Meth Addiction and Treatment

What is Crystal Meth?

At the start of the year, individuals throughout the world put together lists of resolutions to try to keep. Many won’t make it through February since changing lifelong habits can be quite challenging on will-power alone. When it relates to crystal meth addiction, even when people promise to never ever use, most will need additional help to achieve their goals. The truth is, to give up using forever, a holistic addiction recovery program is the best option. A holistic recovery program involves therapies of course, but also helps build a person’s environment and provides them with a purpose towards goals and aspirations.

Street Names of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is understood by several slang terms consisting of:

  • Glass
  • Blade
  • Crystal
  • Quartz
  • Ice

Crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) is a powerful central nervous stimulant with highly addictive characteristics.

Crystal meth is the illicit, crystalline form of methamphetamine. Legally manufactured methamphetamine is identified as a Schedule II drug by the United States Controlled Substances Act, meaning:

  • It has a high capacity for abuse.
  • It has a currently approved clinical use.
  • Misuse of it might lead to severe mental or physical reliance.
  • Pharmaceutical methamphetamine is used in medicines that treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and, occasionally, in cases of extreme excessive weight.

The crystal variety of methamphetamine – the street substance crystal meth – has no clinical applications, and is exclusively abused as a recreational drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Abuse

Crystal meth is a powerful stimulant. Regardless of what route of administration is used– injected, smoked or inhaled– a person will certainly experience a quick onset of its effects.

When under the influence of meth, a person may show with any variety of symptoms:

  • Boosted physical activity.
  • Boosted blood pressure and breathing rate.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Insomnia.
  • Paranoia or irritability.
  • Fleeting euphoria.
  • Erratic behavior.
  • Doing repetitive, meaningless tasks.
  • Queasiness, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Shakes.
  • Dry mouth, bad breath.
  • Headache.
  • Uncontrollable jaw clenching.

A few other unpleasant indications of methamphetamine abuse consist of:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Fatigue.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Seizures.
  • Respiratory or airway abnormalities.
  • Persistently elevated heart rate, placing users at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Effects of Crystal Meth Abuse

The effects of crystal meth in recreational doses are powerful and can cause physical and mental dependency.

Crystal meth functions by influencing the communication chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain and activating the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

The effects of crystal meth in recreational doses are powerful and can cause psychological and physical addiction. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse reports that users first report feeling powerful and confident, with infinite energy, improved productivity, enhanced sex-related performance, and decreased appetite.

As soon as these preliminary euphoric effects subside, however, the experience can take a bad turn– with persistent abuse resulting in instant and severe adverse effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Feeling of insects crawling on/under your skin
  • Headaches
  • Stroke
  • Jaw clenching
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Mental confusion, psychosis, and paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Picking at your skin, resulting in scabs
  • Tooth decay– or, “meth mouth”
  • Respiratory disease
  • Heart problem
  • Heart attack
  • Death

Other possible long-term health effects of crystal meth abuse include:

  • Microvascular hemorrhage.
  • Eye damage.
  • Vision problems.
  • Markedly disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Mood disorders.
  • Reproductive health issues.
  • Damaged sexual motivation and performance.
  • Oral health problems.

Statistics on Meth Abuse

  • Per the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 1.7 million individuals age 12 or older reported illicit methamphetamine use in 2015, and almost 900,000 people age 12 or older reported use in the past month.
  • According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Report, meth was associated with practically 13% of all illegal drug emergency department visits in 2011.
  • The NSDUH also discovered more than two times as many males used illegal methamphetamine than women in 2015.
  • Per the Monitoring the Future Study, use rates of meth among 8th, 10th, and 12th revealed a steady decline between 2012 and 2015– a favorable trend which will hopefully continue in coming years.


