Amphetamine Treatment & Rehab Explained
An amphetamine addiction can be emotionally, reputationally and financially devastating – and can pose a serious threat to your health, including the risk of death. However, a number of high-quality treatment facilities now operate across the UK with great experience of treating amphetamine addiction.
Understanding Amphetamine Addiction and Rehab Treatment Options
Amphetamine is a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system (CNS) which is commonly used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and obesity, but which is also a widely available recreational drug posing a broad range of risks to physical and mental health; amphetamine is also taken as a performance enhancer, a cognitive enhancer, and as an aphrodisiac.
Although not usually considered especially physically addictive, amphetamine – like many related substances including methamphetamine (“crystal meth”) does have a significant psychological addiction liability, and amphetamine addiction is a significant problem in the UK, affecting thousands of Britons.Amphetamine proper exists as two enantiomers (chemical “mirror images” in terms of structure): levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine, the latter of which is a much more potent CNS stimulant. Amphetamine belongs to the phenethylamine class of drugs, and is itself the parent compound of the substituted amphetamine class, including numerous well-known recreational substances including crystal meth and MDMA (“ecstasy”).
Addiction of any kind is basically a disorder of the brain’s reward system. Reward centres in the brain – especially in parts of the brain including the amygdala and the ventral tegmental area – release neurochemicals including dopamine (associated with feelings of pleasure, well-being and reward) in response to exposure to rewarding stimuli including the engagement in particular rewarding behaviours. When such behaviours are repeated, typically frequently over a period of time, the reward centres can adjust in response to that repetition, producing more dopamine when the behaviour is engaged in (or even anticipated), making the individual in question come to associate positive sensations with that behaviour and driving them to engage in it further. Moreover, the absence of dopamine resulting from a cessation of that behaviour can produce negative sensations including low mood which an affected individual may seek to dispel by repeating the behaviour, potentially over and over again.
Over time, that adjustment of the reward system can see an individual feeling a compulsion to engage in the behaviour in question, even if they are aware that doing so could have detrimental consequences to themselves or others. That pattern of behaviour and the compulsion to engage in it is what we term addiction.
In the case of amphetamine specifically, this mechanism can be compounded chemically: one of the effects of the drug upon the human brain is an increase in the quantity and efficacy of dopamine, so someone taking amphetamine frequently may come to experience a “double whammy” of dopamine produced both by the disordered function of the brain’s reward system and as a result of their consumption of amphetamine – and the effects of a dopamine deficiency, when that person stops taking amphetamine, are likewise exacerbated.
As well as addiction and its associated dangers, amphetamine use and abuse can cause numerous other undesired side-effects, some of which can be extremely dangerous. Prominent side-effects of amphetamine consumption include hypertension or hypotension; tachycardia; sexual dysfunction; blurred vision; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; diarrhoea; abdominal pain; dry mouth; grinding of teeth; nosebleeds; constipation; headache; profuse sweating; seizures; reduced gastrointestinal motility; insomnia; mood swings; delusions; anxiety; depression; irritability; repetitive or obsessive behaviour; extreme restlessness; amphetamine psychosis; stroke; and heart attack.
The consumption of amphetamine can also lead to overdose, which can be fatal. Some symptoms of amphetamine overdose include: abnormal heart beat; hypertension or hypotension; tremors; confusion; agitation; rapid breathing; muscle pain; urinary retention; cardiogenic shock; circulatory collapse; cerebral haemorrhage; acute amphetamine psychosis; serotonin syndrome; rhabdomyolysis; sympathomimetic toxidrome; pulmonary oedema; kidney failure; respiratory alkalosis; hyperpyrexia; metabolic acidosis; seizures; and coma. If you observe any of these symptoms in someone who you know has taken amphetamine, call the emergency services immediately.
Although amphetamine is not considered physically addictive, and therefore the symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal are primarily psychological in nature (though some physical symptoms may manifest psychosomatically), amphetamine withdrawal is also considered a potentially dangerous condition. Firstly, one of the symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal is suicidal ideation: some users going through withdrawal become so depressed that they contemplate – and in some cases commit – suicide. Secondly, individuals who have developed a tolerance to amphetamine but who go through a period of withdrawal may lose some or all of that tolerance; if they then relapse, and consume amphetamine in dosages to which they may previously have been accustomed but which they can now no longer handle safely, overdose – potentially posing the risk of death – is a likely consequence.
