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Methamphetamine Use and Addiction: Signs, Effects, and Treatment

Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth, is a highly addictive substance that people may use for its stimulant effects.1 This article will help you learn more about meth, including the signs and effects of meth addiction, and how to find treatment if you or a loved one is struggling.
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What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system (CNS).2 It was developed in the early 20th century for licit purposes, such as bronchial inhalers, depression, and weight control before meth’s potential for addiction became increasingly understood.2, 3 Illicit meth comes in different forms, including liquid and powder, and is commonly produced in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S. where it may be transformed into crystal meth or pills.3, 4 Illicit meth is consumed in various ways, such as by injecting, smoking, snorting, or swallowing.3

A group of people holding hands while in group therapy for meth addiction.

A group of people in group therapy for meth addiction.

Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction

Addiction is a chronic yet treatable disease involving a complex interplay between a person’s brain circuits and genetics, as well as their environment and life experiences.6

Methamphetamine addiction is diagnosed as a stimulant use disorder.7 Medical professionals use criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to formulate a diagnosis.7 While only a medical professional can diagnose stimulant use disorder, knowing the criteria can help you understand when it might be time for you, or a loved one, to seek help.

Effects and Risks of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine abuse can pose numerous short- and long-term effects and risks.7 A person who is intoxicated from stimulants, including meth, may experience several behavioral and psychological changes such as anger, anxiety, hypervigilance, and impaired judgment, among others.

Two people holding hands while in a therapy session discussing meth addiction.

Two people hugging while in a therapy session for meth addiction.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment & Rehab Options

Although there are not yet any FDA-approved medications to treat meth addiction, other types of treatment are available, including behavioral therapies.12

Start Your Meth Addiction Recovery Today

No matter how challenging things might seem right now, there is always hope. Treatment is available to help you or your loved one.

If you’re ready to take the first step in the recovery process and find a rehab center, call our confidential, free helpline at to speak to a caring and knowledgeable admissions navigator. They can guide you through the admissions process, answer questions you have about paying for treatment, and explain your health insurance coverage for rehab. You can also submit your insurance information below to instantly verify your coverage at an American Addiction Centers facility.

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