meth addiction treatment

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that, in 2020, 2.5 million Americans (12 years or older) reported that they had used methamphetamine in the past year. This makes meth one of the most commonly used and illicit stimulant drugs. Those who suffer from meth abuse can find the help and hope they need through our meth addiction treatment program here at North Jersey Recovery Center.

Meth addiction can be life-altering and even life-threatening. Individuals who suffer from methamphetamine abuse should seek addiction rehab immediately. Doing so can be the difference between a healthy, fulfilling life and a life of suffering and lasting health consequences.

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine or meth is an addictive and potent central nervous system stimulant that is chemically similar to various other amphetamines. Amphetamines such as Dexedrine and Adderall, including methamphetamine, Desoxyn are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but a few are indicated to manage obesity and for short-term weight loss. Most commonly, people use this specific drug illicitly in various forms such as crystal meth. 

It’s important to note that methamphetamine was originally integrated from amphetamine for treatment for trouble breathing and nasal congestion in the early 20th century. With the passing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, methamphetamine, along with other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine, were placed on Schedule II as drugs that have high abuse potential which can lead to severe psychological dependence. 

Why is Meth Addictive?

meth abuse rehabilitationMeth is so addictive because even though it’s similar to various other amphetamines in the sense of resulting in decreased appetite, enhanced sociability and talkativeness, increased activity, and can induce a sense of well-being and feelings of pleasure, there is a key difference in the two. The main difference between amphetamines and meth, however, is that there are greater amounts of the particular drug that can pass into an individual’s brain compared with a similar dose of amphetamines, therefore making it a more potent stimulant. 

When individuals inject or drug, the effects are exceedingly swift, causing a severe, instant, and short-term rush. Oral ingestion or snorting produces euphoric effects within numerous minutes but it’s not considered an intense rush. The enjoyable effects generally last longer than cocaine, but it’s still somewhat fleeting.

The users who engage in this particular drug attempt to maintain the overall high by:

  • Foregoing sleep, food, and various other responsibilities as they continue to binge on the drug for numerous days
  • Taking more of the drug

It’s essential to remember that taking meth can cause an increase in dopamine levels, which is a brain chemical that plays a principal role in motivation and the overall reinforcement of rewards. Many people who suffer from meth abuse exhibit the following behaviors and signs:

  • Failure to meet major responsibilities at school, work, or home 
  • Persistent or increasing use
  • Physical withdrawal

smoking meth

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Meth Use?

There are various long-term effects of meth use. When a person uses meth, it can result in addiction and dependence, making it more harmful for a person’s mind and body over time. It generates changes in a person’s brain that can endure long periods and might be only partially reversible. The long-term effects of meth abuse might include:

  • Cardiovascular issues such as irregular heartbeat, heart attack, cardiac arrest, and palpitations 
  • Lung issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic cough in individuals who smoke meth 
  • “Track marks” and increased risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV in individuals who inject meth 
  • Nosebleeds, perforated septum in individuals who snort meth, and nasal irritation 
  • Major dental issues such as tooth decay, loss of teeth, and gum disease 
  • Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and stroke 
  • Excessive malnutrition and weight loss
  • Aggressive or violent behavior 
  • Damage to cells in the brain 
  • Sores on the skin 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Seizures 
  • Anxiety 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Meth Addiction?

There are various signs and symptoms of an individual needing meth addiction treatment. Only a physician can truly diagnose a substance use disorder (SUD). There are numerous symptoms, side effects, and signs of meth use. To receive a diagnosis for a stimulant use disorder, an individual would have to demonstrate at least 2 of the following symptoms within at least 1 year:

  • The inability to stop using meth, even after it has caused or even worsened mental, interpersonal, and physical issues 
  • Developing a tolerance to the overall effects of meth, and where you need to use more of it to feel the same effects
  • Having trouble completing what needs to be done at school, work, or home because of meth  
  • Using meth in various situations that can be considered dangerous such as driving 
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining or utilizing meth or even crashing after a binge
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using meth 
  • Cutting back or quitting on hobbies as a result of meth use
  • Taking more meth or using it longer than originally planned
  • Wanting to cut back or stop using but being unable to
  • Experiencing strong cravings for meth 

There are a few signs of meth addiction to remain aware of if a person is worried they or someone they know and care about has an issue with meth. This includes the following:

  • Burns on the lips and fingers from smoking, track marks from injecting, nosebleeds from snorting 
  • Isolating from family and friends, or spending time with new friends
  • Major behavior changes that can occur quickly
  • Scratching at skin enough to cause sores
  • Moving and talking more than usual 
  • Sleeping and eating habits changes
  • Aggressive or chaotic behavior
  • Fast and rumbling speech
  • Significant weight loss
  • Excessive energy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood swings

Psychosis and Anhedonia

When an individual requires a meth addiction treatment program or treatment for meth addiction, they will engage in chronic use of meth and high dosage. After this process occurs, two long-term mental health concerns are associated with that type of usage: psychosis and anhedonia. 