With all these dangers in mind, it is easy to see why amphetamine addiction is considered a very dangerous condition. Amphetamine addicts are exposing themselves to the risk of death through overdose, and to a very long list of other negative consequences for their physical and mental health, some of which could also prove fatal. Because of this, it is vital that amphetamine addiction be tackled and overcome, preferably as soon as possible.
However, if you suffer from an amphetamine addiction, attempting to overcome it by yourself could be extremely dangerous, not least because of the aforementioned challenges associated with withdrawal. Although it is understandable that you might wish to tackle your problem independently, it is infinitely safer and wiser to enlist professional medical assistance. Fortunately, a number of excellent residential rehabilitation (rehab) centres now operate in various parts of the country which have significant experience in the treatment of amphetamine addiction.
Rehab provides a secure, confidential, attractive, peaceful and friendly environment which is entirely conducive to healing and recovery. Different rehabs offer different approaches to treatment, therapy methodologies et cetera, but have the same goal: to help an amphetamine addict beat their condition, and return to health and happiness via a recovery founded on the techniques provided during addiction treatment.
What to Expect from Treatment
Every case of addiction is unique, as is every addict -and as a result, so is every person’s experience of treatment and recovery. Treatment which proves effective for one addict might not be so for another, and because of this, rehabs need to be flexible and agile in their approach to treatment. In consequence – and because treatment practices, philosophies and environments can differ significantly from one facility to another – it is not really possible to give one globally applicable description of what constitutes addiction treatment and how it is provided in rehab.
Nevertheless, obviously alongside any differences there are also numerous commonalities across treatment facilities, and a rough “rehab roadmap” may be provided which can give some idea of what to expect from addiction treatment.
Addiction screening and assessment
The first step upon entering a treatment facility is a full medical assessment designed to give doctors an understanding of how severe your amphetamine addiction is, and of the various factors which will affect how your treatment is provided. The results of this assessment will go into the creation of an addiction treatment programme which will determine your treatment over the course of your stay in rehab; this treatment plan will not be rigidly prescriptive, however, as it will need to reflect your progress and any changes to your physical or psychological condition.
Following the provision of your addiction treatment plan, you will enter detox. Doctors may choose to give you some medication immediately, depending on your condition and situation and any symptoms of withdrawal which may have started to appear. While there is no pharmaceutical cure for amphetamine addiction, various medications may be used to address particular symptoms of withdrawal, in particular persistent psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression; specific medicine may also be provided should any especially troubling and potentially dangerous symptoms manifest.
Detox cleanses your system of all substances of abuse – obviously including amphetamine – over a period of abstinence during which withdrawal may manifest. No addiction treatment can be successful if the addict in question remains under the burden of dependence, or continues to engage in substance abuse, as they will not be able to engage properly with treatment or participate to the necessary extent in any other elements of the treatment programme with which they have been provided.
Therapy is the foundation of addiction treatment. While detox might be said to treat the body, therapy treats the mind, uncovering and addressing the original causes of substance abuse and the destructive behaviours and thinking which have resulted in addiction. Therapy equips the addict with psychological defence mechanisms against relapse, and with a huge variety of other tools and strategies aimed at making life in the outside world after treatment a much less daunting and problematic prospect.
A great many different approaches to therapy are applied in the field of addiction treatment; understandably, each facility can only offer a limited number of different therapy models, and it may be that the type of therapy provided is a major factor in your final decision regarding which facility to attend. If you are considering enrolling in rehab to tackle your amphetamine addiction, you may wish to contact an addiction specialist to discuss different therapy models and which facilities provide them.
