How Is Rehab For Meth Different Than Other Drugs

Steve Trevino
January 13, 2022

Meth is a powerful drug and one of the hardest to overcome. This makes meth addiction treatment a challenge compared to alcohol or other drugs like cocaine and marijuana. A full recovery from meth needs an extensive meth addiction treatment plan, which comprises patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare (support groups).

Detox purges the physical presence of meth from the body and helps user adjust to normal functioning without the drug. Therapy addresses psychological damage done by meth abuse and also arms the patient with coping skills to maintain long-term sobriety. Aftercare involves support groups that help keep the recovering user in line and accountable.

Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant with short and long-term health effects. Meth abuse may also result in substance use disorders and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

This article discusses meth addiction treatment in detail, and how rehab for meth is different than other drugs.

How is rehab for meth different?

Rehab for meth is different than other drugs because it typically involves four steps. These all need to be completed to make a full recovery. The steps are; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare.

On the other hand, treatment for most drugs, including cocaine and alcohol, mostly incorporate two steps; detox and therapy.


Meth addiction treatment: outpatient vs. inpatient programs

If you or your loved one decide to seek treatment for meth addiction, you will have to choose between the inpatient and outpatient programs. Your choice will significantly depend on personal reasons as well as the extent of addiction.

Outpatient treatment would be ideal if you have a weak addiction and didn’t get a dual diagnosis. You can also opt for it if you have work or school obligations.

Outpatient treatment programs are part-time. Therefore, you can select hours that allow you to continue performing your day-to-day activities. Most treatment centers require their patients to spend at least 12 hours a week at the rehab facilities for counseling and detox.

Inpatient treatment is recommended if you have abused meth for an extended time. Most chronic abusers usually experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, relapse is pretty common

Inpatient rehab centers provide a stable environment where you get meth addiction treatment without the danger of relapse. The program can last for 1-3 months, depending on the severity of the addiction and individual needs.

Meth addiction treatment: The steps in treatment.

Although treatment of meth addiction is challenging due to the drug’s addictive nature and psychological factors, several treatment options are available. Most treatment facilities offer treatment options that deal with both substance addiction and mental health conditions as a package. This is commonly called co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis. 

Every meth addiction treatment plan has four steps; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and counseling. 

Patient assessment

Before your doctor prescribes treatment, you will undergo a patient assessment. The assessment determines your addiction level and the type of care you will need. You will also undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not you have underlying mental health issues that require treatment.



Detox is the process where methamphetamine is expelled from your body. Usually, methamphetamine abuse builds your tolerance and leads to physical dependence. Therefore, when you decide to quit, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Most medical practitioners usually recommend medical-assisted detox because it is safer and has proved successful. Additionally, doctors can monitor your vital signs and prescribe drugs to make the withdrawal stage bearable. For instance, your doctor can prescribe benzodiazepines if you panic or become agitated as your body adjusts to functioning without meth.


Therapy is the next step after detox. Most treatment centers adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing your behavior to halt unhealthy patterns. 

During CBT, you will learn the underlying reasons for the meth abuse and drug-free ways to deal with stress. Additionally, you learn to recognize your emotional or environmental triggers, stop the negative impulses, and use healthy coping mechanisms.

CBT has proved effective in treating meth addiction and co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression.

Matrix model

Some treatment centers opt for the matrix model, a 16-week behavioral treatment program for meth addicts. The matrix model combines behavioral therapy, family therapy, drug testing, drug-free activities, and a 12-step component.

Support groups

For you to retain your sobriety, you need aftercare. Support groups are an aftercare method that works for most people that previously struggled with drug addiction.

The two most common support groups for recovering meth addicts are; Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

These support groups give recovering meth addicts a sense of belonging, mutual trust, and friendship with people who have similar experiences.

Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a 12-step-programs that aim at personal growth and relapse prevention. In this program, members inventory their day-to-day lives. They also make amends with those they hurt due to their addiction and support other recovering addicts by disclosing their personal experiences.


Support groups are free, and anyone recovering from meth addiction can join. You can also get a sponsor of your gender to guide you through the 12 steps.

Alternatively, you can opt for Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), a model that incorporates CBT and 12-step programs elements.

Using medication to reduce meth cravings

Although the FDA has not yet approved medication that helps with meth cravings, a few successfully reduce meth cravings in most patients. They include;

1. Bupropion - several clinical trials have concluded that bupropion can reduce meth craving in patients who have a less severe addiction.

2. Dextroamphetamine - medical trials on the effect of dextroamphetamine in meth addiction treatment found that patients who used the drug were less likely to relapse.

3. Nicotine - small amounts of nicotine may prevent meth cravings in people whose meth addiction is not severe.

4. Rivastigmine - a recent study revealed that this drug might be effective in reducing meth cravings.

5. Naltrexone - studies show that naltrexone may prevent meth cravings and inhibit meth-seeking behavior.

Do treatment facilities use any medication in meth addiction treatment?

Most treatment facilities use medication during detox and treatment for meth addiction. However, the type of medication varies with each facility.

At the moment, there aren’t any FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. However, rehab centers may prescribe medication that offers promising results in managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing meth cravings.


Why should you get treatment for meth addiction?

Using crystal meth has significant social, medical, and psychological effects. They include but are not limited to:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Paranoia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Hypothermia.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Confusion.
  • Dental problems.

Start your recovery journey today!

Meth addiction is challenging to treat, but it is not impossible. With the proper treatment, you or your loved one can make a full recovery and live a healthy, drug-free life.

At MoreThanRehab, we offer high-quality, individualized treatment for meth addiction. We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Our qualified staff will walk you through every stage of your addiction recovery. 

Call us today to start your recovery journey. 


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About The Author: 
Steve Trevino
Steve Trevino is married to Julie, his high school sweetheart and they have two daughters. He is the founder and executive director of CrossCentral Church and Recovery Center. With experience in both non-profit and for-profit treatment, he has helped thousands find freedom from addiction through residential programs, recovery workshops and consulting around the world.

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