Understanding this distinction is important because ice is the stronger and more addictive form of methamphetamine, and so has the potential to cause greater harm for people who use it.
There are currently no medications available that are approved for treating withdrawal or dependence on methamphetamines, and so people who are trying to stop are solely relying on psychotherapy to get through the difficulties associated with what is in fact a change to their brain.
However, what the above doesn’t mention, is that illicit drugs, specifically the Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) are like ‘nuclear devices’ to both brain and cell anatomy and rewiring/recalibrating the brain/body for long term best outcomes, is done better without using chemical substitute treatments.
Tsunami of Dopamine encodes false memories, not only into the limbic system, but also molecular machinery.
This makes in very difficult to form new nerve cells to create new memories beyond that ‘wow’ memory, to the point of arresting development of the whole person – If they keep using drugs, the individual gets stuck at the age of uptake – can’t mature – Can’t grow up!
The way to get unstuck and form new memory/growth capacity is to stop using all drugs – not substituting – and engage in new learned behaviours and relationships. This enables both brain nerve and molecular machinery to form new processes.
We understand from some of the latest research that the granule cells in the brain, over 60 Billion, can be encoded by reward responses, not just the anticipated rewards either. Unexpected rewards in recent experiments, saw increases in reward response, thus driving greater ‘cellular need’ for reward.
However, the capacity to encode those cells to ‘delay’ reward was only achieved through active learning processes. Again, even at a cellular level, we were designed to explore and find best outcome/reward, or we can ‘short circuit’ our human computer by stimulating it with non-instructing chemical ‘tutors’ that diminish our capacity to make wiser, long term decisions. 1
1 Cerebellar granule cells encode the expectation of reward http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7648/full/nature21726.html