Understanding Non-12 Step Holistic Approaches to Meth Addiction Recovery.
This Wiki is in context to the Non 12 step program developed by Gulf Breeze Recovery called THRIVE: Total Health Recovery.
A standardized description of addiction to the drug known as Meth by the NIH: (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine [a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder].
Other common names for methamphetamine include chalk, crank, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.
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A Brief History of Modern Crystal Meth from the 1960's to Present Day
After World War II, Meth was used extensively in developed and newly developing countries in the form of tablets. By the 1960's, Crystal Meth had become known as a dangerous drug that caused severe health risks. These risks along with hazardous social consequences led to the popularization of the term "Speed Kills", a slogan that expressed the concerns that people had about the severity of speed and crystal meth addiction.
By 1974, the Drug Control Act limited the medicinal use of most methamphetamine. This virtually ended the prescription abuse of methamphetamine; however, it also opened the door for Crystal Meth or "Crank" supplied by the Hell's Angels and other motorcycle gangs. By the 1980's the use of crystal meth had evolved into a smoke-able form known as "Ice".
Here's a first-hand explanation of how non-12 step treatment worked for one individual with a chronic addiction to meth.
Anthony shares his journey from chronic relapse to freedom from meth addiction in this unscripted testimonial for Gulf Breeze Recovery's non-12 step holistic program called THRIVE: Total Health Recovery
Anthony was a guest at Gulf Breeze Recovery who arrived with a substantial addiction to Methamphetamine. He was in need of our medically licensed detox before starting the "program" and started the process of insight-based breakthroughs almost immediately after he had some time to recover physically. Please enjoy this testimonial all the way through, take your time and relax and listen. Even though Anthony's story includes a period of great pain, it has a happy ending, or is it a beginning? More unscripted testimonials from our graduates.
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How Crystal Meth is commonly produced:
With a little online research, anyone can easily make crystal meth with over the counter ingredients. The entire lab can fit in a box or even a briefcase and can be taught to others with simple instructions anyone could follow. The ingredients include:
- Ephedrine Tablets
- Lantern Fuel
- Muriatic Acid
- Pseudoephedrine Tablets
- Red Phosphorous
- Sulphuric Acid
When chemicals such as these are properly combined, the result is Methamphetamine. The substance begins as an inactive or marginally-inactive compound (ephedrine or pseudoephedrine), and other chemicals are added to produce the drug.
The Overall Effects of Crystal Meth Addiction
Many meth users report super enhanced energy without the need to eat or sleep and a feeling of hyper-focus and emotional euphoria. The over-stimulation to the central nervous system that allows the body to go into overdrive, despite the physical and psychological damage that it does, makes the drug in any form extremely addictive.
Violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia are all signs of chronic methamphetamine abuse. Meth users can also display psychotic features such as paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, and delusions.
Even infrequent use produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and irreversible, stroke-producing damage to small blood vessels in the brain. Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and convulsions are just some of the physiological and cardiovascular trauma that occur with chronic meth abuse.
Images of the brain and how they are effected by crystal meth addiction.
The image above shows good news for chronic meth users. A study that imaged a normal control against the brains of chronic meth users showed a relative return to normal after approximately 14 months of abstinence from the drug (meth).
Citation: Volkow ND, Chang L, Wang GJ, Fowler JS, Franceschi D, Sedler M, Gatley SJ, Miller E, Hitzemann R, Ding YS, Logan J. Loss of dopamine transporters in methamphetamine abusers recovers with protracted abstinence. J Neurosci 21(23):9414-9418, 2001.
Drugs like Meth interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Although these drugs mimic the brain's own chemicals, they don't activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network. Drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals by interfering with transporters. This too amplifies or disrupts the normal communication between neurons.
Why is methamphetamine so addictive?
The image below is from the now famous "120 months on meth" using mugshots from the public records showing the progression of a woman's fatal 10-year meth habit. For many, the lack of treatment options and the addictive nature of the drug result in the increase of meth related deaths.
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.
