Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that features a chemical composition that is similar to amphetamine. It is abused through gulping of air, smoking, being dissolved in liquids, or even being injected into the blood stream. Its dependence has various ramifications such as insomnia, exhilaration, insomnia, agitation, dysphoria, and development of obsessive behavior among other psychological effects.
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The current research paper draws data from secondary resources to conceptualize the diagnosis and treatment of addictive behaviors by focusing on methamphetamine addiction as the specific addictive substance. It considers symptoms of the drug use and addiction and then medical interventions, counseling therapy, community-based treatment, and the use of prevention options.
The author concludes that the efficacy of any of these approaches depends on their evidence of effectiveness in terms of ensuring permanent abstinence.
The US classifies methamphetamine as a schedule II chemical substance. This classification makes its production and distribution illegal or even restricted in some countries. However, the US permits sales of the drug under the brand name ‘Deoxyn’ for medical purposes.
When used for recreation purposes, it raises people’s sexual desires whilst resulting in higher energy levels, which make people increase their sexual performance temporarily for a particular period (Solomon, Halkitis, Moeller & Pappas, 2012). In low doses, it increases alertness levels, heals fatigue, and raises people’s mood.
In large doses, it can cause rhabdomyolysis and cerebral hemorrhage while at the same time increasing the risk of psychosis. The drug is easily abused (Coffin, Santos & Das, 2012). This case constitutes a major challenge with reference to using it for recreation or even medical purposes, especially upon noting that it is highly addictive. This paper discusses methamphetamine addiction and its prevention.
It first discusses its potential health risks before highlighting its diagnosis. This section then leads to a presentation of its prevention and treatment options. Finally, the paper reflects on counseling lessons that have been leant about substance abuse and addiction.
Methamphetamine Addiction and Diagnosis
Lowering sluggishness and boredom, increasing relaxation, countering low self-esteem, and the need to increase energy comprise some of the reasons of consuming recreational drugs and substances. While methamphetamine may possess some of these benefits, its use may be highly addictive (Coffin, Santos & Das, 2012).
The drug is taken by means of puffing, infusing into the body, and breathing among others. Amplified concentration among its users, reduced weakness, and augmented loquaciousness constitute some of the warning signs of its abuse.
Other signs include amplified restlessness, movement, respiration, and excitement (Halkitis, Mukherjee & Palamar, 2010). Some of its users experience hyperthermia, irregular heartbeats, and dwindled appetite.
Signs of drug abuse are important since they give an indication of the likelihood of drug use addition. Halkitis, Mukherjee, and Palamar (2010) assert that physical appearance changes may give early indications of the likelihood of methamphetamine addiction. Such changes include skin picking.
In some situations, tooth decay and hair loss may be experienced (Venkatratnam & Len, 201, p.333). Hair loss occurs due to injection of dangerous chemicals that form part of methamphetamine composition. It may also occur due to poor nutrition, particularly because methamphetamine addicts have poor appetite.
Scholarly researchers on the addiction part fail to agree on the place where addiction resides between body and the mind. However, Boshears, Boeri, and Harbry (2011) assert that many researchers accept the notion that addiction is a function of psychological, social, and physiological aspects of an individual.
This claim implies that it can be discussed from various dimensions such as a disease, physical reliance of drugs, cognitive choices, malfunctioning of psychological characteristics of an individual, or even in the context of moral autonomy. In the discussion of the paper, addiction implies problematic utilization of methamphetamine despite the partial or full awareness of its negative implications on the health of its abusers.
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Boshears, Boeri, and Harbry (2011) identify methamphetamine addiction as a major problem in the US. In their research on the extents of the drug abuse, the researchers focused on Atlanta, Georgia. Their focus on this area was informed by Pilkington’s (2007) findings that the area experienced increased abuse of the drug over a decade, thus making its abuse the biggest challenge in the state.
Upon studying methamphetamine use initiation, the drug use behavior, progression, cessation, and relapse, they found that the addition behavior is social in nature (Boshears, Boeri & Harbry, 2011).
This observation implies that drug addiction can best be studied from a socialization perspective amongst its users so that the drug addiction prevention becomes best addressed through community-based programs as opposed to strategies that focus on particular individuals such as biblical counseling or medication.
Solomon, Halkitis, Moeller, and Pappas (2012) studied methamphetamine addiction among men who have sex with other men (MSM) in New York City. 95% of the entire studied black Americans reported to have used methamphetamine in 2011. 97 percent of these people had developed dependency (addiction) on the drug use (Solomon, Halkitis, Moeller & Pappas, 2012).
These findings suggest that methamphetamine addiction is a major problem among different people across diversity divide in the US. From Solomon, Halkitis, Moeller, and Pappas’ (2012) research findings, it is crucial for methamphetamine addiction programs to focus on all people amid their demographic characteristics.
Methamphetamine Addiction Prevention and Treatment
The need for Methamphetamine Prevention and Treatment
Methamphetamine is highly addictive drug and ranks in second place in terms of prevalence of use after marijuana in the US. (The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2012). Indeed, Coffin, Santos, and Das (2012) report that more than one million people in the US used the drug in 2009.
