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How is Meth Addiction Treated?

Addiction to methamphetamines is a severe medical condition that often needs professional help. Methamphetamine is a stimulant substance often referred to as "meth," "speed," or "crystal" and is widely available in the United States. There are around 1.6 million annual users of methamphetamines, many of whom are addicted to the drug.


You may be thinking about what kind of help is out there if you're struggling with a methamphetamine abuse problem. Keep reading to learn about the most helpful remedies for methamphetamine addiction and how you can begin your journey to healing.

Criteria To Identify Someone With A Methamphetamine Disorder

A diagnosis of a methamphetamine use disorder is the initial stage of receiving crystal meth abuse treatment. Though some people may get addicted after using meth, that is not the case for everyone. For instance, some individuals may try the drug once or twice as an experiment and then decide they don't like it and never use it again. However, some may fall prey to addiction.


Addiction to stimulants is an actual mental illness. Addiction to stimulant substances, such as methamphetamine, is a hallmark of this disorder. Despite its prevalence, methamphetamine addiction is not recognized as a discrete medical assessment.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is the go-to reference book for mental health practitioners diagnosing stimulant use disorder due to methamphetamine abuse. As a result, medical professionals pay attention to the following signs:


  • Taking more meth than intended or keeping up with your meth use for a more extended period.

  • Facing serious difficulties in reducing or eliminating meth usage.

  • Refusing to stop taking methamphetamine despite its harmful effects.

When Does Methamphetamine Dependency Become An Issue That Requires Treatment?

Treatment for drug addiction is often necessary even if you don't believe you have a meth use disorder based on the formal clinical guidelines. Get specialized care if your methamphetamine use is interfering with your life goals and you have struggled to quit by yourself.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Treatment Options for Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine addiction can be treated using several effective methods. However, even though the plans we outline below have all been shown to be successful, what helps one person may not help you. To identify the most effective therapy method, patients must try many approaches before seeing improvement.


Some of the more popular approaches to dealing with methamphetamine addiction are listed below. Consult a doctor about enrolling in either of these treatments if you're attempting to kick your meth dependency.

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Behavior modification treatment aims to break destructive routines by teaching new, healthier ones.


New, non-medicinal methods of dealing with stress are the primary emphasis of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It requires being aware of when and how we have an adverse impulsive reaction to external or internal stimuli, being able to interrupt that reaction, and replacing it with something more constructive.

2. Contingency Management

Individuals who complete treatment and maintain sobriety are rewarded in practical ways via the CM behavioral therapy approach.


For example, recipients may get coupons redeemable for meals or tickets to a special event. In many cases, recipients are rewarded for each successful drug-testing urine sample submission or after completing a certain number of treatment sessions.

Essentially, CM and similar therapies reward good behavior and discourage undesirable actions. Methamphetamine addiction, like other stimulants, may be effectively treated using incentive-based models of care. Participants receiving therapy based on CM are statistically much more willing to complete their treatment plan than those receiving conventional therapy.

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3. Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR)

When treating stimulant addiction, one incentive-based therapy known as MIEDAR has shown to be very beneficial. It was created after studies indicated that offering monetary vouchers for successful drug tests was efficient but not cost-effective.


They discovered the same results for far less money by having successful participants pick raffle tickets from a bowl. The rewards on some of the keys are substantial, while others are far more modest. It has been shown that MIEDAR, like other CM-based therapies, increases the proportion of formerly drug-using individuals who remain abstinent and complete treatment.

4. The Matrix Model

The Matrix Model is a scientifically-supported treatment method for substance abuse, including cocaine and methamphetamine consumption. Treatment facilities and rehabilitation facilities frequently use this program.


People going through the Matrix Model program have weekly, small-group sessions. According to the Matrix Model, there are three distinct forms of treatment:


  • Acquiring knowledge of the physiological effects of methamphetamine use in recovery.

  • Establishing connections with local resources is an important step.

  • Testing Urine.

Scientific studies have shown that former stimulant drug users, such as methamphetamine users, who participate in and finish the Matrix Model program have a higher chance of remaining drug-free.

5. Medication

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet authorized any drugs to treat methamphetamine abuse. Some medications, though, are in the testing phase, and the results of those tests are encouraging.


Naltrexone, marketed under the trade name Vivitrol, and Bupropion, taken orally, are two drugs that have shown promise in helping people with meth use disorder overcome their addiction. 


Further study is required to validate this and to get approval for medication-assisted therapy of methamphetamine dependence. However, the aforementioned psychosocial therapies continue to be the first line of defense in the battle against this condition.

What To Do If You Find Someone With A Meth Addiction?

It might be challenging to know what to do if a friend or family member is struggling with meth addiction. However, having the backing of loved ones might be crucial in getting someone to therapy and keeping them there.


The best method to encourage someone to get help is to be open and honest about your worries without placing blame or making them feel bad. You can also aid them in dealing with the emotional strains of their rehabilitation.


Helping a dear one in the early recovery process is as simple as locating appropriate care, arranging transportation to and from consultations, and inviting them to join you in counseling or support group meetings.

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Criteria to identify someone with a methamphetamine disorder
When does meth dependency become an issue that requires treatment?
Treatment Options for Meth Addiction
1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
2. Contingency Management

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3. Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR)
4. The Matrix Model
What To Do If You Find Someone With A Meth Addiction?
5. Medication
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