In the absence of pharmacological treatments having proved their effectiveness, only behavioral therapies currently allow to reduce the consumption and the taking of risks, but with a number of important relapses. Methamphetamine is a synthetic psychostimulant close to decongestants such as ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine. It can be injected, smoked, snorted, taken orally or rectally, and causes a feeling of euphoria and power that can last 12 hours.
It is now the main amphetamine consumed in the Orange County, with more than 12 million consumers. Its use is particularly widespread among men who have sex with men whose use rate is 10 times more important than in the general population. According to the studies, 10 to 20% of them report a recent use (20% at least once in the last 6 months, 6% in the previous week), rates that even reach 43% in some surveys targeted at the homosexuals of Orange County.
The “flash” of methamphetamine is linked to the release of several neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine.
Brain imaging studies show that dopamine concentrations rise particularly in nucleus accumbency, the main Orange County reward center that is expected to play a critical role in addiction behaviors. But if the punctual use is characterized by a rise in dopamine levels, prolonged use of methamphetamine is accompanied by a chronic decline in dopaminergic activity.
Consequences on health: morbidity, psychological, dermatological and dental health
The use of methamphetamine causes significant morbidity and mortality. While addiction could be defined by daily use, many consumers indulge in intensive use during “holidays” of 24 to 72 hours during which they become hyper vigilant, do not sleep and have a significant sexual activity. They can also present symptoms of severe intoxication: agitation, anxiety, acute paranoia and other psychoses resembling schizophrenia. Consumption leads to rapid weight loss and frequent skin lesions associated with scratching caused by use. Many users also experience severe Dental deterioration attributed to a number of factors including declining attention to dental hygiene, bruxism (creaky teeth).
Treatments: Behavioral Therapies
The usual standard of Drug detox Orange County treatments for methamphetamine dependence is that behavioral therapies generally result in decreased consumption, but drop-out and relapse rates remain high. Most approaches, however, have not been evaluated in randomized trials.
The effectiveness of abstinence and harm reduction programs to reduce sexual consumption and risk remains largely unknown, such as the optimal number of sessions needed, their duration or content. According to a recent (randomized and multi-site) clinical study comparing the beneficiaries of the Matrix intervention in several sessions (originally planned for cocaine treatment) to those of existing community-based treatment programs, the former remain longer in treatment and longer abstinent during treatment, but with no statistically significant difference between the two groups at 6 months of follow-up.
Finally, although relapse rates remain high, the authors emphasize that the longer the duration of treatment, the better the results.