Devastating Impact of Stimulant Addiction

Stimulant addiction can have a devastating impact on people. It not only destroys the life of the individual but also impacts their family and society as a whole. There are a number of treatment options available for this type of addiction but recidivism can be high. One of the most effective outpatient options currently available for the treatment of this type of abuse is the matrix model for stimulant addiction.

Stimulant Defined

Central nervous system stimulants have the effect of speeding up physical and mental processes in the body. This type of drug can be used in the treatment of certain medical conditions such as chronic lethargy, attention deficit disorder, and narcolepsy. It is also abused recreationally by people who enjoy the effects of this type of medication. The most common types of this drug available include:

* Methamphetamine (aka desoxyn, crystal meth or ice).
* Amphetamine
* Cocaine (Benzoylmethylecgonine)
* Ephedrin
* Ecstasy (aka MDMA or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
* Yaba (a type of methamphetamine popular in Thailand)
* Shabu
* Ritalin
* Pemoline (Cylert)
* Caffeine
* Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)

Reasons Why People Abuse Stimulants

As well as the medicinal uses of stimulants this drug is also appealing to substance abusers. The reasons for recreational consumption include:

* The individual can feel euphoric.
* It dramatically increases energy levels.
* There is less need for sleep. This means that people can stay up all night and not feel tired.
* It reduces appetite and some people abuse this drug because it helps them bring their weight down.
* The individual will feel that their concentration levels and focus has increased.
* These drugs can cause the individual to feel more confident and outgoing.
* Alcoholics might use speed because it allows them to drink more and keep drinking over a longer period.
* People enjoy the sensation of being highly alert.
* It reduces inhibitions.

Dangers of Stimulant Abuse

Stimulant abuse can be highly dangerous for a number of reasons including:

* People who abuse these drugs may develop severe paranoia and psychosis.
* When people are using these drugs they will miss out on a balanced diet due to lack of appetite. This means that they will be at high risk of developing nutritional deficiencies which could leave a lasting impact on their health.
* Use of this type of drug can interfere with the person’s ability to fulfill their family, work, and societal obligations.
* Stimulants can cause a good deal of damage to the internal body organs including the respiratory system and heart.
* Over time the individual develops a tolerance to stimulants. This means that they need to keep on using more to get the same effects.
* When the addicted person tries to reduce their intake of this drug they will develop withdrawal symptoms.
* The comedown from stimulants can be unpleasant. The individual may try to postpone these unpleasant symptoms by taking more of the drug – they then get caught up in a vicious cycle.
* Stimulant abuse can lead to impotence.
* It can lead to symptoms of depression and can lead to thoughts of suicide.
* When people are under the influence of these substances they have a reduced ability to make good decisions. This may mean that they do things that they later deeply regret.
* Stimulant abusers will often suffer from chronic insomnia. When they are not using the drug they will fired fatigued and struggle to function properly.
* In order to support their habit the individual may feel they need to resort to criminality – this can be white collar or blue collar crime.
* Some people can become extremely violent while on these drugs. This may lead to an increased incidence of domestic violence.

Symptoms of Stimulant Addiction

The symptoms of stimulant addiction can include:

* A lack of interest in personal grooming and hygiene.
* The person often appears restless and agitated for no apparent reason.
* Evidence of paranoia.
* Talking at length about things that do not really make much sense.
* Financial problems.
* Lack of interest in food.
* Loss of interest in sex.
* Inability to sleep at night.
* Mood swings.
* The individual is no longer interested in activities that they once enjoyed.
* Behavior that appears irrational.
* They sometimes appear to be hallucinating.
* Grinding of teeth.
* Sudden weight loss.
* Lying or other dishonest behavior.
* Has periods where they appear excessively hyper – manic behavior.
* Acting secretively.
* Unexplained absences from work or college.
* The sometimes find it difficult to stand still.

Matrix Model for Stimulant Addiction

The Matrix model for stimulant addiction was created during the 1980s in response to an increased need for outpatient solutions to stimulant abuse. The goal of this approach is to:

* The main goal is to help the individual stop using stimulants.
* Encourage them to see treatment through from start to finish.
* Understand relapse dangers and how to avoid these.
* The individual will be supported and given guidance by therapists. The therapist acts in the role of coach and teacher.
* Family members of the addict will be supported and provided with information.
* The individual will be introduced to self help programs and encouraged to make the most of these.
* They will regularly be urine tested to ensure compliance with the program.

The relationship between the therapist and the stimulant abuser is important within the matrix model. This professional works to build the client’s self esteem, self worth, and dignity. The individual is made to feel that they are working with the therapist and they are empowered to take responsibility for their own future. The matrix model usually involves:

* One to one therapy
* Group therapy
* Family therapy
* Drug education
* Self help group participation
* Skills groups
* Relapse prevention groups
* Regular urine testing
* Relapse analysis
* Early recovery skills group

Effectiveness of the Matrix Model for Stimulant Addiction

The matrix model for stimulant addiction is the most effective outpatient solution for this type of addiction. Follow up studies on these programs have demonstrated a significant reduction in stimulant abuse. Research by UCLA found that longer Matrix treatment episodes demonstrated better abstinence outcomes. It would appear that matrix model may be a good choice in those situations where rehab is not a feasible option.