Meth Addiction Treatment | The Ranch

We Can Help. Call Today. 844-876-7680

Recreational use of methamphetamine has increased greatly since the 1990s. It is now reported to be the second most widely misused substance, after cannabis. Methamphetamine has toxic effects on the body and mind. The drug causes a large surge in the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, which produces euphoria. Alterations in dopamine and other neurotransmitters change various areas of the brain, resulting in addiction.

It is imperative that meth addiction treatment take place in a drug rehab facility equipped to handle the potential physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with meth cessation. Detox and stabilization help regulate brain chemistry, while other facets of meth rehab help clients address underlying issues related to methamphetamine abuse and any co-occurring disorders.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk and ice, among other street names) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug with chemical properties similar to amphetamine. Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that can be smoked, snorted, taken orally or dissolved in liquid (water or alcohol) and injected. Small meth batches are made in clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter substances like pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient found in cold medicines. “Super labs” in Mexico and the U.S., on the other hand, churn out massive amounts of the drug.

The smoked form of meth came into wide use starting in the 1980s, and is most often referred to as ice, crystal meth, crank or glass. Crystal meth is bluish-white or clear and resembles glass fragments or shiny rocks. The high purity crystals are smoked in a glass pipe like crack cocaine. The smoke is odorless, leaves a residue that can be re-smoked and produces effects that may last 12 hours or more.

Why Is Methamphetamine So Addictive?

The drug changes a person’s mood in various ways depending how it is taken. Users initially report feeling confident and powerful, with limitless energy, increased productivity, enhanced sexual performance and decreased appetite. Those who smoke or inject meth describe a short-lived, intense sensation or rush. Oral ingestion or snorting produces a more prolonged high instead of a rush, which can continue for as long as half a day. Binging on meth is one way users can sustain the high, however this is followed by a distinctive “crash.”

As tolerance develops through continued use, those who abuse the drug need increasing amounts to obtain the same high and ward off physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. It is the serious physical changes in the brain that cause meth addiction and make recovery challenging.

Side Effects & Dangers of Methamphetamine

Even in small doses, methamphetamine can intensify wakefulness and physical activity and decrease appetite. High doses can raise body temperature to unsafe and often lethal levels and cause seizures. Long-term meth abuse is associated with cravings, risky behavior, brain dysfunction, deficits in self-control and addiction. Chronic meth users can experience any of the following side effects or symptoms:

Behavioral or Cognitive Side Effects

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Disorientation, apathy or confused exhaustion
  • Violent behavior
  • Psychosis (e.g., paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances and delusions, such as the sensation of insects creeping on the skin, called formication)
  • Paranoia, which can result in homicidal or suicidal thoughts
  • Progressive social and occupational deterioration

Physical Side Effects

  • Insomnia
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Destruction of tissues in nose (if snorted)
  • Respiratory or breathing problems (if smoked)
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses (if injected)
  • Heavy sweating
  • Bad breath
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Damage to the brain (similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy)
  • Cardiovascular problems (e.g., rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and irreversible, stroke-inducing injury to small blood vessels in the brain)
  • Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
  • Inflammation of the heart lining and damaged blood vessels (if injected)
  • Congenital deformities in infants born to pregnant meth users

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

Depressive symptoms occur frequently in methamphetamine users who recently have stopped using the drug, so proper psychiatric oversight is necessary to help manage these symptoms. If a person binged for days or weeks, severe withdrawal symptoms can last up to 10 days. Due to meth-induced neurotoxicity in the brain, some symptoms such as psychosis can last for months or years after meth use has stopped.

Currently, the most effective treatments for crystal meth addiction are behavioral therapies. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing and support groups. There are currently no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat meth abuse or addiction, but research-backed medications can ease withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most promising pharmacological treatments for meth dependence are modafinil, bupropion and naltrexone.

At The Ranch, a caring team of psychiatrists, therapists and support staff uses evidence-based treatments to help clients recover from meth addiction. Treatment may start with supervised detox. If depression or other co-occurring disorders are present, these issues are incorporated into an individualized treatment plan. Learn more about our meth and co-occurring disorders treatment programs by calling 844-876-7680.

  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Psychotic features, including paranoia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects creeping on the skin, which is called formication)
  • Homicidal or suicidal thoughts as a result of paranoia
  • Cardiovascular problems including rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and irreversible, stroke-producing injury to small blood vessels in the brain
  • Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
  • Convulsions
  • Inflammation of the heart lining, and among users who inject the drug, damaged blood vessels and skin abscesses
  • Progressive social and occupational deterioration
  • Congenital deformities in babies when used during pregnancy by the mother