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Meth Addiction Treatment and Rehab Programs Near Me

3 min read · 11 sections
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a potent and addictive central nervous system stimulant that’s chemically similar to other amphetamines.1,2 Amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Dexedrine) including methamphetamine (Desoxyn) are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but some are also indicated for short-term weight loss or to manage obesity.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine was originally synthesized from amphetamine in the early 20th century as a treatment for nasal congestion and troubled breathing.1 With the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, methamphetamine, as well as other stimulants amphetamine and cocaine, were placed on Schedule II as drugs with a high potential for misuse which may lead to severe physiological dependence. Most methamphetamine used in the United States is produced and distributed illicitly in forms such as crystal meth rather than through the pharmaceutical industry.1,2,3

The 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 2.7 million Americans aged 12 or older used methamphetamine in the past year.3

Why is Meth so Addictive?

Meth use, like other amphetamines, results in increased activity, decreased appetite, enhanced sociability and talkativeness, and can induce feelings of pleasure and a sense of well-being. A key difference between meth and amphetamines, however, is that greater amounts of meth pass into the brain when compared with a similar dose of amphetamines, making it a more potent stimulant.

When the drug is smoked or injected, the effects are felt extremely quickly; causing an immediate and intense, but short-lived, rush.1 Snorting or oral ingestion produces effects of euphoria within several minutes but not an intense rush.

These pleasurable effects last longer than cocaine but are still somewhat fleeting, and individuals may attempt to maintain the high by taking more meth, sometimes foregoing food, sleep, and other responsibilities as they binge on the drug over several days.4

Taking meth causes an increase in levels of dopamine, a brain chemical that plays an important role in motivation and the reinforcement of rewards.1,2

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Take our free, 5-minute substance use self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might struggle with substance addiction. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

Long-Term Effects of Meth Use

Using meth can result in physiological dependence and addiction, and can be harmful to your body and mind over time.1,2,5 It creates changes in the brain that can endure for long periods of time—and may be only partially reversible.1,2 Effects of chronic meth use can include:1,2,5

  • Anxiety.
  • Cardiovascular issues such as heart attack, irregular heartbeat, palpitations, and cardiac arrest.
  • Damage to cells in the brain.
  • Excessive weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Increased risk of stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Lung issues such as chronic cough, bronchitis, and pneumonia in people who smoke meth.
  • Major dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and loss of teeth.
  • Memory loss.
  • Mood swings.
  • Nasal irritation, nosebleeds, and perforated septum in people who snort meth.
  • Seizures.
  • Sores on the skin.
  • “Track marks” and increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis in people who inject meth.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Violent or aggressive behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of a Meth Addiction

Only a physician can diagnose a substance use disorder, but there are various signs, symptoms, and side effects of meth use. To be diagnosed with a stimulant use disorder, clinicians use a list of 11 criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), which includes:5

  • Taking more meth or using it for longer than planned.
  • Wanting to cut back or stop using meth but being unable to do so.
  • Experiencing strong cravings for meth.
  • Having trouble fulfilling responsibilities at home, school, or work because of meth use.
  • Being unable to stop using meth despite it causing or worsening social or interpersonal issues.
  • Being unable to stop meth use despite the fact that it has caused or exacerbated physical or mental health problems.
  • Quitting or cutting back on hobbies as a result of meth use.
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from meth use.
  • Using meth in situations that can be dangerous, such as while driving.
  • Developing a tolerance to the effects of meth, meaning you need to use more to feel the same desired effects.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop or cut back meth use.

Anhedonia and Psychosis

High doses and chronic use of meth are associated with two long-term mental health concerns: anhedonia and psychosis.1,3,5,6

Anhedonia is a diminished interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable or rewarding activities.7 It has been theorized that changes in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, as a result of meth use, may play a role in protracted anhedonia in individuals who formerly used meth.6

Meth use can also result in psychotic symptoms and drug-induced psychosis, with studies suggesting that those who use meth intravenously or have a family history of psychosis are at heightened risk.1,5,8 Although psychiatric symptoms typically resolve themselves within a week of abstinence, for some these symptoms may last long after use stops and may recur in times of stress.1 Signs of psychosis can include:1,2,5

  • Delusions, (e.g., receiving messages via the radio or television that you’re convinced are real).
  • Hallucinations (e.g., feeling, hearing, or seeing things that aren’t there, such as being convinced that bugs are crawling under your skin).
  • Paranoia.
  • Repetitive motor activity.

Meth Addiction Treatment: How to Quit Meth

Various forms of effective treatment are available to those with an addiction to meth, and the best meth treatment options depend on each individual.9 The abrupt discontinuation or reduction in meth use can cause stimulant withdrawal, which is typically less physically dangerous than withdrawal from some other substances, such as alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines.3 However, methamphetamine withdrawal can produce negative thoughts and depression, which may lead to self-harm in some people.10,11 The intense depressive state may lead a person to relapse shortly after attempting to quit.10

Additionally, if the individual is dependent on multiple substances, other withdrawal syndromes can complicate detox and may lead to additional physical and mental health symptoms. Medically detox allows an individual to withdraw from substances under the supervision of medical professionals.11 Detox, however, is typically not enough for sustained recovery and is typically followed by a more comprehensive treatment plan to address the behavioral and cognitive issues of addiction.6

Treatment can take place in several different settings.6,7 Inpatient rehab or residential treatment means you live and sleep at the facility for the duration of your treatment, which includes structured counseling and therapy sessions. Outpatient treatment allows you to live at home or in a sober living environment and attend pre-scheduled appointments and sessions at the treatment facility. Outpatient programs vary in intensity depending on your needs and progression through the continuum of care.9,10

Does Insurance Cover Meth Addiction Treatment?

Yes, plenty of meth rehab centers accept various forms of insurance plans. To find out whether or not your insurance will cover the full or partial cost of your treatment, simply provide your insurance information in the form below and an American Addiction Centers’ admissions navigator can verify your benefits for you.

Therapy for a Meth Addiction

Behavioral therapy is effective in treating meth addiction.1,2 Some behavioral therapy techniques that are commonly used in treatment may include:1,2,12,13

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can prevent relapse by increasing your awareness of high-risk situations, helping you develop coping skills, changing harmful behaviors, and managing cravings.
  • Contingency management interventions/motivational incentives. Contingency management involves giving tangible rewards to reinforce positive behaviors such as attending treatment sessions and not using substances.
  • The Matrix Model. The Matrix Model incorporates behavioral therapy, individual therapy, family therapy and education, 12-Step meetings, drug testing, and positive reinforcement.

Are Medications Used in Meth Treatment?

There are currently no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of meth addiction.1,2,3,13 Meth withdrawal symptoms generally aren’t as medically dangerous or physically uncomfortable as those associated with other drugs, however, so certain medications may be prescribed as needed to manage specific symptoms.3 Researchers are currently investigating the use of medications to manage cravings or lower the risk of relapse.1

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Meth Use

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