It is associated with low perception levels of risk of vulnerability, which may result in involvement of hazardous sexual behaviors, which lead to increased prevalence of HIV infection among its users as suggested by Solomon, Halkitis, Moeller, and Pappas (2012) and Halkitis, Mukherjee and Palamar (2010).
Although Coffin, Santos, and Das (2012) reduced dependency on methamphetamine addiction on administrating aripiprazole, there is no significant scholarly contention that methamphetamine can be treated medically.
Consequently, it is crucial to focus on its abuse prevention, especially amongst the high-risk groups of people or seek alternative treatment approaches, including therapeutic techniques. However, as claimed in the preceding sections, all groups of people across demographic divide are susceptible to methamphetamine addiction.
In this extent, this section discusses medical intervention, the biblical counseling approach, and community-based programs for prevention and treatment of methamphetamine addiction or dependence.
Methamphetamine has stimulation effects on the addicts, thus leading to increased physical activity, decreased sleep, and even increased sexual desire and activity. Its addiction prevention is important, especially upon considering that as opposed to marijuana or tobacco, no medications have been approved for use in treating dependence on stimulants by the FDA (foods and drug administration) (Coffin, Santos & Das, 2012).
However, when the researchers administered aripiprazole to methamphetamine addicts, they reduced concentration levels of the drug in their urine from 73 percent to about 45 percent (Coffin, Santos & Das et al., 2012).
Sexual behavior among patients who had been put on aripiprazole treatment also incredibly decreased. This finding suggests that the medicinal intervention can help foster positive recovery from methamphetamine dependence. However, more research is required on the subject.
Deploying the biblical approach in the prevention of methamphetamine addiction takes the form of counseling to ensure that people adopt behaviors, which ensure that they refrain from using the drug. However, such counseling is simply a general approach to drug and substance because the bible does not mention methamphetamine as a drug anywhere.
Counseling from a biblical perspective requires an understanding of people’s thinking processes in addition to how the processes relate to their behaviors.
By altering the thinking process, it becomes possible to alter people’s decisions to use methamphetamine whose repeated use leads to dependence (Halkitis, Mukherjee & Palamar, 2010). It also entails an in-depth examination of potential drug user association with risky behaviors and his or her understanding of the Christian way of life.
Much of scientific research on drug use, prevention, and treatment sees addiction as a physiological problem or disease. This observation contrasts the biblical approach, which sees it as a spiritual challenge. As such, biblical counselors examine the process of drug abuse and addiction recovery from a spiritual context (Cedarville University, 2014).
Healing or preventing addiction to any drug, including methamphetamine, implies that people need to understand the need and the obligation to put God first above everything else. This claim suggests that addiction is a challenge of worship in the sense that dependency on drugs by citing reasons such as seeking to forget about some strenuous experiences or pain amounts to depending on any other force other than God.
Prevention of use of methamphetamine from the biblical perspective calls for people not to seek aid to their problems from any other source apart from God (Cedarville University, 2014). This way, they cannot consider methamphetamine use a possible mechanism of dealing with their problems.
From the above argument and with reference to the biblical perspective, methamphetamine dependency is a worship disorder as opposed to a psychological disorder from a scientific perspective. Thus, suffering people need to interrogate themselves on whether they will worship their bodily desires (Methamphetamine use) or their God. This requirement helps them determine their masters (Cedarville University, 2014).
Those who choose God as their master can successfully go through methamphetamine cessation or even prevent its use while those choosing their desires as their masters will encounter relapses amid putting any effort to quit. Perhaps, biblical counseling applies more effectively in drug abuse and prevention upon the evaluation of the question of whether the spiritual problem is curable.
Addiction constitutes an induced behavior. Thus, it can be corrected by following proper guidelines, which can take the form of biblical counseling or psychological therapy. However, for these strategies to work, a personal decision to engage in cessation programs with full awareness of the requirements of the program’s success is incredibly important to prevent relapse.
Indeed, in any drug prevention or treatment approach, target patients must undergo treatment or prevention preparation phase. The objective of the phases involves inducing motivation for drug users to embrace cessation through acquiring confidence that they can quit successfully (Seong, Park, Cheong, Seo, & Kim, 2014).
Intervention phase, which deploys various evidence–based methodologies for achieving abstinence then follows. From a biblical perspective, the preparation phase entails bringing an individual up to speed with noncompliance with methamphetamine addiction with biblical teachings, especially on the capacity of the behavior to amount to worshiping one’s desires.
The intervention phase calls for methamphetamine addicts to make a decision to engage in cessation. Upon successfully inducing methamphetamine abstinence behavior, one needs to develop appropriate coping skills whilst maintaining the behavior.
The biblical approach to prevention of drugs and substance abuse attracts immense scholarly controversy on its efficacy. For instance, Seong et al. (2014) assert that such an approach is not evidence based. McKetin, Najman, and Baker (2012) add that drug and substance use prevention and treatment programs must be developed in accordance with the appropriate epidemiological, social, and environmental assessments.
