Meth Addiction Treatment

What is Crystal Meth?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Commercially, methamphetamine is marketed as Desoxyn, but the drug is prescribed with caution and listed as a Schedule II controlled substance. Methamphetamine is much better known as a drug of abuse that is manufactured in private laboratories. It is sold on the street as crystal meth, meth, glass, or ice.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant medication that has some medicinal uses, but the drug is also produced in private laboratories and is a significant drug of abuse. The drug can be abused in several different manners, including smoking, injecting, or snorting it.

The Statistics on Crystal Meth

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the following figures on meth abuse:

  • In 2016, about 14.5 million people reported some lifetime use of meth. In 2017, this figure was 14.7 million.
  • In 2016, about 1.4 million people reported using meth within the year before taking the SAMHSA survey. In 2017, this was 1.6 million.
  • In 2016, about 667,000 people reported using meth within the month before taking the SAMHSA survey. In 2017, this was 774,000.


How is Crystal Meth Taken?

The methamphetamine sold on the street (meth) is typically sold as a white powdery substance, or it appears crystalized or as bits of glass (hence the street name glass). People will most often:

  • Smoke the drug.
  • Mix it with water and inject it.
  • Grind it into a powder and snort it.
  • Take it orally. This is the least common way to use the drug.

Consequences of Crystal Meth Abuse on Person

Methamphetamine works similar to other stimulants. When you take it, your brain releases large amounts of several different neurotransmitters. When you stop taking it, these levels of neurotransmitters are depleted in your brain. Because it is a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine can be highly addictive and cause significant health issues. People who abuse it often require intensive treatment.

The effects of the drug are relatively short-lived, and users tend to binge on it. Bingeing on crystal meth can result in significant changes in your brain that can lead to issues with your cognition and emotional control. Because the methamphetamine manufactured for street use is not pure, you can suffer many different health effects due to the additives and other substances that are combined to make the drug. Long-term use of street meth can result in a wide range of health problems.

Crystal Meth Effects on Mood and Body

doctor holding a model brain

When you take methamphetamine, the drug works to facilitate the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in your brain. The massive release of these neurotransmitters results in you feeling a significant increase in energy, extreme euphoria, feelings of invincibility, a decrease in appetite, a decreased need for sleep, and potentially hallucinations or delusions.

Stimulant drugs in this class are designed to wakefulness, increase the ability to focus, and boost energy levels. But when these drugs are used medicinally, they are typically used in very small amounts and designed to be used only a few times a day. People who abuse these drugs will typically ingest extremely high amounts.

Short Term Health Effects of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth temporarily creates a false sense of well-being and energy. This causes the drug-dependent individual to push their body faster and further than it is meant to go. This is what causes the severe “crash”, as well as the physical and mental breakdown once the initial effects wear off. 

Through continued use of crystal meth, decreased natural feelings of hunger arise, which causes users to experience extreme weight loss. 

There are many other serious effects such as disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability.

 Many other extreme side effects include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nausea
  • Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
  • Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
  • Panic and psychosis
  • Convulsions, seizures, and death from high doses

Long Term Health Effects of Crystal Meth

As crystal meth use continues, severe harm to the body and mind continues. There are many serious long-term effects on health, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat.

Those who use crystal meth may also suffer from brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. 

Other long-term side effects of crystal meth use include: 

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Destruction of tissues in the nose if snorted
  • Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
  • Severe malnutrition 
  • Weight loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
  • Strong psychological dependence
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy

Consequences of Crystal Meth Abuse on Relationships

Individuals who use crystal meth will have a lot of trouble maintaining relationships. It is not possible to have a healthy relationship while abusing a substance that’s so damaging to yourself and others. There are many different reasons for this.

First, any person who is seriously addicted to a drug will not have a healthy relationship with themselves. Crystal meth is dangerous and destructive. Struggling with an addiction indicates that an individual does not have the self-control required to keep themselves in a healthy state. Drug use is often a result of underlying emotional and mental issues. That is why addiction treatment for crystal meth is so important. Targeting these underlying roots will allow the individual to conquer the reason why they started using it in the first place. 

Furthermore, a drug-dependent individual prioritizes the substance. Someone who has become psychologically or physically dependent on crystal meth relies on it daily. Rather than focusing on their partner in the relationship, crystal meth will be the main focus in their life. If a crystal meth user wants to be present for their partner or show up at a family function, then they’re going to rely on using crystal meth first. Otherwise, they feel like they won’t be able to function.

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Blood?

Crystal meth stays in the blood for one to three days.

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Urine?

Crystal meth stays in urine anywhere from one day, all the way to a week. 

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Hair? 