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The opportunity to go to Coalition recovery is the best gift my mother has ever given me. From the moment I walked in the front door I felt a huge weight lift and I knew that if I put in the work my life was about to improve exponentially. Every staff member that works there has a huge heart and I felt more than comfortable sharing my inner most secrets with them and asking for help and advice. They have helped me overcome extreme anxiety and depression issues, have helped grow my feeling of self worth, they have led me in the right direction to have a fulfilling life and have made me truly excited for my future. I took advantage of every opportunity they gave me. They even have a program that will get you on track to pursue a degree! I was fearful that I would never be able to succeed in college and I am thrilled to tell them about all of my successes! Dr. Val is my personal therapist and I can not say enough nice things about how she has helped me. I truly value her opinions and how she challenges me. I do not know where I would be or how I would be doing without her. If you are truly ready to change your life and willing to do the work and stay open minded Coalition will be the place that turns your life around. Every clinitian and staff member is completely dedicated and invested in my well being and I am excited to stay in contact and be one (of their many) success stories! Thank you Coalition Recovery!
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If you’re looking for a treatment facility for either you or a loved one- Coalition Recovery is hands down the best choice. I have never met a staff more dedicated to actual PATIENT CARE than this facility. Truly, this staff is committed to not only caring for patients in fragile physical and/or mental states but also assisting in the process of sobriety beyond the inpatient level. This is not ‘just’ a treatment center; it is the first step in a new beginning.
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22:00 21 Jan 19
Coalition provides amazing treatment and aftercare for those struggling with addictions. The staff and executives are top notch and focus on client care first before anything else. Their approach to addiction treatment and the Renaissance program are unlike any I’ve seen. They are not solely concerned on the client remaining substance free, but also with having a high quality of living and living life to their fullest potential.
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Wonderful! Coalition is the best of the best! The staff are not only professional, educated, and welcoming, but extremely passionate about loving and treating people who battle the disease of addiction. What makes Coaltion stand out from the rest is their aftercare program, where you'll be supported and counseled by the same staff who worked with you while you were inpatient. A "coalition" is an alliance for combined action, but this treatment facility is more than that: it's a family.
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Role of Detoxification

Detoxification is the first step in any methamphetamine addiction treatment program. Throughout detox, the body is given the chance to rid itself of meth and other drugs of abuse. It’s a vital primary step before any recovery education and treatment can occur. The detoxification stage typically comes with withdrawal symptoms as the body reacts to not having the drug. Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Psychotic episodes
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Insomnia
  • Exhaustion
  • Severe depression

It is throughout detox that individuals are most vulnerable to the lure of relapse. This is due to the severe psychological dependence of meth. Also, taking the drug again will make the withdrawal symptoms cease. Furthermore, patients who find themselves in a psychotic episode during detox pose a risk to themselves and others. For these reasons, it is always best to detox in a medically-supervised setting. This allows physicians and nurses to check your symptoms and use medicine to help ease withdrawal discomfort and keep you safe.

Treatment Choices for Crystal Meth Addiction

No two treatment plans are alike, just as no two addicted individuals are exactly alike. The therapy delivered is closely matched to the demands of the individual at that time; thus, the patient and treatment plan coordinator will develop a plan to collaborate and analyze it together throughout treatment.

Common discussion points for developing a plan consist of the following:

  • Just how motivated that person is to get better
  • The person’s work and education
  • The patient’s mental and physical health
  • The length and frequency of the meth use
  • The ability of loved ones to support their loved one in recovery

With this information, the treatment plan coordinator can generate an extensive treatment plan with the patient. In some cases it is best for a patient to enter residential therapy in which she or he lives in the therapy center, obtaining care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Individuals who commonly need inpatient care are those that have relapsed after treatment in the past or have a far more extreme addiction and a lower support system.

Various other people might do well in outpatient care in which they can continue to uphold their responsibilities at home and at work. In outpatient treatment, patients stay to participate in a number of different therapy sessions throughout the week. The sessions can be scheduled around family and work schedules.

Meth Therapies and Their Success Rates

Normally, the first step to handling a drug use disorder is to detox and then continue with treatment. Nevertheless, a research study in Addiction revealed that meth users that underwent detoxification were as likely to use meth again as customers that never went. The same study had more encouraging outcomes for rehab, however, they faded with time:

  • After three months, 48% of individuals that went to therapy were still sober contrasted to 15% of users that went through detoxification or who never received treatment.
  • After one year, only 20% of individuals who went to rehab were still sober compared to 7% of both other groups incorporated.
  • After three years, just 12% of people that went to therapy were still sober. 5% of individuals that didn’t go to therapy were still sober at that time.

