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Meth Addiction Treatment

Meth addiction recovery requires a comprehensive treatment plan. This can include detoxification, counseling, and therapy. Above all, detox rids the body of meth. At the same time, clients start learning to function without the drug. But detox alone will not treat meth addiction. Meth addiction treatment helps clients heal in individual, group, and family therapy.

Counseling addresses the psychological damage meth addiction causes. Additionally, it educates clients on how to resist temptation and maintain long-term wellness. Because meth is one of the hardest drugs to overcome, professional treatment is essential to stopping meth use. Unfortunately, those who don’t seek treatment risk a life of severe addiction or even death.

Meth Addiction Treatment

1.6 million Americans used meth in the past year
964,000 Americans over 12 years old are struggling with meth addiction

How is it used?


Understanding Meth Addiction

Methamphetamines, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant. It’s often referred to as the most dangerous drug available. This is mostly because of its availability, ease of use, and the ability to make it from household products. Meth typically comes in two forms: crystal meth and powdered meth.

Crystal meth is a more addictive form of meth known as ice, crystal, and crystal meth. In contrast, powdered meth (known as speed or tina) is less potent. Both drugs can be consumed in various ways, including:

  • Heated and injected
  • Snorted
  • Smoked
  • Eaten
  • Dissolved in a drink

Furthermore, both forms of meth produce a false sense of wellbeing and happiness. It gives a person a rush of energy and confidence. Generally, the effects of meth last six to eight hours, but sometimes it can last up to 12 hours.

Effects of Meth on the Brain

Meth use causes the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. Subsequently, this leads to a long, pleasurable experience. Even though it starts as enjoyable, repeated use leads to the depletion of dopamine and the brain’s rewiring. As a result, it becomes impossible to feel pleasure without meth.

Statistics for Meth Addiction

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), almost 1.6 million Americans used meth in the past year. Likewise, 774,000 used meth in the last month. Besides that, the average age of users is 23.

An estimated 964,000 Americans over 12 years old are struggling with meth addiction. Compared to 684,000 the previous year. Overdose rates from meth, specifically, have increased. They are up 7.5 times from 2007 to 2017.

Causes and Risks of Meth Addiction

Unfortunately, the exact cause of meth addiction is not known. However, it’s believed that a few factors play a part in addiction.

  • Genetic: Individuals with parents or siblings struggling with addiction are likely to also struggle with addiction.
  • Environmental: Individuals who grow up with an addiction in the home may see drug use as a way to cope with stress. This environment results in unhealthy coping skills and addiction.
  • Psychological: Many people with mental issues such as depression or anxiety, turn to meth to cope with emotional problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Signs and symptoms of meth addiction may include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased wakefulness and obsessive activity
  • Psychosis/psychotic episodes
  • Euphoria
  • Increased sensitivity to noise
  • Nervous activity, like scratching or picking at the skin
  • Irritability, dizziness, or confusion
  • Depression
  • Tremors or convulsions
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of stroke
  • Mood swings, including aggression and violent behavior
  • Dry mouth
  • Constant itching
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Twitching

Withdrawal in Meth Addiction Treatment

Because meth addiction takes a toll on the body, withdrawal is an uncomfortable process. However, medical detox in meth addiction treatment can ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Although symptoms will vary, they may include:

  • Deep depression
  • Decrease in energy
  • Increase in sleeping
  • Teeth grinding
  • Night sweats
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Why Seek Meth Addiction Treatment?

Meth addiction is a serious issue that worsens without meth addiction treatment. Consequently, the prolonged use of meth affects a person’s ability to function in daily life. As a result, meth leaves a path of destruction, and individuals wondering if meth addiction recovery is possible. However, if individuals continue using meth, it will have serious lifelong consequences.

Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

The effects of meth use have long-term mental and physical effects. In the same way that each person’s addiction is unique, so are meth addiction effects.

Mood symptoms include:

  • Euphoria
  • An overall
  • Sense of wellbeing
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Mounting legal problems
  • Preoccupation with obtaining, using, and recovering from meth use
  • Social isolation
  • Hiding drug use from others
  • Dangerous, risky behaviors
  • Impulsiveness
  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Incarceration
  • Interpersonal relationship problems
  • Violent behaviors
  • Appetite depression
  • Binge/crash pattern of abuse
  • Aggression
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Tweaking – intently-focused attention

Physical symptoms include:

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Tolerance
  • Addiction
  • “Meth mouth”
  • Open sores
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Decreased blood flow through the body’s tissues
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Tachycardia
  • Liver damage
  • A rise in body temperature

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Nervousness
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • “Meth bugs” or the sensation of bugs crawling underneath the skin
  • Paranoia

Intervention in Meth Addiction Recovery

If a loved one suffers from an addiction to meth and is resisting treatment, an intervention may be the first step in treatment. Unfortunately, meth users can become violent or hostile. For this reason, some people may be scared to stage an intervention. Additionally, it can be hard to know how to stage one or what to say. Therefore, an intervention specialist can be beneficial.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Deciding to attend inpatient or outpatient meth addiction treatment depends on different factors. Besides the severity of meth addiction, factors such as home life and work play a role in which meth addiction treatment program can attend. In addition, clients with co-occurring mental disorders may require the intensity of inpatient meth addiction treatment.