Despite (or perhaps because of) being immersed in addiction, many addicts do not have
an adequate understanding of the phenomena of substance abuse and addiction. Educating them, and their loved ones, about the true nature of their condition and its impact upon those around them can help the development of more mature and healthier perspectives (and possibly a more positive outlook on the world) which can in turn better equip them to take on the various challenges of recovery. Crucially, addiction education can also make addicts much more aware of the dangers of substance abuse and addiction and the damage to themselves and others which their behaviour has caused – and will continue to cause in the absence of a proper long-term recovery.
Follow up and aftercare (to avoid relapse)
Recovery does not take place at the moment an individual completes an addiction treatment programme and leaves rehab; on the contrary, it is a long-term process which the recovering addict will need to work hard at for at least the foreseeable future, and possibly for the rest of their life (although, however daunting that may sound, it is infinitely preferable to not reaching recovery at all and continuing to struggle with a potentially fatal addiction). In order to make this process as easy as possible following the conclusion of residential treatment, good rehab organisations will provide up to a year’s free aftercare. A typical aftercare programme will be very bespoke but will almost certainly include regular checkups on-site, with other appointments conducted over the phone or by email, and other components including a commitment to engage in addiction counselling and to participate in support group meetings such as those provided by Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Dual Diagnosis in Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
The occurrence of a substance use disorder alongside another mental health disorder is known as dual diagnosis, and is a phenomenon which is especially common in cases of amphetamine addiction thanks to amphetamine’s role in the treatment of various mental health disorders (including ADHD). The relationship between addiction and poor mental health is well established, with addiction both resulting from mental health issues (as those suffering from them seek
escapism or to self-medicate via the consumption of substances of abuse including amphetamine) and causing them (with depression, anxiety and psychosis particularly prominent consequences of amphetamine abuse).
Cases of dual diagnosis typically require specialist care, as the treatment of addiction tends to become significantly more complex if another mental health disorder is co-occurring: each disorder must be treated simultaneously, and treatment provided for one condition can disrupt that given for the other.
Medication used for Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Although no medication has yet been developed which constitutes a full cure for amphetamine addiction, medicine can be used at various points in the treatment of the condition, in particular during detox and withdrawal: some of the worst symptoms of withdrawal may be alleviated at least partially by medication (for instance, depression and anxiety which often manifest during amphetamine withdrawal may be treated with antidepressants and anxiolytics respectively.
Pros and cons of using medication in amphetamine addiction treatment and rehab
As a general modus operandi, doctors try to avoid providing medication wherever possible, preferring nonpharmaceutical remedies. Obviously, however, in severe cases – especially those in which the addict’s life is in danger – there is no option other than to administer medication; in less serious cases, it is nevertheless important to ensure that the addict is as comfortable and as content as possible, especially when going through a potentially unpleasant and distressing period of withdrawal.
Although medication is not free, its provision is typically included in the overall cost of treatment. Some medications do pose the risk of potentially worrisome and even dangerous side-effects, however, and as a result doctors need to strike the right balance between the over-prescription of medication and not enabling the addict to go through treatment as comfortably and happily as possible.
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Medication replacement programmes for amphetamine addiction treatment
Medication replacement programmes effectively swap out the harmful substance of abuse to which a client has become addicted with a less dangerous, and typically more legal, substitute medication. In the case of amphetamine addiction, medication replacement is not typically utilised (though an addiction to some of the more problematic members of the substituted amphetamine class, including crystal meth, may indeed be tackled partly through the use of replacement amphetamine); however, some rehab centres might require a period of tapering down dosages prior to entering the facility, and during this period the managed and monitored consumption of prescription amphetamine may be deemed preferable to amphetamine procured on the street. If you wish to find out more about medication replacement programmes in amphetamine addiction treatment, speak with an addiction specialist.
Duration of Amphetamine Addiction Rehabilitation
The length of treatment for amphetamine addiction is determined by numerous factors including the addict’s physical and mental condition and personal circumstances, and the severity and duration of the addiction – and events during treatment may lead to changes in the length of the treatment programme. Generally speaking, stays in rehab last between one and three months, though some facilities offer both shorter and more intensive treatment plans, and longer treatment in especially problematic cases.
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab Success Rate
Getting an adequate understanding of how successful different rehab facilities are in the treatment of amphetamine addiction can be well-nigh impossible, as many addicts who complete treatment do not stay in touch with their facilities and update them on progress years after the conclusion of their treatment plans.
