Meth Addiction: Causes, Risks, and Treatment

Nicknames include crystal, speed, zoom, go, crank, tweak, ice, glass, rock candy, shizzo, yaba, fire, uppers, poor man’s cocaine or shards. Some people call it Tina when out in public, because it sounds like they’re talking about a person rather than a drug. According to, the meth addiction factor is extreme—it’s “one of the most addictive substances” out there today. A few recent reviews of medications tested for MUD between 2000 and 2020 have provided exhaustive information on different classes of medications that have been examined and the results of their clinical trials [ ]. Pharmacotherapies evaluated for MUD aimed to decrease the reinforcing/rewarding effects of METH, decrease cravings and negative effects of withdrawal from METH, or ameliorate comorbid psychiatric conditions and METH abuse-related cognitive impairments. No medication provided sufficient evidence to promote its use in the routine clinical management of MUD.

I’m In Recovery

Doctors also used medications such as clonidine and clonazepam throughout the process to manage withdrawal symptoms. XR-naltrexone is one of three Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. It works by binding to and blocking opioid receptors in the brain, which reduces opioid cravings and prevents the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids.

meth addiction treatment

How Is Crystal Meth Made? What’s in It?

The model can also be refined by including a more direct prediction of biomarkers such as peripheral IL-6 levels (94). Furthermore, cognition-related Electroencephalography may exhibit greater sensitivity to alterations in cognitive function than behavioral manifestations (95). Finally, the explanatory capacity of the theoretical model developed in this study was 20%.

Addiction and Mental Health Resources

Key elements of the Matrix model of treatment include individual and family counseling, group therapy, family education and relapse prevention training. Patients also participate in 12-step programs or other self-help group meetings. Important elements of CBT include exploring the consequences of meth addiction, recognizing and avoiding high-risk situations and monitoring cravings. Comprehensive treatment is the best way to recover from crystal meth addiction. The disease can be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on the patient’s needs. With treatment, understanding, and a good support network, it is possible for a person to recover from meth addiction.

  • CBT for substance use disorders can be used in many formats, including individual therapy, group therapy and, more recently, computer‐based therapy that are usually delivered during weekly 60-min sessions lasting weeks or as a brief CBT (4-8 sessions) [90, 91].
  • All participants wished to reduce or cease use of the drug and were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group.
  • It accounted for 10.6% of deaths in 2016, 49.8% of which involved concomitant use of another drug(s) with heroin (21.8%), fentanyl (11.1%), and cocaine (8.3%) being the top 3 concomitant drugs.
  • Consequently, behavioral therapies should remain the first line of treatment for MUD.
  • You may not feel alcohol’s effects as you typically would, so you might drink more alcohol than your body can process.

There are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of methamphetamine or that prolong abstinence from and reduce the use of methamphetamine by an individual addicted to the drug. NIDA has made research on the development of medications to treat addiction to stimulants and other drugs a priority, and NIDA-funded researchers are investigating a number of pharmacological approaches for treating methamphetamine use disorder. (A) Major neurotransmitter pathways targeted by medications tested for efficacy in methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) and brain areas connected by these pathways. A key brain area mediating drug reward/reinforcement and drug cravings is the nucleus accumbens. This area receives dopaminergic innervations (red) from the ventral tegmental area.

According to the NIDA, crystal meth can damage nerve terminals and increase the risk for physical and psychological illness (such as Parkinson’s disease). Use of the drug can also cause birth defects, profound weight loss and cardiovascular issues, including cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, stroke, seizures, meth addiction extreme and unhealthy weight loss and even death. Addiction to methamphetamine introduces its own dangers and exacerbates many others. Crystal methamphetamine is a synthetic psychostimulant drug that speeds up the inner working of the brain and affects the central nervous system, with long-lasting effects on the body.

  • Compared with other negative emotions, the influence of depression on drug addiction holds greater clinical significance (24).
  • Despite the differences in experimental design, of the 27 studies on CM effectiveness in MUD, only one found that CM did not effectively reduce METH use [81].
  • Methamphetamine addiction impacts many different parts of the body including; the muscles, liver, brain, mouth, heart, circulatory system, and respiratory system.
  • Nobody said that about my life-saving radiation, chemotherapy, or any of the drugs I was prescribed to manage some of the rough treatment side effects.
  • Cancer and addiction are both serious illnesses that become more manageable and survivable with timely detection, front-line treatment, regular follow-ups, a robust support system, and a healthy dose of hope.

The sustainability of CM effects post-intervention has not been well-studied. Nevertheless, there is evidence for CM decreasing METH use months post-treatment [88]. The model incorporates CBT, CM, 12-steps, and motivational interviewing therapy. The program is highly structured and is largely made up of group therapy sessions.

meth addiction treatment

3. Prevalence of Methamphetamine Abuse

  • METH-induced disorders include anxiety, depression, cognitive impairments, insomnia and psychosis.
  • It also teaches them strategies for maintaining abstinence and improving self-control.
  • For example, someone who weighs 200 pounds might want to aim for 100 ounces of water per day.
  • But leaving children in families with histories of abuse and neglect to avoid the trauma of removing them has had tragic results.
  • The pure form of methamphetamine, Desoxyn, is rarely ever prescribed in the U.S.
  • Researchers have found that a combination of two medications is effective at treating meth addiction.

A derivative of amphetamine, methamphetamine was two to three times stronger as a stimulant, its effects lasted much longer and it was easier to make. Because so little was known about the negative side effects and risks for addiction, meth tablets were distributed to German soldiers during World War II so they could fight day and night without eating or sleeping, according to the Science History Institute. If snorting the drug in crystal meth form, the high will come on in three to five minutes; if swallowing methamphetamine, it can take 15 to 20 minutes. The drug’s effects can last anywhere from six to 12 hours, which can lead people to continue using to keep the high going. Users who binge on crystal meth can stay awake for as long as 10 days, often subsisting with very little food or drink.

  • The medications that have shown the most promise as pharmacotherapies for MUD are bupropion and naltrexone administered together.
  • They reflected a larger shift in child welfare thinking nationwide that has upended the foster care system.
  • The studies that assessed CM efficacy in reducing METH abuse or dependence showed positive outcomes when comparing MUD patients to control group participants or CM to other behavioral therapies [74, 76].
  • Even users who don’t overdose often experience damage to the heart and other tissues, and can see their lives spiral out of control.



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