Essentially, detoxification did not help meth abusers maintain their sobriety and meth rehab generated outcomes that neglected to last over any significant amount of time. 

Note that this study was done during a time when most treatment centers’ philosophies relied heavily on 12-step methods rather than evidence-based therapies like CBT and dual-diagnosis which (while relatively new) have promising impacts on addiction medicine.

The question continues to be: what should individuals with meth-related drug use disorders do to make sure they successfully recover? How can a meth abuser stay clean in the long run?

Meth addiction recovery typically involves many methods to help the person heal in the most holistic (comprehensive) way. Talk treatments in addition to on-going life education aid in understanding and life skills preparing him or her for life after addiction. Usual therapy methods for crystal meth addiction include the following:


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (unknown success rate)

Cognitive behavior modification (CBT) deals with drug use disorders by educating individuals with meth use disorders how to transform their self-destructive patterns and make brand-new ones. It focuses a lot on recognizing the early indicators of cravings, recognizing scenarios that place you at risk, and creating coping abilities to manage them. It’s unknown how effective CBT is on its own when it pertains to methamphetamine misuse, however in combination with other therapies, it can be very helpful. While there are no direct studies on CBT and meth addiction, psychologists recommend this as the most appropriate level of therapy for meth use disorders.


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Scans (unknown success rate)

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a method to map blood circulation in the brain as it travels amongst different areas responsible for various sorts of cognition. This enables doctors and scientists to gauge how cognitive, emotional, and social processes are carried in various systems of the brain.

When it involves meth abuse, this sort of imaging can be used to forecast relapse rates. One study used decision making to reveal the differences in the means meth user’s brains handled information concerning what they regarded through their senses and movements and the manner their brains managed their decision making. The people who relapsed showed reverse activation patterns in the prefrontal, parietal, and insular cortical areas. This showed that fMRIs could aid recognize individuals who are at high threat of relapsing so they can enter a preventative program ahead of time.



12-Step Programs and SMART Recovery (5-31% success rate)

12-step programs, including Crystal Meth Anonymous, stress approval of the persistent nature of substance abuse and relinquish a higher power. The group structure helps build a sober community; by creating a healthy and supportive environment, people can help foster their own recovery. SMART Recovery views alcohol and drug abuse as a dysfunctional behavior as opposed to a disease and relies upon secular, science-based techniques to recover from drug use disorders.

Coming together to find support can be invaluable, particularly when you discover a sponsor, however, there are advantages and disadvantages to both programs. 12-steps normally enhance social communications, however basic health and employment status decrease. Psychological hospitalizations likewise increase. SMART improves health and employment, however, marijuana use increased. Life fulfillment increased by participating in either approach.

However, these programs are only effective if you frequently attend sessions, so if you elect to dedicate yourself to Crystal Meth Anonymous or SMART Recovery– both of which have comparable success rates– ensure you stay for the long haul.


Contingency Management (18.2-28.6%)

Contingency management (CM) uses rewards like vouchers or cash to urge abstinence from drugs and alcohol. At the start of treatment, the rewards are reduced, yet the longer you stay sober, the more you receive.

Studies have revealed that including contingency management in addition to other kinds of therapy creates more negative urine tests and shows higher retention rates in counseling. People in CM were likewise sober for longer periods of time, making CM a practical option for meth abuse.


Long-Term Inpatient Rehab (23-75%)

Lasting therapy usually happens in either hospitals or recovery facilities and takes anywhere from 6-12 months. The size of treatment is concurrent with the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s recommendation that treatment ought to last at least 90 days to be effective and the longer it lasts, the more effective it is.

Rehab centers often tend to concentrate on detox and cognitive behavior modification, whereas restorative communities concentrate on confronting the places you might improve your psychological and social functioning. Both can focus on searching for employment and social assistance while you remain in treatment, though medical facilities are much better matched to individuals with concurrent psychological health problems.


Aversion Therapy (52% success rate).

Methamphetamine aversion therapy involves letting users use a meth placebo– typically 1% quinine in mannitol, a white crystalline powder– and then administering an oral emetic to create nausea or an electric shock to create irritation. Combining the two makes you not want to use meth due to the adverse associations. However, this treatment is not very popular due to the discomfort of queasiness and shocks.

