Meth Addiction Treatment & Rehab
Methamphetamine (meth/crystal meth) is a very powerful and addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system (CNS).1 It increases levels of dopamine, a chemical that produces feelings of euphoria as well as playing a role in reward-seeking and addictive behaviors.1
People misuse meth by smoking, snorting, injecting, or orally ingesting it.1 Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 3.3% (or 9.2 million people) misused CNS stimulants (including meth) in the past year.2
Misusing meth can have devastating and dangerous consequences. Long-term effects of meth can include fatal overdose and serious health problems, including addiction, psychotic symptoms, mood disorders and an increased risk of stroke.1
If you or a loved one are struggling with meth, you should know that meth addiction treatment is available to help you stop the cycle of meth misuse and take back control of your life.
Level of Meth Addiction Treatment Available
Meth addiction treatment should be individualized based on your unique needs; consider any medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems you may be dealing with; and be appropriate for your age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.3
Treatment for meth addiction is available on different levels of care that can vary depending on where a person is in their recovery journey. Finding the right level of care is a collaborative effort between you, your doctors, and professionals at a meth rehab.4
To help determine the appropriate level for your needs, you will first undergo a comprehensive assessment and evaluation process, which is usually performed by an addiction counselor or other medical professionals, to examine your specific concerns and needs, including your medical and psychiatric history, your living situation, and your history of substance use.4,5
A team of addiction experts, which can include social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists, will use information from your evaluation to help determine the right level of care.4 People who enter longer-term rehab often start with detox to keep them safe and comfortable during withdrawal and prepare them for ongoing methamphetamine addiction treatment.4
Detox for Meth
For many people, going to a medical detox center is often the first step in the meth addiction treatment process. Common meth withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for meth.1 Although meth withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and unpleasant, they are not typically life-threatening.6 However, because of the discomfort associated with withdrawal and the potential for severe depression and suicidal ideation, professional detox is often advisable to keep people as safe and comfortable as possible.6
There are no FDA approved medications specifically for methamphetamine withdrawal, and meth withdrawal is not typically associated with severe physical symptoms, so adjunctive medications aren’t always necessary.6 However, people may receive pharmacological treatment for additional symptoms, such as depression or insomnia, and potential complications, such as seizures.6
People who misuse meth may also misuse other substances, such as cocaine, alcohol, or marijuana. 7 As polysubstance use can complicate withdrawal, detox can therefore also involve withdrawal treatment for other substances you may use.6
Inpatient Rehab for Methamphetamine
Inpatient rehab for crystal meth means that you’ll live onsite for the duration of treatment. It can be a beneficial way to focus on your recovery because you’ll be removed from your home environment and underlying triggers that lead you to use meth. You will receive round-the-clock care, monitoring, and support.4
People who may benefit from inpatient/residential rehab for meth addiction can include those with severe meth addictions, those with severe co-occurring disorders, those without stable homes, and those without supportive family or friends.4,5
There are no FDA-approved medications to treat stimulant use disorders, so behavioral therapy serves as the cornerstone of recovery.1 Methamphetamine inpatient rehab programming can include various behavioral therapies, counseling, education, relapse prevention skills training, family education, and mutual support groups.1
There are different lengths of meth treatment programs available to suit different recovery needs. People can also opt for specialty meth rehab centers, such as dual diagnosis treatment programs for methamphetamine addiction, luxury meth rehabs, or meth addiction rehabs for couples or Veterans.
Outpatient Rehab for Meth
Outpatient meth addiction treatment means that you’ll live at home and travel to a meth rehab on a regular schedule. It can vary in duration and levels of intensity depending on your unique needs. Outpatient treatment for crystal meth can be beneficial for people who want to continue to work, go to school, or attend other daily activities, because treatment often takes place in the evening or on weekends.5
People who are suited for outpatient rehab programs can include those with less severe addictions; those with manageable co-occurring disorders; and those who have stable homes, reliable transportation, and supportive family and friends.5 For some people and depending on the program’s level of intensity, outpatient meth rehab can be starting point of treatment, while for others it can be used as a step-down after completing an inpatient or more intense outpatient program.8
As with inpatient treatment, outpatient meth rehab can involve different types of programming, such as behavioral therapies, support groups, and counseling.1,8
Aftercare for Meth Rehab
Recovery is a lifelong journey that doesn’t end once you’ve completed a meth abuse treatment program. It requires dedication and work to maintain your commitment to sobriety. This is why many people participate in some form of aftercare, also known as continuing care.9
Relapse is possible, and addiction is a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses.3 Aftercare can help people strengthen the relapse prevention strategies they learned in rehab and provide support that may help prevent relapse; it can also respond to a return to substance use, should it occur.6,9
Aftercare can involve different supports, such as:9
- Group therapy sessions.
- Individual therapy/counseling.
- Family therapy.
- Mutual support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
- Alumni programs offered by your rehab.
- Sober living.
Treatment Programs & Therapies for Meth Addiction
Meth addiction treatment can involve different behavioral therapies and types of programming, depending on the facility. As mentioned previously, treatment should be individualized based on your needs.3 There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, and some therapies/programs may work better for some people than for others.3
Therapies for Meth Abuse
Behavioral therapies for meth misuse and addiction may include:1,3,10
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people develop healthier coping skills and helps them find ways to avoid triggers to use meth.
- Contingency management (CM), which provides tangible rewards for positive outcomes, such as negative drug screens.
- The Matrix Mode, which involves a 16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment program combining behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for nondrug-related activities.
- Community reinforcement approach (CRA), which is a personalized approach that helps people make lifestyle changes that are supportive of successful recovery.
- Holistic therapies and nonpharmacological treatments, such as neurofeedback, which help people learn to regulate certain brain functions.
- Group therapies and participation in mutual support groups, which encourage others in recovery.
Medications are not always used in meth treatment or detox but, as mentioned previously, people may sometimes receive adjunctive medications to treat depression or complications such as seizures.6 Medications that are used for stimulant use disorders are provided off-label (meaning they are not FDA-approved for that purpose).10
Finding the Right Meth Rehab Center
If you suspect that you or a loved one might have a problem, it’s a good idea to seek help sooner rather than later.
If you’re interested in helping a loved one, you might start by encouraging them to talk to their doctor about getting an evaluation and asking for referrals. When communicating your concerns, try to remain calm and patient, and focus on creating a nonjudgmental environment by expressing your love and support.11 You can also research treatment centers and discuss your findings with your loved one.
If you want to find the right meth treatment center for your (or your loved one’s) needs, you should know that every treatment center is different. Different meth rehabs can have different approaches, but quality rehabs should be accredited and provide evidence-based treatments.4
When researching meth treatment centers, you may wish to consider:
- Medical care, if needed.
- Specialty programs.
- Levels of care.
Meth Addiction Treatment FAQs
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