Crystal meth stays in hair for up to 90 days. 

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Saliva

Crystal meth stays in saliva for one to four days. 

Using Crystal Meth with Other Drugs

Crystal meth is a very dangerous drug on its own. However, mixing it with other substances makes it even more intoxicating. This hazardous form of meth consumption involves polydrug use, in which two or more drugs are combined to produce additional stimulating effects.

A survey of one subset of meth users provided further information on polydrug use.

Sixty-five percent of respondents combined meth with one or more drugs, not including alcohol. Of these:

  • 43.7% combined the drug with marijuana.
  • 14% combined it with GHB.
  • 10.8% combined it with amyl nitrite (“poppers”).
  • 8.6% combined it with cocaine and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly called ecstasy.
  • 2.7% combined it with heroin and Viagra.

Crystal Meth Abuse Symptoms and Signs of Addiction

If you use crystal meth in any capacity, it is considered drug abuse. If you wonder if you have an addiction, there’s a good chance you might.


Signs of crystal meth addiction include an inability to control the use of the drug, using crystal meth despite serious consequences in virtually all areas of life, and deteriorating physical health.

Treatment for meth abuse is necessary to effectively stop abusing the drug. Addiction treatment should be considered a long-term endeavor.

Warning Signs a Loved-One is Suffering from Crystal Meth Addiction

It’s important to note that these are only a handful of signs to look out for. Some individuals may only display one or two, while others will show a wide range of signs. However, you can use this as a guide to get a better understanding of how to detect addiction in a loved one.

Signs of crystal meth addiction include:

  • Secretiveness
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Financially unpredictable, such as having a large sum of cash at times but no money at all at other times
  • Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd phone conversations
  • Drug paraphernalia such as unusual pipes, cigarette papers, small weighing scales, etc.
  • “Stashes” of drugs, often in small plastic, paper or foil packages
  • Drastic mood swings – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc
  • Strange sleeping patterns
  • Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic
  • Significant changes in weight
  • Unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
  • Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual

Physical Symptoms of Abusing Crystal Meth

Physical symptoms of using crystal meth can be a way to recognize addiction in a loved one. These physical red flags include, but are not limited to:

  • Sores or scratches on the skin
  • Track marks often found on the arms
  • Rotting teeth
  • Inflamed gums
  • Significant weight loss
  • Hair that is thinning or falling out
  • Red, swollen eyes
  • Burn marks on the fingers or lips

Crystal Meth Withdrawal and Detox

What Causes Crystal Meth Withdrawal?

Crystal meth withdrawal is your body’s response to no longer having the substance in your system anymore. It involves a predictable set of symptoms, such as physical symptoms like fatigue or muscle pain, and psychiatric symptoms like depression or psychosis. While the physical symptoms subside fairly quickly, the psychological symptoms such as anxiety can last for a while. That is why a personalized treatment plan incorporates long-term treatment methods after detox is completed.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal will vary based on the person and severity of addiction.

The most common crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremor
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Stomach ache
  • Anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Dehydration

Detox for Crystal Meth


Detoxification, also referred to as detox, is the process of eliminating crystal meth use and removing the addictive substance from the body. Detox from addiction must take place in a supervised medical setting to ensure the safety of the patient. Removing the existing drugs out of a recovering individual’s system is a crucial step to beginning treatment for addiction. 

Detoxification may also incorporate prescribed medicine to help alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Our trained medical staff will make sure to develop the right detox plan for your specific needs.

Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

A comprehensive treatment plan is the best way to successfully recover from crystal meth addiction. Crystal meth addiction can be treated through inpatient or outpatient care, depending on the recovering individual’s needs. Each treatment plan will be personalized based on the patient. Some treatment plans may require a higher degree of care, while others will make room for more flexibility. If you’d like more details regarding the levels of care at our facility, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information!

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Crystal Meth 

Co-Occurring disorders are when an individual is struggling with both an addiction and mental health disorder. After a co-occurring disorder has been identified, dual diagnosis treatment must take place. Dual diagnosis treatment helps to prevent relapse through a better understanding of how to cope with both conditions. Dual diagnosis treatment involves a combination of therapy, counseling, support groups, exercise, education, holistic activities, and much more as part of an individual’s comprehensive treatment plan. 

Inpatient Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

Inpatient treatment offers the highest level of care for recovering individuals. Inpatient treatment, also known as residential treatment, requires the patient to live at the facility full-time. They’ll receive full access to all amenities, as well as a structured daily routine. Residential treatment offers 24/7 medical supervision and care, as well. This form of treatment generally lasts anywhere from 28 to 90 days. If you or a loved one is suffering from a severe crystal meth addiction, then this level of care may be best suited for your needs. 