A 2012 study by the NHS’ National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse put the success rates enjoyed by the best performing private addiction treatment centres at between 60% and 80% of clients (in terms of maintaining abstinence five years after the end of treatment); however, the worst-performing centres only achieved success rates of under 20%. If you want more precise data on specific treatment centres, contact an addiction specialist.
Twelve-Step Programme for Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Many people find great value in the twelve-step programme originally developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and now used by many other organisations including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and some facilities either offer twelve-step programmes themselves or provide preparatory courses aimed at encouraging amphetamine addicts to engage in such programmes. However, the twelve-step approach is not suitable for every addict, as it requires the concession that only by placing themselves in the hands of a “higher power” (such as God) can an addict hope to achieve a lasting recovery.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Many people will already be at least vaguely familiar with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), as it is one of the forms of psychotherapy which appears most often in film and on television; however, it is important not to bring too many preconceptions into therapy. CBT seeks to tackle specific challenges such as amphetamine addiction by identifying and correcting negative and destructive thought patterns and behaviour; to improve emotional regulation; to assist the client in the development of coping strategies; to impart new skills in areas such as information processing; and to create trigger-avoidance mechanisms and other similar tools for use in the outside world.
The Role of Counselling in Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Counselling is a crucial aspect of many individuals’ recoveries, and can be engaged in both within rehab and in the wider world following the conclusion of treatment. While many psychotherapeutic methodologies are based on the need for clients to form their own conclusions, counselling sees a counsellor actively providing advice on how to tackle specific issues such as addiction and substance abuse. Private addiction counsellors operate throughout the country; if you are interested in finding out more about counselling, including how to identify the best counsellors, contact an addiction specialist.
Individual vs Group Therapy
In rehab, therapy may be provided in either a one-to-one or group environment. Individual therapy sees therapists work with one client at a time to focus on their unique experiences and difficulties; group therapy sessions see groups (typically of between three and a dozen addicts) come together under the guidance of a therapist to give each other different perspectives and to provide support and companionship whilst working together towards the common goal of recovery.
Choosing a Treatment Centre for Amphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehab
The process of choosing the right rehab can be extremely intimidating – especially considering that addicts are likely to feel very vulnerable at that particular time, and are unlikely to know much of anything at all about the field of addiction treatment. However, it is important to do as much research as possible, as this will help you to make the right choice for yourself. It is advisable to draw up a wish list of what you are looking for from treatment, and then to get in touch with an addiction specialist to discuss how much of that wish list can realistically be realised, and which might be the best rehabs for you based on your remaining requirements.
Inpatient Amphetamine Addiction Treatment Programme
Inpatient treatment for amphetamine addiction usually involves stays of between one and three months, taking addicts away from their environment of substance abuse and addiction for that time; treatment will be provided according to a holistic addiction treatment plan (with elements including detox and therapy, and supplementary components such as bespoke fitness and dietary programmes) within attractive, tranquil, confidential and secure environs.
Advantages of inpatient amphetamine addiction treatment and rehab centres
Inpatient amphetamine addiction treatment offers the reassurance and security of 24/7 medical access and monitoring; a relaxed and pleasant environment conducive to thoughtful recovery; on-site medication prescription; an amphetamine-free environment (also free of other substances of abuse); facilities including gyms and quality kitchens; the provision of therapy sessions and other appointments onsite; and a peer group made up of fellow addicts who understand and are sympathetic to your experiences.
Outpatient Amphetamine Addiction Treatment Programme
Outpatient treatment is sometimes preferred by addicts who do not feel able to take the necessary timeout from their daily lives, and obligations potentially including family and work, which inpatient treatment requires. An outpatient treatment programme can be provided involving the delivery of some appointments on-site, but requiring the addict to carry out other elements of the programme independently. Outpatient treatment risks being somewhat problematic as it does not take the addict away from the environment in which they have allowed their substance abuse to slide into addiction, which increases the likelihood of relapse.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Treatment
Whether you require short- or long-term treatment will depend on numerous factors unique to you; however, you should not feel capable of making that decision yourself, but should rather follow the instructions of a doctor who will determine how long your stay in rehab should be based on their observations of your condition and circumstances.