Epidemiological assessment implies, “the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specific populations and the application of this study to control of health problems” (McKetin, Najman & Baker, 2012, p.2001). It takes analytical and descriptive forms. A community-based methamphetamine addiction prevention program can take a descriptive approach.
Descriptive epidemiology entails the assessment of the occurrence of health challenges in the context of time, place, and specific group of people. Such a program may be incredibly effective upon considering Boshears, Boeri, and Harbry’s (2011) claim that the problem of drug abuse is social in nature.
One of the effective ways of preventing methamphetamine addiction is through deterrence of its production, distribution, and its sale amongst high-risk people. People who are involved in the production and distribution of drugs live within communities.
Thus, the input of the society in the drug use prevention is incredibly important. Apart from carrying media campaigns to sensitize people on dangers of methamphetamine use, a community-oriented program for preventing its use calls for willingness and engagement of people in a society in a community policing.
Apart from community-oriented methamphetamine use prevention programs, community-based rehabilitation facilities for drug abusers may help in providing therapy to addicts. How effective are the programs? McKetin, Najman, and Baker (2012) evaluated the effectiveness of the programs on the treatment of methamphetamine addiction by deploying IPTW estimators.
The study sample comprised people who had joined the drug detoxification programs and community-based methamphetamine addiction rehabilitation program (McKetin, Najman and Baker, 2012, p.1998). Measures on drug concentration levels in the patients’ urine showed that people who take detoxification programs never reduced their drug intake, and hence dependency.
In every 100 people who were recruited for rehabilitation program, 33 of them abstained after a period of 3 months (McKetin, Najman & Baker, 2012). The research concluded that detoxification programs could not produce results in the prevention of methamphetamine use on their own (McKetin, Najman & Baker, 2012).
This observation evidences that community-based cessation programs can be effective since they offer evidence-based approaches in the prevention of methamphetamine addiction.
The expositions made in the paper reinforce the assertion that methamphetamine addiction is behavioral in nature. Consequently, counseling can enable its abusers quit with low degrees of relapse. Cedarville University (2014) confirms this assertion by claiming that counseling constitutes an important aspect for helping maintain abstinence in any treatment process of drug addiction.
As revealed in the paper, methamphetamine addiction has related negative consequences. Treating its associated disorders with success requires addressing the root cause of the problem, namely methamphetamine use.
Such an effort does not necessarily require medicinal intervention upon considering McKetin, Najman, and Baker’s (2012) study that found detoxification programs ineffective without rehabilitation (counseling therapy) in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction.
The implication of the research is that any form of counseling therapy, including the biblical counseling, behavioral, or even cognitive therapeutic interventions can effectively help in the prevention, treatment, and management of methamphetamine addiction.
However, more evidence-supporting efficacy of the techniques is required so that their use becomes evidence-based. However, among various therapeutic interventions, biblical counseling faces major drawbacks in its application in the prevention or treatment of methamphetamine addiction due to limited evidence on its efficacy.
Reflection on Biblical Implications
In my opinion, the efficacy of the effectiveness of biblical counseling therapy depends on factors that reside within an individual and the capacity to believe in a supreme deity who opposes any behavior that amounts to disruptions of normal body functioning processes.
For the therapy to work, people who abuse methamphetamine need to develop cognition and understanding that the main problem is not using the drug. Rather, its implications amount to shifting one’s obligation to worship the supreme deity and not addiction desires. In this extent, the therapy encounters a limitation that is associated with different religious beliefs.
I think biblical counseling fails to constitute a standard approach to treating or preventing methamphetamine addiction. It only applies to some segregated groups of people (Christians) in the society.
Indeed, even Christians who may not be convinced that drug addiction amounts to worship one’s desires at the expense of worshiping the true God may encounter challenges in maintaining methamphetamine abstinence or coping skills after a successful counseling therapy.
People who go through the therapy continue to live within a social environment in which they have been abusing methamphetamine. This approach is important since abstinence results from a personal choice not to use the drug rather than failing to use it due to its lack of supply. In fact, this strategy may lead to maintenance of abstinence.
Role of the Research in enhancing Addiction Counseling
Through the research, I now understand that addiction counseling involves a multifaceted approach to addiction prevention and treatment. Apart from the biblical approach, other alternatives such as medical interventions exist.
Irrespective of the counseling approach, whether biblical, behavioral, or cognitive, the main goal is to ensure maintenance of abstinence behavior before methamphetamine use initiation or even after administration of counseling therapy to its addicts. The research has provided an insight into any effective drug addiction intervention strategy including counseling therapy.
Methamphetamine addiction therapeutic interventions need to have preparation, intervention action, and maintenance stages.
Ensuring smooth progression of patients through these stages is incredible to avoid relapse. In this extent, the most effective way of ensuring abstinence entails administering counseling in a manner that ensures that methamphetamine addicts make cessation decision by themselves upon cognition of the dangers of the substance use.
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Cedarville University. (2014). Substance Abuse and Dependency. Retrieved from https://www.cedarville.edu/
Coffin, P., Santos, G., & Das, M. (2012). Aripiprazole for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Addiction, 10(8), 751-761.
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