Attribution for this image: Provided by Wikimedia Commons Seppi333 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
This diagram depicts the signaling events in the brain's reward center that are induced by chronic high-dose exposure to psychostimulants that increase the concentration of synaptic dopamine, like amphetamine, methamphetamine, and phenethylamine. Following presynaptic dopamine and glutamate co-release by such psychostimulants, postsynaptic receptors for these neurotransmitters trigger internal signaling events through a cAMP-dependent pathway and a calcium-dependent pathway that ultimately result in increased CREB phosphorylation. Phosphorylated CREB increases levels of ΔFosB, which in turn represses the c-Fos gene with the help of corepressors; c-Fos repression acts as a molecular switch that enables the accumulation of ΔFosB in the neuron. A highly stable (phosphorylated) form of ΔFosB, one that persists in neurons for 1–2 months, slowly accumulates following repeated high-dose exposure to stimulants through this process. ΔFosB functions as "one of the master control proteins" that produces addiction-related structural changes in the brain, and upon sufficient accumulation, with the help of its downstream targets (e.g., nuclear factor kappa B), it induces an addictive state.
Pleasure or euphoria—the high from drugs—is still poorly understood, but probably involves surges of chemical signaling compounds including the body's natural opioids (endorphins) and other neurotransmitters in parts of the basal ganglia (the reward circuit). When some drugs are taken, they can cause surges of these neurotransmitters much greater than the smaller bursts naturally produced in association with healthy rewards like eating, music, creative pursuits, or social interaction.
It was once thought that surges of the neurotransmitter dopamine produced by drugs directly caused the euphoria, but scientists now think dopamine has more to do with getting us to repeat pleasurable activities (reinforcement) than with producing pleasure directly.
What are other health effects of methamphetamine?
People who inject methamphetamine are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Methamphetamine use can also alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases the risk for infection.
Image attribution for wikimedia commons: By No machine-readable author provided. Dozenist assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=332188
Methamphetamine use may worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies indicate that HIV causes more injury to nerve cells and more cognitive problems in people who have HIV and use methamphetamine than it does in people who have HIV and don't use the drug. Cognitive problems are those involved with thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
Common withdrawal symptoms for users of Crystal Meth
When a chronic crystal meth addict is trying to stop using the drug, the body reacts because it needs the drug to function. Symptoms of anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness and intense cravings for the drug are all part of Crystal Meth withdrawal. The psychological pain is intense and causes most chronic users of crystal meth to experience chronic relapse without treatment. There are many forms of drug treatment, but almost all suggest that during the initial withdrawal (normally about three-days for the drug to leave the system) a medically licensed detox is in order. This is typically followed by a substantial period of time for a combination of therapies including various vitamins, talk therapy, rest, daily exercise, and a healthy nutritional program. It is not uncommon for an intense period of emotional readjustment to take place that could last for a year or more, long after the cravings for the drug itself cease.
What is a Rolling Meth Lab?
A rolling meth lab is a transportable laboratory that is used to illegally produce methamphetamine. Rolling meth labs are often moved to a secluded location where the strong, toxic fumes of methamphetamine manufacture cannot be detected and where the toxic manufacturing byproducts can be discarded.
The process of synthesizing methamphetamine (also known as "cooking") can be dangerous as it involves poisonous, flammable, and explosive chemicals. In November 2001, a rolling meth lab that was carrying anhydrous ammonia exploded on Interstate 24 in southwest Kentucky, prompting law enforcement to shut down the highway, and injured passing motorists also exposed to dangerous fumes.
Toxic effects and dangerous remnants
As with a home lab, the remaining fumes from a crude moving methamphetamine lab can be extremely toxic. Vehicles stolen for the single purpose of manufacture of the drug are most often considered contaminated and unusable.
Points to remember about crystal meth and it's harmful side effects.
- Methamphetamine is usually a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
- Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine (a drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy).
- People can take methamphetamine by inhaling/smoking, swallowing, snorting, or injecting the drug.
- Methamphetamine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which is involved in the movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors.
- Short-term health effects include increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and body temperature.
- Long-term health effects include risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis; severe dental problems ("meth mouth"); intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching; violent behavior; and paranoia.
- Researchers don't yet know whether people breathing in secondhand methamphetamine smoke can get high or have other health effects.
- A person can overdose on methamphetamine. Because methamphetamine overdose often leads to a stroke, heart attack, or organ problems, first responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose by treating these conditions.
- Methamphetamine is highly addictive. When people stop taking it, withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, and intense drug cravings.
- The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction so far are behavioral therapies. There are currently no government-approved medications to treat methamphetamine addiction.