**We do not use shock aversion therapy at our Coalition Recovery facility**


The Matrix Model (50-60% success rate).

The Matrix Model is a mix of treatments that works especially well for methamphetamine abuse. The program lasts four months, deliberately coinciding with “the wall,” the point at which the brain starts to truly recover from meth damage. It also addresses current research, which states that memory and reasoning skills continue to weaken for months after people quit using. Long-lasting treatment is therefore a clear winner.

The Matrix Model incorporates behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling to help users handle the depression and anxiety of early recovery  including meth withdrawal. It additionally educates them to prevent relapse by educating why cravings occur and how to react to them positively. This model also incorporates group therapies like Crystal Meth Anonymous so people can help each other handle their shared troubles.

During the Matrix Model, counselors educate patients and their loved ones on the impacts of meth in order to discourage users from future use and help their loved ones recognize the disorder and they can help. They additionally help users discover issues associated with alcohol, marijuana, and sexual behavior that coincide with meth abuse. All info is delivered in small pieces as meth abusers might have substandard short-term memories as a result of brain damage.

The environment is highly structured, and the staff give much of their time and attention into establishing connections with patients, allowing both parties to join forces on treatment. Drug testing and contingency management help add to this structure. After the four months are through, people graduate to 9 months of outpatient care and social support with other individuals.

One study discovered that people in the Matrix Model were sober for longer time periods, provided far more negative urine tests, and stayed in treatment longer than individuals who were in other forms of treatment. Another, a study of 978 recovering meth abusers, found that 60% of them were sober 6 months after finishing the Matrix Model program. The proponents of the Model state that the remaining 40% could be aided by an inpatient program, like a therapeutic community or hospital stay, prior to adding the Matrix Model to their recovery regimen.

The most effective means to deal with meth misuse is a full continuum of care. Reach out to our experienced team to get more information regarding our therapy programs and create a personalized treatment plan that will fit your needs.

Ongoing Care After Addiction Therapy

Lots of people who return home after a treatment program must restore their lives. Some may have lost their jobs or house and have a few healthy relationships or resources. Therefore, several individuals can benefit from community and governmental-based resources such as the following:

  • Food assistance
  • Relationship counseling
  • Job-training programs
  • Subsidized housing options
  • Childcare vouchers

None of these options need to be long-term but can be a great assistance for people as they reconstruct their lives in a sober and healthy way. Many individuals who have been addicted to crystal meth will additionally need recurring medical treatment. The following illnesses are common for those who have abused meth in the past and will need to be addressed and monitored long-term:

  • Heart damage
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Kidney disease

Making sure you are under the treatment of a physician is important as you continue to seek health after an addiction.

Dealing With Temptation and Relapse in Aftercare

In recovery, it is vital you establish and maintain a plan for relapse. Most people who addicted in the past will be enticed to relapse eventually. Ways to help prevent relapse consist of the following:.

Strong support system: Everyone recovering from addiction needs a list of people who they can call during times when they are tempted to use. It’s helpful to have a good friend that will go along with you to a party where there may be drugs or will come get you if you find yourself in an endangering situation. They can send encouraging texts throughout the day and check on you regularly.

Sober/clean close friends and hangouts: It will always be a battle to not return to the very same friends and spots that were comfortable when you were in your addiction. Creating new patterns of social circles is a huge step in developing a sober life.

A plan for the way out: Anytime the potential to come across drugs or drug use is present, you need a plan (excuse included) to leave instantly.

Help for Crystal Meth Addiction

Recovery is possible, but it is very important to bear in mind that it is also an investment in your future and your loved ones. This investment will call for time and hard work, yet it will be worth every second you put in it. If you need guidance finding a program that can treat your crystal meth addiction, we have addiction specialists waiting to help you through this. They are able to help you with any questions or reservations you might have about treatment. 

Here at Coalition Recovery, we have years of experience helping people overcome their meth addictions. We have created a holistic therapy program with a full continuum of care: detox through outpatient care. We rely heavily on evidence-based therapies that have been studied and designed to give each individual their best chance towards long-term recovery.



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