Crystal Meth Addiction

Authored by Helen Parson

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por

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Crystal Meth Addiction and Treatment


Crystal Meth is one of the most highly abused drugs in the United States today. It is easy to produce, purchase, and use, making it a drug of choice for people across the country. The popularity of the television show “Breaking Bad” normalized meth production and use in many countries. There are arguments that due to the television show, meth use increased in the U.S. Regardless of whether this argument is true, there is no secret that meth use in the U.S. is on the rise.


Along with being a drug of choice for many people, meth is highly addictive. The drug is a stimulant and makes users more awake and alert. These feelings of energy attract many users. There is also a perceived sense of intelligence users experience after consuming the drug.


At one time, meth was used in medical settings as a weight loss drug and stimulant. However, it is now used as a recreation substance for people seeking a cheap high. Today, meth is a destructive drug that wreaks havoc on a user’s mind and body.

Why is Crystal Meth so Addictive?


Crystal meth is extremely addictive. In fact, it is far more addictive than many other drugs in the world. Using meth just a few times can quickly create a crippling addiction in which users struggle to function. Meth experts have called addiction to the drug a “death sentence” because the body and mind deteriorate when it is used.


Meth is a synthetic stimulant that attacks a user’s central nervous system. There is an extremely high potential for users to become addicted to it very quickly. Users feel alert and energized after using it. Due to the feel of being energized, people become hooked, which can occur after just one use.


The drug was used heavily during World War II by soldiers. Many men fighting on all sides were given the drug without knowing what it was. It kept them alert for hours, enabling soldiers to fight. Meth was later used in diet pills, and it was given to athletes and students to perform at high levels in the 1960s and 1970s.


Unfortunately, people realized that making meth was easy to do and cheap. They could then sell the drug for a tidy profit. Its addictive nature brought users back to purchase more.

What is Crystal Meth Addiction Like?


Meth has short-term effects that create an alert, awake feeling. Long-term abuse of the drug can cause a variety of health problems and lead to an early death. Meth provides users a sense of well-being and pleasure when the drug is first taken. These effects wear off over time. A crash typically occurs as the drug wears off.

Short-term effects of meth use include:


  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • A loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Erratic behavior
  • Seizures


It isn’t uncommon for individuals that regularly use meth to lose considerable amounts of weight. The drug reduces a person’s hunger. The drug’s ability to make a user feel awake creates sleep issues. Meth may cause an individual to stay up for days on end before crashing. A person could sleep for an entire day or longer.


Sleep deprivation can cause a person to be upset, emotional, angry, or agitated. Some individuals may become aggressive or violent. After using meth it is common for users to inject or smoke heroin to help with the comedown, which in turn may lead to heroin addiction.


Malnutrition is one of the chief issues a person experiences during long-term meth abuse and the heart may also experience irreversible damage11.C. Hamel and B. Hutton, Psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions for methamphetamine addiction: protocol for a scoping review of the literature – Systematic Reviews, BioMed Central.; Retrieved September 21, 2022, from


Some of the long-term effects of meth use include:


  • Damaged blood vessels in and around the brain
  • An increased risk of stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Lingering meth smell
  • Lung disease
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Malnutrition
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Tooth decay

Rehab for Crystal Meth Addiction


Meth addiction can be stopped. Residential and outpatient rehabs are available with programs to end meth addiction. Rehabs not only treat the addiction, but they address the underlying issues that exist. There are differences between residential and outpatient rehabs. The choice ultimately comes down to each person.


Residential rehab, often known as inpatient treatment, is typically better at treating meth addiction. An inpatient rehab facility takes the user out of the environment that fostered meth use. Meth is such an addictive drug that a person may be drawn back to it after attending an outpatient program. Residential care prevents individuals from leaving and returning to the drug.


Long-term meth users will experience severe withdrawal. Attending a residential rehab allows them to receive high-quality care. Staff will oversee the detox process and can help residents through it. Detox and withdrawal often lead to a quick relapse. However, residential rehab helps eliminate relapse. Inpatient rehab usually lasts 30 days. Clients needing additional care can stay for longer. There are also aftercare programs the rehab can organize for patients.


A person with a weaker addiction to meth may be able to access outpatient care. Outpatient programs are not full-time and the client simply attends sessions during the day before returning home. Most outpatient programs last 10 to 12 hours per week, while residential rehab provides help 24 hours per day.


Help for Meth Addiction


Meth addiction can be extreme and it can consume a person’s life. There is help available to people seeking treatment, but the first thing a person must do is acknowledge that there is a problem. Quality treatment allows an individual to end their addiction to meth once and for all.


Treatment plans provide more to clients than just therapy sessions. Residents are taught a variety of coping skills and to add aspects to their lives to replace the drug. Evidence-based and holistic treatment centers will add practices such as:


  • Yoga, mindfulness and meditation
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Massage and acupuncture therapy
  • Sports, exercise and nutrition


Holistic therapies reduce the amount of stress a person experiences and feels. These therapies do wonders for individuals recovering from meth addiction. Regardless of the type of rehab a person chooses, help can be found. Support for meth addiction is available for those individuals seeking change.


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    1.C. Hamel and B. Hutton, Psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions for methamphetamine addiction: protocol for a scoping review of the literature – Systematic Reviews, BioMed Central.; Retrieved September 21, 2022, from
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