Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Getting Help, Detox, Treatment, and More

Inpatient or residential options involve you staying at a 24-hour facility with intensive professional care, including medical supervision. There, you will likely participate in education sessions, individual and group counseling, and behavior therapies. At Hazelden Betty Ford addiction treatment centers, evidence-based approaches to drug addiction treatment are utilized by a licensed and accredited multidisciplinary care team. Our treatment program options include cognitive-behavioral therapy, Twelve Step facilitation and medication-assisted therapies. If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, call us to learn about rehab options and start living the life you deserve.

meth addiction

Some users have been known to feel insects crawling beneath their skin. “He picks and picks and picks at himself, like there are bugs inside his face,” the mother of one meth addict told The Spokesman-Review. Users of crystal meth report initially feeling euphoric, experiencing an intense, long-lasting rush after the first use. This is because methamphetamine floods the brain with dopamine, the feel-good chemical responsible for pleasure, reward and motivation. Blood pressure spikes, thoughts race, users often have to keep moving even though they’re accomplishing nothing. In addition to the mechanisms of physical dependence, there are also social, experiential, and environmental factors that may place a person at greater risk of developing crystal meth addiction.


A New York man who ran a “Breaking Bad”-style drug lab inadvertently turned himself in when he called police to report a burglary, prosecutors said. ∎ The presence of cocaine samples in fentanyl-positive specimens surged 318% from 2013 to 2023. Overall, 93% of fentanyl samples tested positive for at least one other substance, a concerning finding, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Meth use is linked to increased rates of pregnancy complications. Meth abuse can cause insomnia, anxiety, and violent or psychotic behavior.

Narcan, a nasal spray version of naloxone, can be purchased and is kept in stock by public health departments, schools, police and fire departments and federal agencies nationwide. Chain retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Walmart began selling Narcan over the counter without a prescription. “Methamphetamine is more potent, more pure and probably cheaper than it’s ever been at any time in this country,” Dawson said.

Are Medications Used in Meth Treatment?

There is no quick and easy cure for meth abuse/addiction, but substance use disorders can be treated with physical and psychological methods. Meth addiction treatment options include medically supervised detox, inpatient addiction treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient rehab, and relapse prevention. By 1971, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (USDEA) classified all amphetamines as Schedule II controlled substances, citing the potential for abuse, dependence and addiction. The pure form of methamphetamine, Desoxyn, is rarely ever prescribed in the U.S. Meth use increases the brain’s production of feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin.

  • People who regularly inject the drug may suffer from collapsed veins and a higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
  • “Whether you have a history of drug addiction or not, has not bearing on whether you get addicted to this drug,” Staley tells FRONTLINE.
  • Many of the changes that happen regarding how the person feels and behaves result from how the drug impacts the brain and the nervous system.
  • This crawling feeling is due to an increased body temperature, leading to sweating and oily skin, combined with the fact that the body is dehydrated.
  • A number of these neurotoxic effects lead to significant damage in the dendrites of neurons.

Severe depression is common among meth users coming down from the drug. Meth causes euphoria, increased energy, and other desirable effects for its users. Unfortunately, the ‘positive’ effects of meth can quickly become unpleasant post-meth-high. This can lead to paranoia, aggression, and violence as users come off their highs. People suffering from meth addiction may try to hide the side effects of meth use from their friends and family.

Meth and the Brain

In a recent study, 15.7% of meth users reported experiencing hallucinations long-term, even if they stopped use, and heavy meth users increased their odds of experiencing hallucinations by 50%. Understanding how a meth addict thinks and feels can be valuable if you have a loved one dealing with meth addiction. You might not necessarily understand what it feels like to be addicted to meth, but you can glean some insight into the nature of addiction. It can help you see that when the person lashes out, lies or steals, it’s not a personal attack against you.

meth addiction

But while contemporary culture may idealize slim figures, heavy meth users often become gaunt and frail. Their day- or week-long meth “runs” are usually accompanied by tooth-grinding, poor diet, and bad hygiene, which lead to mouths full of broken, stained and rotting teeth. Research in primate models has found that methamphetamine alters brain structures involved in decision-making and impairs the ability to suppress habitual behaviors that have become useless or counterproductive. Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers.

Curiosity, boredom, peer pressure, weight loss, to fill a void—the reasons vary for why people try meth for the first time. The common thread of advice among many methamphetamine addicts, though, is don’t try it at all. It’s not worth the risk of getting hooked after just one use. The body can quickly become dependent on the chemicals, leading to methamphetamine addiction.

By the 1950s, amphetamine, marketed as Benzedrine, was widely used to treat asthma, hayfever and colds. During the Vietnam War, amphetamine, nicknamed “pep pills,” was issued to American soldiers to “increase alertness” during lengthy jungle expeditions. Once the drug wore off, many soldiers reported feeling anxious, angry and aggressive.

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