Meth Addiction: Effects, Withdrawal, & Rehab

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug, with a high potential for abuse and dependence.1 The use of crystal meth can lead to both addiction and to a multitude of dangerous physical and mental health outcomes.3
Did you know most health insurance plans cover addiction treatment?
About Meth

What Is Crystal Meth?

Crystal methamphetamine might look similar to “rocks” that are blue-white and shiny or similar to little glass pieces.2,3,4 A person could inject or smoke crystal meth.4

Crystal meth produces a rapid and quickly fading high, and people will often use it in a binge and crash pattern where they use the drug over and over every few hours until finally crashing. 3

Street Names for Crystal Meth

Knowing the street names for crystal meth may help you determine whether someone you love is using this dangerous stimulant. Street names include: 3,4,8

  • Speed.
  • Chalk.
  • Tina.
  • Crystal.
  • Shards.
  • Glass.
  • Ice.
  • Crank.
  • Go fast.
  • Fire.

Is Crystal Meth Addictive?

neurons in the brain reacting to methamphetamine useYes, crystal methamphetamine is very addictive.2-7 Methamphetamine is capable of causing large quantities of dopamine to be released quickly in brain regions that are involved with reward; this can cause a person who uses meth to want to do it again.3,10

Risks & Effects

Immediate & Short-Term Effects of Meth

In the short-term, some ways that meth might impact a person include:3,10,11

  • Nausea.
  • Appetite reduction.
  • Lessening of fatigue.
  • Disruption of patterns of sleep.
  • Increase in breathing.
  • Blood pressure elevation.
  • Instigation of behavior that is odd, violent, hostile, erratic, and/or irritable.
  • Raised temperature.
  • Heartbeat that is not regular.
  • Fast heart rate.

Meth Overdose

Overdosing on meth might cause:3,5,6,10

  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Convulsions.
  • Issues with organs.
  • Unsafely high temperature.
  • Death.

Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction

Issues that might result from using meth long-term include:3,11

  • Itching significantly, and scratching could result in skin sores.
  • Anxiousness.
  • Significant decrease in weight.
  • Serious dental issues, sometimes referred to as “meth mouth”.
  • Blood pressure that is high, which could result in stroke, heart attack, and death.
  • Worsened coordination.
  • Harm to brain, kidney, heart, lung, and/or liver.
  • Trouble with sleep.
  • Confusion.
  • Memory issues.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Delusions.
  • Paranoia.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Addiction.

Meth is able to impact an individual’s judgment and decrease an individual’s inhibitions; methamphetamine could lead an individual to act in a way that is hazardous, such as sexual actions that are risky.3,12-15 Additionally, methamphetamine might raise a person’s libido.12,13,15 Therefore, meth can make a person’s risk of catching or passing on hepatitis and HIV/AIDS higher even if that person does not inject it.3,4,8,12-16

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of Crystal Meth Addiction

Signs of a meth addiction, or methamphetamine use disorder, include:18

  • Craving crystal meth.
  • Frequently using more meth or using meth for more time than intended.
  • Expending a large amount of time doing things that are needed for using or getting meth or for recuperating from its effects.
  • In circumstances where using meth is dangerous physically, using it anyway.
  • Attempting to control or decrease use of meth but not succeeding, or persistently wanting to control or reduce use of it.
  • Even though meth’s effects brought on or worsened interpersonal or social issues that are lasting or occurring repeatedly, still using meth.
  • Even though knowing meth probably brought on or worsened a mental or physical issue that is lasting or occurring repeatedly, still using it.
  • Experiencing meth withdrawal (and/or to alleviate or evade symptoms of withdrawal, using meth or using another substance that is similar).
  • Experiencing tolerance (keeping using a consistent meth amount has significantly less impact, and/or getting the effect wanted or getting intoxicated requires significantly more meth).
  • Not fulfilling important duties at home, school, or work due to repeated use of meth.
  • Due to use of meth, decreasing doing or no longer doing things that are important and are related to recreation, are social, or are related to work.
Withdrawal & Detox

What Is Meth Withdrawal?

Withdrawal, or a “crash”, may occur if an individual stops using meth; this individual may experience depression, anxiousness, psychosis, anger, cravings, and/or tiredness.3,8,17,18 While going through withdrawal from a stimulant, a person might even become suicidal.18,19

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

Acute meth withdrawal symptoms, including intense cravings, low mood, anxiety, fatigue, depression and potentially suicidal thoughts may last about 2 weeks.

Is Meth Withdrawal Dangerous?

For meth, physical symptoms are rarely dangerous, meaning they likely won’t require medical intervention; however, the psychological symptoms can present dangers to the patient. For example, depression and suicidal thoughts are a risk during stimulant withdrawal.19

Withdrawal may be more complicated when other substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or sedatives are used in combination with meth. In these cases, medical detox can ensure patient safety. Medical detoxification refers to medical interventions used to treat acute withdrawal from a substance.


Addiction Treatment

Treating Meth Addiction

It is important that a person’s addiction treatment fits that person’s needs and is suitable for that person.21 When looking for treatment, look for a provider or program that can meet your needs.

When looking for treatment for an addiction, check at the option(s) you are considering if the treatments that are utilized are backed by evidence.22 Behavioral therapies are currently the most efficacious ways to treat addiction to meth.23 Motivational incentives and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are two types of behavioral therapies that could be utilized to treat an individual’s addiction to meth.3,23

Additionally, when looking for addiction treatment, check at the option(s) you are considering if treatment is adjusted for any changes in the needs of the individual and if the treatment has an adequate duration.22

What Types of Treatment Are There for Meth Addiction?

Settings where a person may participate in addiction treatment include: 21

  • Inpatient rehabilitation. A 24/7 treatment option offering close medical and psychiatric supervision.
  • Residential rehab. Live-in treatment that typically lasts several weeks to several months.
  • Partial hospitalization. An intensive treatment option with the flexibility of living at home.
  • Intensive outpatient. Treatment program providing about 3 hours of treatment, 3 hours per day.
  • Standard outpatient. Lowest level of outpatient care offering minimal treatment hours per week.

Often, treatment plans will include more than of the above, for example a patient may begin in a residential rehab and move on to intensive outpatient program and eventually occasional outpatient visits.

How to Get into Rehab for Meth Addiction

If you’re struggling and unsure where to begin, you can call one of our admissions navigators now at . We’ll discuss what to expect when you start the admissions process and help you understand your treatment options and payment options (insurance, financing, etc.).

Alternatively, you can begin the process by verifying that your health insurance will cover treatment with our

We’re here to help you every step of the way, even helping you make travel arrangements and providing a sober escort to the facility. Don’t wait another day to get help. Even if you feel hopeless now, recovery is possible.

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