Meth Addiction Treatment

Meth addiction impacts millions in the United States. However, treatment is available for those in need.

What is Methamphetamine (Meth)?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a controlled substance with high abuse and addiction rates. It’s a psychostimulant that impacts the central nervous system, including the brain, and can cause behavioral, emotional, and physical changes when abused.

In 2020, over 20,000 meth overdoses were recorded in the United States, the highest number since 1999.1

Meth Addiction Treatment

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Street Names

As a popular illicit substance, methamphetamine is often referred to using a variety of street names. Recognizing these names can help identify whether or not meth is being abused. Some of the most common meth street names are
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Speed

How Is Meth Used?

Meth can be used as a short-term prescription drug to help with disorders involving brain chemical imbalances, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. It can also be used for weight loss in some instances. When a doctor prescribes meth, it’s known as methamphetamine hydrochloride (Desoxyn).2
However, meth is also abused illegally to elicit positive feelings such as euphoria. There are multiple methods of using meth, including snorting, injecting, and smoking.

Causes of Meth Addiction

Researchers have been unable to identify a singular cause for meth addiction, though there are several hypotheses on what may be considered a risk factor. These factors are both internal and external and can include:

  • Environmental influences
  • Genetics
  • Accessibility
  • Family history

Signs and Symptoms of a Meth Addiction

When meth is abused, there is a high potential for a substance use disorder or meth addiction to develop. In fact, a 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 1.5 million people suffered from a meth use disorder in 2020.3

Meth addiction can result in various signs and symptoms, including behavioral, physical, and psychological symptoms.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs are those that others can witness. Common signs are:
  • Decreased hygiene
  • Isolation
  • Personality changes
  • Attempts to maintain access to sources of the substance.

Physical Symptoms

Whether or not meth abuse is chronic, it can impact the body through physical symptoms. As a stimulant, meth can dictate how the body responds to certain brain chemicals, which creates a variety of symptoms throughout the body. These physical meth symptoms can include:
  • Weight loss
  • Meth mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Dehydration

Psychological Symptoms

As a stimulant that impacts the central nervous system and brain, meth can also produce psychological symptoms. Many of these are negative symptoms that grow in severity with more frequent abuse.
  • Decreased memory
  • Depression
  • Decreased decision making
  • Impulsivity
  • Feelings of euphoria

Meth Addiction Treatment Options

Meth addiction can decrease the joy in day-to-day life while also increasing certain health risks, including meth overdose. However, several meth addiction treatments are available to help aid in recovery from withdrawal to aftercare.

Interventions

Interventions are initiated by concerned loved ones and may help individuals acknowledge their addiction. This can be the first step in recovery and may lead to other treatment options.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient

There are two major forms of rehabilitation care for meth use disorders. Inpatient care provides around-the-clock support and a safe environment, while outpatient care allows individuals to maintain their regular schedule for better accessibility to treatment.

Detox

Detox is a part of every recovery from substance addiction. It allows the body to complete its natural metabolism and remove the substance from the body. Detoxification often leads to withdrawal, which may require different treatments for increased support and success in recovery.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that helps rewire brain reward pathways to better understand dangerous patterns and behaviors associated with addiction and other disorders.

Counseling

The two forms of counseling are individual counseling, which focuses on the patient, and family counseling, which may help acknowledge the roots of addiction and create a support system.
Counseling differs from therapy because it’s goal-focused and designed to be completed, while therapy is an ongoing treatment.

The Matrix Model

The Matrix Model is a treatment plan designed specifically for those suffering from a stimulant abuse disorder.4 It’s comprised mainly of education, the disorder itself, and resources available for treatment and continued recovery.

Aftercare and Support Groups

Recovery is an ongoing process. After detox and withdrawal, it’s essential to complete aftercare that will help prevent relapse. Aftercare can look different, but it often includes creating a relapse prevention plan and developing a strong support system through peer groups.

Medication

Medication can be beneficial in multiple ways when addressing meth addiction treatments. While specific prescriptions may be utilized to treat withdrawal, which we’ll discuss in greater detail below, medication can block the effects of meth, reducing the impact of symptoms such as euphoria to decrease psychological cravings when attempting detox.

Some of the more common medications used in meth addiction treatment include:
  • Anti-methamphetamine monoclonal antibodies
  • Ibudilast
  • Naltrexone

Meth Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal begins as the body metabolizes any remaining meth in the body. This is one of the downward slopes of the “high” that may occur with abuse, and it’s the result of the body returning to its natural chemistry.

Due to the symptoms of meth withdrawal, it can be dangerous if completed alone.

Meth Withdrawal

Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal

The symptoms of meth withdrawal can depend on many factors, such as duration of abuse and frequency. However, some of the most common symptoms are:
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Agitation
  • Loss of motivation
  • Tremors
Meth withdrawal may lead to a binge relapse, which can be fatal. As a result, it’s best undergone with the guidance of a medical professional and support system.

Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for meth withdrawal can vary. However, on average, it can last up to five weeks, though most physical symptoms taper out faster than psychological. Fatigue can be expected to decrease by the second week, while anxiety may persist for up to five weeks.

Medication-Assisted Withdrawal

As mentioned above, medication is a common form of treatment for meth addiction. However, it can also be beneficial in undergoing withdrawal due to its ability to alleviate discomfort.

How Concise Recovery Can Help You

It’s never too late to begin meth addiction treatment and reduce or even reverse the side effects. Here at Concise Recovery, our team of healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing the resources and care needed for a successful recovery from meth addiction through our various treatment options.