effort to maintain the high. The ongoing use leads to drug dependence and addiction more quickly, especially as the person builds up a tolerance and must use larger doses more often in order to achieve the same high.

Meth Addiction: Challenging, But Possible, to Overcome

The harsh reality is that a methamphetamine addiction can be challenging to treat because the drug is extremely addictive. Finding the right addiction recovery center is a key factor in helping people overcome this addiction and regain control of their lives once again.

Once a methamphetamine addiction forms, it changes the way the brain functions. The circuitry and chemical makeup are altered, making it more difficult for the person to control their compulsive drug-seeking behaviors. They are so consumed by getting their next high that all other activities in life take a backseat. The addiction results in a domino effect that causes issues in every aspect of life, damaging the person’s physical, emotional, social, and behavioral well-being.

At Avery Lane, our experienced care team offers proven systems for women facing all types of addiction and mental health challenges. We offer a comprehensive treatment plan, providing a safe space where women can go. Even though general society is still working to overcome the stigma of addiction recovery, rest assured knowing that our doors are always open for women who need support.

Integrated Treatment: A Powerful Approach for Meth Addiction Recovery

Our expert providers at Avery Lane use an integrated treatment approach, which is a comprehensive method to address both the addiction and mental health disorders simultaneously. While traditional treatment methods are focused on alleviating the symptoms and helping each person stay away from drug use, we go much deeper.

We understand that underlying mental health challenges, trauma, and other life factors can contribute to the addiction cycle. So, our goal is to fix the foundation by getting to the root of what is contributing to the addictive behaviors.

The benefits of this integrated treatment include:

  • Sustained Recovery: Patients have higher rates of sustained recovery when they heal holistically. Addressing both the addiction and the mental health concerns at the same time increases the likelihood that each person will be able to stay on track when they transition back into their normal life activities.
  • Reduced Risk of Relapse: Our patients go back out into the world empowered with tools and strategies to maintain good mental health. This is important because it reduces the risk of relapse in the coming months and years.
  • Overall Well-Being: Not only do people feel better when they are no longer depending on the methamphetamine “high,” but they experience overall improvements in their emotional and mental well-being.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Ultimately, the goal is to help each patient live the best life possible. This integrated treatment approach is customized to the needs of every person we work with, helping them see the vision and possibilities for their future success.

Additionally, integrated treatments are carefully tailored to women’s needs. Many women are also dealing with the after-effects of trauma, which has an impact on both mental health and addiction. Our trauma-informed care team provides the support women need in their unique journeys.

Effective Components in a Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Plan

Over the years, we have developed proven strategies to help patients as they are navigating the detox and recovery from methamphetamine addiction. Here are some of the components that are often included in the comprehensive treatment plans:

  • Behavioral Therapies: Women often need to identify and change negative thought patterns, because these thoughts are driving their addictive behaviors. We use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which can facilitate emotional management and building healthy relationships. Other behavioral therapies might include motivational interviewing (MI) and contingency management.
  • Medications: Many patients benefit from the use of prescription medications, especially in the early stages of their addiction recovery. We have medications that can help with reducing cravings for methamphetamine. Additionally, sometimes it’s helpful to use medications for managing mental health symptoms.
  • Holistic Interventions: At Avery Lane, our focus is on treating the whole person. Each patient is more than their addiction or symptoms. We see a person who has hopes, dreams, and possibilities in their life. Our holistic approach addresses the physical factors that can improve recovery, such as nutrition, exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and more.
  • Support Groups: Community is an important factor in a successful treatment program. In addition to receiving one-on-one support in for methamphetamine addiction recovery, we also offer support groups and peer-recovery programs.

Find Your Way at Avery Lane

Are you searching for a methamphetamine treatment program for yourself or someone you love? If you are looking for local resources, then we invite you to reach out to our caring team at Avery Lane. We offer full-service solutions, including detoxification, intensive outpatient services, mental health residential care, family programs, residential treatment centers, and more. 

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