MAMa FAQ's #13

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More information can be found in Crystal Meth: They Call it Ice.

What do they do in rehabilitation to help addicts stay clean?

  1. Psychological counseling
  2. Cognitive Behavioral therapy
  3. Retrain self control tract
  4. Medications
  5. 12 step programs Ė social / spiritual

Psychological counseling centers on the reasons the person has been using drugs. Methamphetamine is meeting some need in his life, for approval, acceptance, belonging, that he is not fulfilling in healthy ways. He might be controlled by his anger and resentments, his guilt and shame, or feelings of rejection that must be dealt with in order to successfully treat his addiction.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to correct the false beliefs he has about drug use. It assumes that once the addict understands what drugs are doing to his brain, his personality, his relationships, he will quit using. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been successful in treating alcoholism, but is much less effective with methamphetamine addiction. The connection between the thinking parts of the brain [frontal lobes] and the motivational areas of the subconscious brain [ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens] are non-functional. He may agree with you completely that drugs are evil and dangerous, and yet use them again the first chance he gets.

We retrain his self control pathways, restoring the connection between frontal lobe and lower brain structures by structured required activities that exercise the remaining cells in the self control tract. Many of those cells have been damaged or destroyed. The remaining cells can be stimulated to generate new connections and restore communication if they are challenged to do so. And so most rehab centers have the clients get up at a certain hour, do the chores assigned to them, and keep a schedule of activities. Each time they do a chore, they are stimulating cell regeneration in the self control tract of the brain. Over time it becomes stronger and the addict regains control over his behavior. This process requires 6-12 months to complete.

Most methamphetamine addicts have significant problems with depression, anxiety, and hallucinations, and effective medications are available to relieve their symptoms, making recovery more possible. If depression is left untreated, the addict will be strongly motivated to use again just to relieve the overwhelming depression related to withdrawal from methamphetamine. This depression lasts several months, and can persist for years after withdrawal.

When dealing with this depression, loneliness and alienation, 12 step programs are very effective in restoring a social support structure to the recovering addict. He needs to be able to talk to people who understand what he is going through and have come out on the other side to a healthy life off drugs. He needs to be around people who can see through the lies and excuses and hold him accountable. No one can do that like another recovered addict.

The addict also needs a real relationship with a real Higher Power, whom he really believes in. This addiction is not going to just go away. This is a life long struggle that will require every resource he has. He needs a life long relationship with God to empower him to live clean.

Most addicts are alienated from God because of guilt, fear or anger. They equate God with judgment and condemnation and justifiably reject Him. Christian rehabilitation consists of correcting those inaccurate representations of God and helping the addict see the mercy of God in the person and cross of Jesus Christ. Recovery requires discipline, honesty, courage and strength of character. All of those qualities are in Jesus Christ, and His Spirit confers them on His children. The addict canít stay clean in his own strength. He no longer has the necessary neurons to do it in his own strength. He does it in the strength of The Spirit of Jesus within him.

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