All-Age Rehabs vs. Specific Age Group Rehabs
How addiction is treated can be affected by the age of the addict – in particular, if the addict is especially young (in which case it may not be appropriate for them to receive residential treatment in the same facility as adult clients) or very old – and some addicts may benefit from being treated in a rehab dedicated to a particular age group. If an especially young or elderly person close to you is struggling with an amphetamine addiction, contact an addiction specialist about age-specific rehab and treatment.
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Gender-Specific vs. Mixed Gender Programmes
For a great many reasons, some addicts may wish to be treated in a single-sex environment – while others (especially those suffering from a co-occurring sex addiction, or for whom sex has become inextricably linked with substance abuse) may not want to be placed in such an environment but may benefit greatly from it (and doctors may recommend single-sex treatment in such cases). If you believe a gender-specific treatment facility may be of particular benefit to you personally, discuss your thoughts and concerns with an addiction specialist who may be able to offer advice regarding specific facilities.
Treatment Near Home vs. Different City or County
Where in the country an addict chooses to receive treatment may be impacted by a wide range of factors, but generally speaking two main drivers play a role in such a decision. Some people prefer to be treated as near as possible to their home environment, taking comfort from the fact that they are not too far away from family; at the other extreme some addicts prefer to take themselves as far away as possible from their familiar environment within which they have succumbed to addiction, finding the mental distance which results from geographical distance to be an extremely positive and reassuring influence upon their recovery.
Amphetamine Addiction Rehabs and Confidentiality
Confidentiality is a top priority for all addiction treatment organisations, including rehab centres: anyone attending rehab is likely to be extremely concerned about the possibility of their condition becoming public knowledge, and as a result ensuring confidentiality is both a legal obligation and a competitive advantage for private health centres. Extremely strict regulations govern client confidentiality; if you require further reassurance, ask about confidentiality policies at any rehab which you may be interested in attending.
Questions to Ask Treatment Centres
Some questions to ask staff during your research into different rehabs might include:
- What is the duration of treatment?
- Is the facility licensed and accredited?
- What success rates have been achieved by the facility and what evidence of this can you see?
- What are the best payment terms for your situation?
- What is the nature of the medical care, including emergency care, available on-site?
- What therapy models are available?
- Will you be able to be visited by loved ones?
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment & Health Insurance
Many addicts seek to pay for addiction treatment via private health insurance – but not all insurance policies cover all forms of treatment. If you are uncertain whether or not your policy includes coverage for residential rehab, contact your insurer and get them to put in writing exactly what is and is not covered, including how quickly payment will be made. You may wish to contact an addiction specialist prior to reaching out to your insurer to get advice on some of the tricks of the trade and how best to negotiate with your insurer.
Amphetamine Addiction Rehab and Treatment Statistics
- In 2016, 160 Britons died as a result of amphetamine abuse.
- Amphetamine was widely used by both sides during World War II for its invigorating and performance-enhancing properties.
- Just under 12 million European adults have consumed amphetamine at least once.
- In 2012, nearly six metric tons of illegal amphetamine were seized in the EU.
- The United Nations’ World Drug Report 2018 estimated that up to 55 million people worldwide used amphetamine in 2016 alone.
Get Help Today
If you are addicted to amphetamine, it is no exaggeration to say that your condition could cost you your life – and even if it does not prove fatal, it can be permanently destructive to your happiness and life prospects. The sooner you can reach out for help, the sooner you can start to receive that help and the sooner you can head back towards health and happiness.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
It is easy, if you are an amphetamine addict, to feel that you have lost control of your life to your substance abuse, and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for you. However, it’s vital that you do not despair: with professional help you can turn your life around and get back onto the path to success. Take back control of your life by contacting your GP and/or an addiction specialist to discuss your condition and to find out about the various treatment options which may be appropriate for you. Picking up the phone could be your first step on the road back to happiness and to the life that you want and deserve – so don’t delay: make that call today.
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