What treatment is available?

It is important to know that many of the general approaches undertaken with people who use other drugs are also relevant and effective for users of methamphetamines. These approaches include, short stay detox programs, individual and group counselling, long-term rehabilitation programs, self-help groups, education programs and combinations of these depending on the needs of the individual. 

As a general rule, drug and alcohol treatment services assess medical and psychological state to determine if you are experiencing any adverse affects of meth use and withdrawal. Those issues are addressed to stabilise symptoms with a view to providing further therapeutic intervention.

Detox Services

If you're using regularly and experiencing adverse withdrawal symptoms when not using meth, a medically based inpatient detox might be required.  Usually lasting 7-10 days, medical inpatient detox services will treat adverse withdrawal symptoms in a controlled environment to ensure your symptoms are contained and well managed.  The acute phase of withdrawal peaks at day two or three and generally begins to ease after a week to 10 days. It can be helpful during this period to be in an inpatient service where there is no access to methamphetamines during a period where temptation is high due to withdrawal.

Detox services are offered by government funded drug treatment services or private health services.  To find a suitable service, either start a counselling session with us - Get Started or contact an Alcohol & Drug Information Service in your State. 

Counselling

There are many different counselling techniques and approaches used by counsellors to assist individuals resolve problems.   Some approaches are proven to be more effective in treating methamphetamine dependence, with formal or structured counselling usually undertaken after withdrawal symptoms subside. 

Cognitive behavioural approaches

As dependence on methamphetamines occurs with regular use, changes to thinking, decision making and behaviour occurs (often in small increments) that needs to be addressed to break the cycle of drug dependent behaviour.

  • Cognitive behavioural approaches are the most extensively evaluated of the counselling styles and are effective in helping people address problems with methamphetamine use.
  • Cognitive behavioural approaches are therapies that aim to identify and address common errors in thinking and subsequent behaviours that lead to, and maintain, problematic drug use. These approaches include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), relapse prevention (RP), and motivational interviewing (MI).
  • CBT is also very effective for addressing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Other counselling approaches

  • Narrative therapy, which emphasises the importance of personal life stories and helps people determine how their stories shape their thoughts and behaviours.
  • Solution-focused therapy, which applies a person's strengths to develop solutions to the problem

Counselling is offered by alcohol and drug treatment services, mental health services, psychologists/counsellors in private practice, and some general practitioners. Most counselling services offered by government funded drug treatment agencies are free. Private drug treatment services can be covered by health insurance and it's worth checking with private providers to confirm the health insurance cover needed. Costs for private psychologists can be partially covered by Medicare if you are referred by a GP.  Again, it's worth checking with the private psychologist you wish to see.

To find a suitable service, either start a counselling session with us - Get Started, or, contact an Alcohol & Drug Information Service in your State. To see a private psychologist, ask your local GP for a referral, or, try the Australian Psychological Society.

Self-help and support groups

Self-help groups can be very helpful, providing support and fellowship with others who are experiencing similar drug and alcohol problems. Some people find it beneficial sharing their story with people who have a similar lived experience and common understanding of the problems associated with meth use. Attending self-help groups regularly can also assist to maintain focus and provide support in-between counselling appointments.

Self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) also recommend following a 12-step program designed to assist individuals address the impact of drug use on their lives.  NA believes that following the 12-step program, combined with fellowship and a focus on abstinence can lead individuals to recovery.

More information about Narcotics Anonymous and their meetings' list.

Residential Rehabilitation Treatment

Residential Rehabilitation Treatment (Rehab) usually involves living in a therapeutic community for several months. Studies have shown that it's effective for some people, particularly those who need a complete break from their home environment, which might have become difficult to manage without using meth.  Days are usually structured around group therapy, individual counselling and learning how to manage life without drugs.

The philosophy and approach of rehab programs can vary, so it's worth contacting each service to determine which program might suit you best. Above all, the effectiveness of a rehab stay mainly depends on how much work you put in to addressing your meth use, and, your readiness to learn new skills to manage your life without meth.

There are government funded rehab services that charge a nominal fee to stay based on income, and private rehabs with varied costs (some covered by private health insurance). To find a suitable service, either start a counselling session with us - Get Started, or, contact an Alcohol & Drug Information Service in your State.