How to treat meth addiction

Is it true that meth addiction is untreatable? No way. In fact, meth addiction treatment follows some pretty basic stages. More here on acute detox, physical stabilzation, and long term treatments for meth addiction.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.
Reviewed by: Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Meth addiction is the expected outcome of regular use because of how it works in the brain. In this article we cover more about where you can you find help with meth addiction and which are the principle points to be aware of. Then, we review the basics of a good meth addiction treatment program to help you get the best care available. At the end, we invite your questions about meth addiction or how to ease withdrawal symptoms from meth and try to answer personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.


How Addictive Is Meth?

Methamphetamine is extremely addictive.

Meth causes significant changes in the user’s brain. It depletes levels of dopamine – a naturally occurring chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that causes feelings of pleasure. So, with continued use the brain looses its ability to experience pleasurable feelings with other things in life and using meth becomes the only way to feel good. The pattern of chronic need for meth use looks something like this:

  • “Crash” as effects wears off.
  • Because the high from meth starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern. The period of “crash” is followed by a multitude of negative and uncomfortable withdrawal effects which can be resolved by taking more meth…a vicious pattern of use that can quickly result in addiction.
  • Feel good!
  • Use meth again to continue to feel good!
  • Use methamphetamine.

Does Meth Dependence = Addiction?


There is a significant difference between addiction and physical dependence.

Dependence On Meth occurs when the brain adapts to the regular presence of the drug in your system. The body’s reaction to this adaptation is the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms once the doses are significantly reduced or stopped completely.

Some examples of meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Excessive sleeping.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Losing teeth/meth mouth.
  • Irritability.
  • Restlessness.
  • Suicidal ideation.
  • Vivid or lucid dreams.

Addiction, on the other hand, is primarily a mental condition. Once you stop taking meth, you are likely to experience psychological symptoms, which may last for days with occasional use and weeks or months with chronic use.

The main characteristics of meth addiction are:

  • Compulsion to use.
  • Continued meth use, despite negative consequences.
  • Drug cravings.
  • Loss of control over amount and frequency of drug use.

NOTE HERE: Both these states, meth dependence and addiction are medical conditions that respond well to medical treatment. Dependence can be managed through supervised detox, while addiction requires a more structured therapy protocol that will address all aspects of the disorder…mental, physical, social, and emotional.

Is Meth Addiction Treatable?

YES, Absolutely.

But, where does this notion of meth users being helpless come from?
Methamphetamine addiction is one of the most difficult forms of addiction to treat. A critical consideration in meth treatment for addiction is something known as “the wall”. Around 45 to 120 days into treatment, recovering addicts experience physiological changes that often lead to relapse. This period of increased depression and need for the drug is the single significant factor today to the false perception that meth addiction is “untreatable”.

But, this is far from the truth!

Effective Therapies That Help You

Traditional treatment models have not been proven effective, so meth-specific treatment programs were developed to successfully help individuals like you. Therapies in current use for meth addiction include:

1. Behavioral Therapies

The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction at this point are behavioral therapies, including:

The Matrix Model (is stimulant use syndrome specific) is a 16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling. In addition, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities, has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse. The goal of behavioral therapies is to help recovering individuals learn to manage their lives more successfully, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and set positive personal goals.

2. Medications

Although medications have been proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of methamphetamine addiction. Bupropion, aripiprazole, and baclofen are often mentioned in medical trials, but the success rate is low. Modafinil is somewhat more successful, but this medication is a Class IV scheduled drug.

3. Psychotherapy

Meth addiction treatment also involves both individual and small group approaches to psychotherapy. Addicts talk about their experiences (like in 12 step support groups) and are walked through a variety of exercises, activities, and interactions designed to further their recovery by increasing self-awareness.

4. Concurrent Health Treatment

Treatments for meth addiction also address other medical or mental health issues that you may be facing, including education on the risks of HIV and AIDS associated with meth use, dual diagnosis treatment for co-occuring disorders, and polydrug use treatment.

Treatment For Meth Addiction

Let’s be honest: recovering from meth addiction is challenging. However, it is not impossible. There are several options and sources of help that can assist you on your path to recovery. Treatment settings or professionals that you can consult for more information about treatment for meth addiction include:

A Meth Abuse Helpline: Searching for information on meth addiction and rehab treatment programs may be outside your comfort zone… And that’s OK. Nowadays, if you feel embarrassed to go to your doctor’s or a therapist’s office to discuss addiction treatment options, there is another way you can acquire relevant and accurate information… Toll-FREE and Confidentially. When you call us you will get in touch with trained helpline professionals. They understand what you are going through, will listen to you, answer questions, and walk you through the steps of finding a treatment center and overcoming your addiction. It’s as easy as picking up the phone.

Addiction Treatment Centers: A meth treatment center is a facility that specializes in treating drug addictions. Treatment centers work with both the affected individual and their family. They offer 24 hour help, training in setting boundaries, compulsory activities, group therapies, and can include many other treatment amenities. All you need to do is find a treatment center that is right for your needs and schedule an appointment for initial assessment and then get started.

Detox Clinics: A meth detox clinic is an in-patient program that can carefully monitor your progress and medically attend to all your needs during the difficult process of acute withdrawal from methamphetamine. Staff are trained and ready to offer medications, support, and motivation, in addition to providing a safe and substance-free environment.

Licensed clinical Social Workers (LCSW): Licensed clinical social workers are people who are devoting their time to understanding the context of being a meth addict through informal conversations. Social workers can suggest positive actions for you to take, and can connect you with appropriate state sponsored rehab programs.

Psychologists Or Psychiatrists: Clinical psychologists that specializing in meth addiction treatment as well as psychiatrists are experienced in facilitating therapies in order to determine and improve the psychological and emotional state of a meth user.

Support Groups: Meth addiction support groups are scheduled meetings of recovering meth addicts, who meet in groups and share personal experiences. These groups provide mutual aid, support, self-esteem enhancement, and help you build self-confidence by raising self-awareness and connecting with others.

Your Doctor: Your primary physician can be your first point of contact on the road to meth addiction recovery. A doctor can first recognize addiction symptoms, gather information about your physical and mental state, as well as patterns of meth use, and provide further recommendations for treatment. In fact, your own doctor may be the best positioned person to suggest local treatment options for you.

A Trusted Leader: A trusted religious or spiritual leader can provide you with unconditional support that comes from having deep faith and strong beliefs. Sometimes, getting rid of the weight from your chest through by asking for help can be the first, but most important step, in starting a course of meth addiction treatment.

Is There One BEST Treatment For Meth Addiction?

You can safely break free from a meth use problem by finding out what works best for you and what you need and want from treatment. In short: The best treatment is tailor made.

Q: Why?

A: Because one size does not fit all.

The best type of addiction treatment is one that is customized to you. Your treatment needs, goals, as well as the unique underlying root causes of your meth problem are not the same as the next person’s. In addition, the goal of a good treatment program is to educate, support, and encourage you in all aspects of your health spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Have Anything To Ask?

Do you know someone who is addicted to meth? Do you want to help that person overcome the situation? If you want to know more about how to treat meth addiction, you are welcome to post your questions, or share your thoughts about meth addiction in the comments section below. We will try to provide a prompt and personal response to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Treatment Approaches To Drug Addiction
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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