Outpatient Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

Outpatient treatment is ideal for individuals with serious obligations outside of treatment. Perhaps you have a child at home you must take care of. In other cases, you may be attending classes at school multiples a week. In any situation, we’ll work together to create a flexible treatment plan that works around your availability. Outpatient treatment provides high-quality care incorporating different forms of therapy and medical care if necessary. The main difference is that the patient will travel to the recovery center for scheduled treatment sessions, rather than reside at the facility.

Therapy for Crystal Meth Addiction

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy emphasizes the importance of a positive relationship between a recovering individual and his or her therapist. An individual who has a trusting and encouraging relationship with his or her therapist is more likely to achieve long-term sobriety. Individual therapy aims to create a safe space for addicted individuals to share their thoughts and feelings. This kind of relationship provides the recovering individual with someone who:

man going through drug treatment
  • Combines the patient’s abilities, needs, and expectations into a personalized and realistic plan for recovery
  • Listens to the patient’s problems without judgment 
  • Helps develop healthy and effective coping mechanisms with the patient 

Similarly, individual therapy allows a person to discuss private issues that he may not feel comfortable talking about in a group of people. It also gives him more one-on-one time with his therapist, which in turn allows them to cover more ground each session.

Group Therapy

Group therapy allows individuals to receive support from others with similar life experiences who understand what they’re going through. Addiction often leads to feelings of loneliness, depression, and inadequacy. That’s where group therapy comes in. Group therapy helps support the individual by promoting a positive self-image through affirmation and identification within the group community.

Group therapy allows you to give support to others while receiving it right back. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Support and motivation
  • Perspective through discussion
  • Behavioral improvements
  • Diversity
  • Builds trust and understanding

Family Therapy

Family therapy gives everyone involved a voice about the destruction of crystal meth addiction. It’s important to recognize that the loved ones surrounding a recovering individual are struggling and need support too. A key component of family therapy is to help family members understand how addiction impacts them and to give them tools for improving their relationships. Addiction can also occur because of dysfunction at home. Therapy allows family members to understand risk factors and what they can do about prevention.

Life-Long Recovery from Crystal Meth

Life-long recovery from crystal meth means creating an aftercare plan to prevent relapse. After the main part of treatment is completed, we’ll help develop a plan as you start transitioning back into your daily life. There are many different treatment resources available even after treatment. Keep reading to learn more about a few of these resources. 

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses, also referred to as sober living homes, are residences that provide a drug and alcohol-free environment for newly sober people. These sober living homes offer a structured community that includes remaining sober from any kind of substance. Residents are also generally a part of recovery meetings or counseling while in sober living. They may also look for a job or attend school while staying in the home.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meetings

NA meetings open their doors to recovering individuals struggling with all kinds of addictions, including crystal meth. These recovery meetings focus on giving support to individuals throughout their recovery journey. You’ll be able to give and get support in a judgment-free setting. Recovering individuals generally meet once a week with an NA group to help prevent relapse. 

Smart Recovery Meetings

SMART Recovery Meetings have a science-based approach for recovering crystal meth users. It’s structured around a 4-Point Program that breaks down the four phases of treatment and recovery from crystal meth addiction.

The four phases of SMART Recovery are:

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation: Learning to maintain long-term sobriety.
  • Coping with Temptations: Recognizing triggers and learning the most effective ways to reduce them.
  • Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors: Learning ways to prevent relapse, finding self-acceptance, and working through discomforting emotions.
  • Living a Balanced Life: Setting realistic expectations about sobriety and making changes to promote a healthy and effective lifestyle.

Each of these phases is achieved through the evidence-based methods used in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is centered around changing behaviors related to addiction.

Seek Help For Crystal Meth Addiction Today

At Footprints Recovery, we believe in the personalization of treatment for each individual. Together, we’ll create a treatment plan that addresses all of your needs. No matter how lost you or a loved one may feel right now, we assure you that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Crystal meth addiction can be conquered if you take that first step forward in seeking help. Regaining control of your life starts with that first call.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to find your location here and reach out to us. We’re waiting for your call! 

Trusted & Approved Addiction Treatment Centers

Helo Icon

The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) is a nonprofit professional society designed to offer support to organizations across the continuum of care. Since 1978, it has extended resources, advocacy and thought leadership to its members.

Helo Icon

The Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHCO) evaluates quality of care provided by healthcare organizations. Footprints has the Gold Seal of Approval, which means we possess the highest standard of safety and quality of care.

LegitScript is a third-party certification that confirms that Footprints follows all applicable laws and regulations. It shows that our company has been vetted and that we demonstrate an ongoing commitment to integrity and transparency.