Meth Addiction Treatment

Reading Time: 7 minutes

When you use crystal meth, both your mind and your body suffer greatly in a number of different ways.  There is distorted thinking, distorted memory, dysfunctional behavior and irrational activity.  Meth addiction treatment works to eliminate methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms, provide counseling and therapy for psychological elements associated with the addiction and reintegrate the meth addict back into society as a fully functioning member who can stay clean and sober.

Various types of meth addiction treatment are available to provide users with the hope, help and guidance that they need to overcome meth addiction and make sobriety a reality.

What is Meth Addiction Treatment?

Meth addiction treatment is the method of identifying, intervening and assessing methamphetamine addiction in order to provide counseling, health care, social services, therapy and psychological services to the addict in an effort to help him or her to get sober and to remain abstinent from future meth abuse.  The primary goal of meth addiction treatment is to reduce drug use and restore the meth addict to a state of well-being in which he or she can become a productive member of society.

Treatment for Meth Addicts

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to meth addiction treatment that will be guaranteed to work for every individual who is addicted to methamphetamine.  In fact, what works for one may be totally ineffective for the next individual and in some cases, it will take multiple different approaches to meth addiction treatment before finding one that really is effective and works.  Successful meth addiction treatment consists of detox, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling and support in an environment where methamphetamine is strictly prohibited to help prevent the risk of relapse.

Many different types of treatment are available for those who are suffering from meth addiction including:
  • Inpatient meth addiction treatment which provides around-the-clock support, guidance, medical care and monitoring in a controlled environment such as a hospital setting or treatment center that you will live in for the duration of treatment.
  • Outpatient meth addiction treatment which provides limited monitoring, guidance and support on an outpatient, as needed, basis. These programs are usually 1 to 2 times per week unless you enter into a more intensive program.
  • Recovery support groups which do not actually provide treatment for meth addiction but do offer support in a setting where others who are also attempting to remain abstinent from methamphetamine abuse work together to provide peer support. These groups are important during treatment, and possibly even more in the aftercare, maintaining sobriety stage.

When choosing between these programs, inpatient rehab programs are specifically effective for individuals who are suffering from a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety, who lack emotional support at home, and who have not succeeded with outpatient treatment before. If you do have a lot of support at home, and are otherwise healthy in mind and body outpatient treatment may be sufficient to help you overcome addiction to meth.

Recovering from meth addiction is a challenging process at best but it is possible.  In order for meth addiction treatment to truly be successful, the addict must be ready to get clean and sober and must make a commitment to his or her sobriety.  Research has shown that successful meth addiction treatment takes a bit longer than many other methods of addiction treatment so it’s important for the recovering addict to realize that the process of recovering could take many months, weeks or even potentially years in order to fully run its course.

With each day of sobriety, the chance of relapse sinks a little bit more.  Recovering addicts often hit the “recovery wall” anywhere from about a month and half to four months into their treatment.  It is during this time that the recovering addict is very likely to relapse because of physiological changes that occur within them which often lead to an increased urge or desire to use methamphetamine.  Once past this point in recovery, most addicts will find that the process of staying sober and saying “no” to meth becomes a little bit easier.

Specific Treatment Approaches

While in treatment, there are some specific behavioral and cognitive therapies and other approaches that are used to help recovering meth addicts overcome their addictions and have the motivation to continue recovery.

These are some of the practices:

  • Relationship Counseling: This involves the inclusion of families and other loved ones in the treatment process. It is important for methamphetamine addiction treatment to do this, and any programs will have sessions with addicts and their loved ones to help motivate and understand the need for recovery.
  • Pharmacotherapy: Medications may be used during the withdrawal stage to help individuals cope with the symptoms. In addition to this, medications for co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression may be needed. It is common for substance abusers to be affected by mental health problems, and these must be dealt with for recovery efforts to be effective.
  • Contingency Management: Using a system of rewards, whether points that can be redeemed, vouchers, coupons, or other things that can be used to reward positive behaviors is very effective in treating meth addiction. Rewards may be most effective when used often and especially in the early stages of treatment.
  • Drug Screening: Screening for meth is important at all stages of treatment, and is an effective way of ensuring the efficacy of treatment, especially when used with contingency management.
  • Trauma-informed Therapy: This type of therapy will focus on any trauma that may have led to meth addiction and any kind of trauma that may have resulted from the abuse of meth. Recognizing these traumas as triggers for relapse is effective in helping prevent relapse.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT works to identify thought and behavior patterns as well as beliefs and perceptions that lead to drug use. Once identified, counselors work to help individuals change those patterns to avoid their leading into drug use.
  • Exercise and Nutrition: Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is important in recovery and is best when incorporated into all stages of treatment.