Anhedonia is considered to be a reduced pleasure or interest that was previously enjoyed or thought of as a rewarding activity. There’s a theory that changes in the reward centers of the brain, along with changes in pleasure are a result of meth use that might have played a role in protracted anhedonia in various former meth users. Meth also can result in drug-induced and psychotic symptoms. 

Studies suggest that individuals who use meth intravenously or have a family history of psychosis are more at a heightened risk. Even though psychiatric symptoms generally resolve themselves within a week of abstinence, a few of these symptoms last longer after using and might recur in stressful times. The signs of psychosis include:

  • Hallucinations (as in hearing, seeing/hearing  things aren’t there, such as being convinced that bugs are crawling underneath the skin)
  • Delusions (example receiving messages through the television and are convinced they are real) 
  • Repetitive motor activity 
  • Paranoia 

What are Some Meth Addiction Treatment and Rehab Options?

Various forms of effective treatment are available to individuals with a meth addiction, and the most effective treatment options depend on each person. The majority of individuals who are addicted to meth will experience withdrawal, and detox for meth addiction treatment is the first step before receiving treatment for meth addiction. The stimulant withdrawal process is generally less physically dangerous than withdrawal from other substances such as sedatives, alcohol, opioids.

However, methamphetamine withdrawal can generate seizures in various people. Other potential dangers include the risk of overdose upon relapse and suicidal ideation. It typically takes roughly a week for the symptoms to leave, but the timeline for each individual’s withdrawal symptoms still varies. 

Detox should certainly be followed by various forms of meth addiction treatment that address cognitive and behavioral issues that are associated with addiction. Treatment for meth addiction can take place in numerous various settings. Inpatient rehab happens when you stay at a treatment facility that happens around the clock while receiving support and counseling. 

Outpatient treatment allows an individual to live at home and attends pre-scheduled appointments with varying intensity levels, depending on the progress and needs in treatment. Several meth rehab centers accept numerous forms of out-of-state and in-state insurance plans


If a loved one is struggling with a meth addiction and resisting meth addiction treatment, staging an intervention might be the first step in getting them adequate help. Thus, loved ones fear staging an intervention on their own due to the worry and concern that the individual addicted to meth might become violent or hostile once they are confronted. It can be challenging to approach a loved one that is struggling with addiction. 

Even though friends and family mean well, they might not exactly know what to say. Various responses might be said. The individual struggling with meth addiction might deny the fact that they have a drug problem in the first place, making open conversation extremely difficult. In certain situations, involving a professional intervention specialist will be most effective. 

Inpatient Treatment vs. Outpatient Treatment

Deciding on whether or not to choose an inpatient or outpatient meth addiction treatment program depends on a variety of personal factors. The meth treatment is particularly difficult due to the individual’s underlying psychological reasons for substance abuse and the addictive nature of the drug. The inpatient program might be a better option if the person has engaged in long-term or chronic meth abuse and struggles with the most intense withdrawal symptoms. 

The above-mentioned scenario can cause an individual to relapse or even fall into the old cycle of drug abuse if they aren’t in a stable environment. Inpatient rehab centers are safe places that are free of triggers and temptations. These programs are where individuals can regain control of their lives without the risk of relapse. 

On the pther hand, an outpatient rehabilitation program might be a more suitable option for an individual who has a milder addiction or has family/work obligations. Outpatient programs are part-time and allow the recovering users to continue their daily schedule of school or work. Inpatient programs can last between 30-90 days depending on the needs of every person, and outpatient programs typically require 10 to 12 hours a week spent at a treatment center. 

Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Therapy is extremely effective in treating meth addiction treatment programs. Addiction rehab programs typically incorporate some behavioral therapy techniques.

Contingency Management/Motivational Interviewing 

meth addiction rehabThis therapy method in which tangible rewards reinforce the positive behaviors such as attending treatment sessions and avoiding relapse. As an individual stays free from substance use, the actual reward of it might increase in value. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

One of the most used meth addiction treatment programs is cognitive behavioral therapy. This approach prevents relapse by increasing the overall awareness of high-risk situations, changing harmful behaviors, managing cravings, and developing coping skills. 

The Matrix Model 

This therapy option incorporates the following:

Meth Addiction Treatment Awaits at North Jersey Recovery 

Meth abuse can negatively change a person’s life. Its effects can continue to impact the individual for many years, both during and after active addiction. The health complications that can arise as a result of long-term meth use can be detrimental and even deadly. This is why it is so important to reach out for help immediately.

If you are suffering from meth addiction or you know someone else who is, now is the time to take action. Reach out to our compassionate team of addiction treatment specialists today. We are here to help you find the joy that comes with total freedom from addiction! Our facility exists to bring healing and health to the lives of people just like you.

All in all, meth addiction treatment can be extremely challenging because the drug is so potent. However, recovery is possible with the right support and level of determination. So, allow us to help you today. Get the help you need and deserve here at North Jersey Recovery Center.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Medical Reviewer

Laura comes to NJRC with 23 years of vast clinical experience in hospital, residential, outpatient, and community outreach settings where she has worked, supervised clinical teams, and volunteered. She has provided substance abuse and mental health counseling, clinical coordination, and advocacy to individuals, families and groups, and specializes in co-occurring disorders for both adults and adolescents.