Gulf Breeze Recovery’s Non-12 Step Holistic Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program Consists of Five Main Components:
#1 Medically Licensed Detox. Immediately upon admission, we are able to care for you or your loved one to prevent any lapse in treatment. Our research shows that a person’s total perceived experience in a drug treatment center can be directly associated with his or her detoxification experience. When people feel that they are being cared for and that the medical staff is doing everything they can to make their experience as comfortable as possible, then that positive association is carried over into the rest of the program. Gulf Breeze Recovery's medically licensed detox wing has a team of Doctors and Nurses who provide licensed medical care 24/7. Performed correctly, the detoxification process can be achieved safely and comfortably.
#2 Resistance Reversal. Typically, many suffering with addiction will experience resistance to treatment, preventing them from seeking the help they ultimately desire. Often, the unwillingness to overcome resistance will destroy a person’s life. The addicted individual can lose almost everything they hold dear: career, friends, possessions, respect, mental and physical health. If people persist in addictive behavior, they could eventually lose their lives. Gulf Breeze Recovery offers a unique and individualized approach for people who experience resistance to treatment, struggle with chronic relapse, or have a history of not completing treatment.
#3 Physical Health Recovery. Gulf Breeze Recovery's individualized, non-12 step holistic alcohol and drug treatment program is designed to restore your natural state of physical well-being. This desire for health is often lost during active addiction. At the core of our holistic philosophy are universal desires we all share: to feel good and be healthy. The physical health recovery portion of our individualized holistic drug rehab program is the starting point for taking you or your loved one down the road to total health recovery.
#4 Mental Health Recovery. To provide everyone with the best possible chance at recovery, we have taken an industry leadership position in the number of therapy hours that our guests receive. Our process shares an understanding of the fundamental root cause of the dis-ease, along with the actions, thought patterns, and behaviors that caused the problem to spiral out of control.
Our principled approach focuses on the underlying cause and the subsequent freedom from all addictions, along with any co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. Our processes uncover the fundamental understanding and root cause as to what created the addiction problem, along with the actions, thought patterns and behaviors that caused the problem to spiral out of control and the subsequent understanding and actions needed for our guests to experience freedom from addiction and to regain their mental health.
#5 Individualized Aftercare. Our non-12 step holistic drug and alcohol treatment program doesn’t end once you or your loved one graduate from the program. Those who choose to participate in the aftercare option, along with their families, will have access and be actively involved with the graduate’s personal counselor.
- Continuation of one-on-one counseling services either directly or via electronic media (ask for details). This leg supports the need to share personal issues.
- Weekly group meetings via electronic media that is facilitated by a therapist. This leg supports the need to discuss everyday issues concerning life, relationships, avoidance of substances, etc. and is designed to be less intrusive into people’s personal affairs.
- Secured closed-group electronic forum. This leg supports the need to share, discuss, and solicit feedback from the facilitator and/or other members on immediate issues concerning any topic of concern. This forum can also be used to help you or your loved one “give back” to others by offering insight into someone else’s topic.
A non-12 step approach to meth addiction recovery will reveal your natural wellness and strength.
At Gulf Breeze Recovery, our holistic, non-12 step addiction recovery program (called THRIVE®) works to reveal the natural wellness and strength we all have, and with which we all are born. This approach to rehabilitation stands in stark contrast to traditional 12-step recovery programs and is one of the reasons why our program can work for people when conventional methods have not.
While traditional addiction recovery programs may work for some people, they do not work for everyone. In fact, there is mounting evidence that traditional 12 step programs may be detrimental to the recovery process of some. Focusing on the times that something has gone wrong - that someone has come up short or acted on addictive thoughts - and outlining numerous steps that someone trying to overcome addiction must go through to replace and resist their addictive behaviors can become a pitfall.
Gulf Breeze Recovery's holistic approach to meth recovery develops the inner resilience and power of the individual. We call our program THRIVE: Total Health Recovery.
Our non-12 step method for true recovery focuses on the wellness and strength of a person rather than what's "broken." By helping people to insightfully "see" and understand that they can, once again, become "captains" of their own ship, then hope is restored. Once hope is restored, then positive change takes place. Instead of reliance on, meetings, things and people on the "outside," graduates of our program can begin, once again, to rely on themselves. This change requires a process that is at the heart of our program and what we do.
By developing education and personal growth, we work with our guests so they can understand the true nature of addictive thoughts - free from desperation and fear. Once a person takes part in our non-12 step, holistic method for addiction rehabilitation, even if traditional, 12-step approaches have not worked, the results can be impressive.
More articles on, or containing information on Meth Addiction from our recovery blog.
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