Characteristics of Effective Meth Addiction Treatment

Tells us that at this point in time, behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency-management interventions, are the most effective in treating methamphetamine addiction. Research shows that there are certain characteristics that make some methods of meth addiction treatment more effective than others.  When searching for a meth addiction treatment program for yourself or for someone you love, consider the following characteristics that are likely to increase the chances of a successful recovery process:

  • Long-term programs of at least a year are most successful
  • Meth addiction treatment programs that are intensive and comprehensive are most successful
  • Meth addiction treatment that utilizes an intense outpatient program following inpatient treatment are typically most successful
  • Effective treatment incorporates relapse prevention
  • Effective treatment provides educational guidance and support for those in recovery.

Recovery Timeline for the Meth-Addicted Individual from The Matrix Institute

Recovering from an addiction to meth likely happens in stages, and those stages have a general structure. The model created by the Matrix Institute seems to be useful and accurate, and can help with meth addiction recovery greatly.

  • The Withdrawal Stage: This stage of meth addiction recovery lasts from zero to 15 days and is characterized by symptoms of exhaustion, insomnia, memory problems, depression, cravings, low energy, and irritability. During this stage, individuals can be helped by way of efforts to ease the withdrawal symptoms, but it is most effective to completely undergo this stage before other treatment efforts, such as support groups, begin.
  • The Honeymoon Phase: The next phase of treatment can be difficult for recovering addicts as it usually involves a heightened sense of confidence and improved physical condition, but still with impaired cognitive function. Because of this impaired function, relapse potential is high. This stage is usually from 16 to 45 days into recovery, and is best helped with therapeutic approaches including one-on-one and group counseling sessions that focus on motivation and staying in treatment.
  • The Wall Phase: In the following days, it is common for people to lose motivation for recovery, have low energy, engage in interpersonal conflict, and paranoia. At this stage motivational interventions are very important.
  • The Adjustment Stage: From 120 to 180 days in recovery, this stage involves some degrees of acceptance of addiction and recovery. Impulsive behavior is still prevalent and cognitive and behavioral interventions are needed.
  • The Maintenance Stage: This stage focuses on providing the tools to prevent relapse, and lasts from 180 days on through the rest of an individual’s life. At this stage, ongoing involvement in aftercare group therapy and support groups is recommended as they can help individuals maintain recovery.

What Does Meth Addiction Treatment Cost?

If you or someone you love is addicted to methamphetamine, you’re probably wondering what the cost will be for quality, effective treatment.  Unfortunately, there’s no set price or fee when it comes to meth addiction treatment.  The most affordable programs are often funded by the state or other government resources but can also be the least effective while the most expensive programs are often private and are not necessarily any more effective than the alternative.  The best way to find out what meth addiction treatment will cost is to call around, ask questions and get details about the programs in your area.

Some of the factors that may increase the cost of meth addiction treatment include:
  • Location (highly sought after locations are typically more expensive)
  • Type of treatment (inpatient programs are typically more expensive)
  • Length of treatment program (long programs will cost more)
  • Staff qualifications (the greater the skills and qualifications, the greater the cost)

What’s the Best Treatment for a Meth Addict?

Because there is no single method of treatment that is considered effective for those suffering from meth addiction, it can be difficult to determine which treatment will work best for each person.  However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and others do recommend long-term treatment lasting of a year or more, claiming that such treatment is much more effective than otherwise. When you enter into a meth addiction treatment program, the staff members and counselors will assess your situation, your addiction and your health and then come up with a plan of treatment that will help you get sober.  This plan is based on your individual circumstances and is not a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment and care.