Inpatient meth addiction treatment is a better option if the person has chronic, long-term meth use, and severe withdrawal symptoms. These factors can quickly lead to relapse and addiction patterns without the stability of inpatient meth addiction treatment. Inpatient treatment provides a safe environment free of triggers. Above all, inpatient meth addiction treatment allows clients to regain control over their life and maintain a life of wellness.

On the other hand, outpatient meth addiction treatment is a good option for individuals with a weaker addiction. Additionally, people with responsibilities they can’t step away from, find outpatient meth addiction treatment helpful. Outpatient programs are typically part-time. They allow clients to attend work, school, or care for their families while in treatment.

Detox in Meth Addiction Treatment

Detox is the first step in meth addiction recovery. A medical detox program helps to rid the body of methamphetamines safely. Although some centers offer inpatient and outpatient detox, around-the-clock medical supervision is the safest way to detox off meth.

Since withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and dangerous, medications are used in detox to ease the discomfort. For example, a client may become agitated without meth. But in medical detox, benzodiazepines may be prescribed to keep clients calm. However, once detox is complete, continuing treatment is necessary to maintain lasting recovery.

Counseling and Therapy

Once detox is complete, and withdrawal symptoms are mostly over, then structured therapy begins. Therapists help clients identify the underlying reasons leading to meth addiction. At the same time, therapists provide emotional support as clients work through those issues.

In therapy, clients learn to maintain their recovery when triggers and stressors arise. But, to maintain recovery, clients must understand the thoughts and behaviors that lead to addiction in the first place. To do so, therapists use a combination of therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy.

Meth addiction treatment plans include a variety of therapies and techniques. But, the most common therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s particularly useful in meth addiction treatment, as well as co-occurring depression and anxiety.

Additionally, narrative therapy focuses on the importance of a client’s personal life story. This helps clients understand how their life has shaped their meth addiction. But above all, it helps clients make positive and healthy choices to encourage lifelong wellness.

Holistic Therapy

Stress is a part of everyday life, and many people often turn to drugs like meth to cope. Furthermore, people in recovery who get overly stressed may fall back into old patterns. Holistic therapy in meth addiction treatment and ongoing recovery can ease the overwhelming stress and encourage lasting recovery.

Yoga helps in meth addiction recovery by focusing on breathing, flow, restoration, and meditation. Breathing exercises not only promote healing; it results in clients feeling more centered and in control. Also, yoga helps calm the mind and body. While yoga poses restore the connection between the body and mind, it gives a sense of purpose. This connection and purpose motivate clients to practice self-care, which promotes lifelong wellness and recovery.

Additional holistic therapies in meth addiction treatment include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Psychodrama
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Physical exercise
  • Art
  • Gardening

Holistic therapy heals the mind, body, and soul in meth addiction treatment. Because each client’s journey is unique, they may have spiritual awakening while riding a horse or sitting around a drum circle. True recovery is waiting. And with holistic and traditional therapies, recovery is achievable.

Aftercare and Support Groups

To maintain lifelong meth addiction recovery, aftercare and support groups are essential. Support groups are one of the best ways to maintain recovery. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Crystal Meth Anonymous are two common support groups. They provide people in recovery a sense of fellowship through support from like-minded individuals.

Both of these groups are 12-step programs. 12-step programs mean working through meth addiction by taking inventory of daily life, making restitution to those you hurt, and supporting others in meth addiction recovery. Above all, 12-step programs encourage working with a sponsor to prevent relapse and provide support.

Meth Addiction Treatment for Women

Women struggling with meth addiction face several barriers when seeking treatment, such as childcare responsibilities and increased stigma. Even though women are known to use meth less than men, they often enter treatment with a more severe addiction to meth. For this reason, they often need a more extended, more intense meth addiction treatment plan.

Meth use in women is often a reaction to psychosocial issues and traumatic events. At New Directions for Women, we believe that addiction is a comfort-seeking response to stress and adverse life events. For this reason, specialized treatment programs for women are so important in meth addiction recovery.

Get Help Today at New Directions for Women!

Without treatment, meth addiction can destroy lives piece by piece.  But, meth addiction treatment at New Directions for Women can help break the cycle. If you or a loved one suffers from the powerful draw of meth addiction, contact us today and find out you can have lifelong recovery and wellness.





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Clinically Reviewed By:

Picture of Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our clients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

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