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How To Help Someone With Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that has a high potential for misuse and addiction.1 Misusing meth can result in a wide range of harmful medical, socioeconomic, legal, and psychiatric consequences, including meth addiction, a type of stimulant use disorder.1, 2, 3

If someone you care about is struggling, you should know that meth addiction help is available. Evidence-based meth addiction treatment can help people start the path to recovery and regain control of their lives.4 Knowing how to help someone with meth addiction can be vital for helping a loved one seek treatment when they are ready.

Help For Meth Addiction

Although there are currently no FDA-approved medications designed for meth addiction recovery, behavioral therapies can provide many benefits for people who are dealing with addiction and misuse.4, 5

Evidence-based behavioral therapies can help people safely stop using meth, reduce their meth use, maintain abstinence, stay engaged in treatment, improve their health and well-being, promote methamphetamine recovery, and reduce the risk of mortality.4, 5, 6

What Are the Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction?

If someone you care about is misusing meth or struggling with meth addiction, you may observe certain signs. Someone who is actively using meth may display the following signs, which can include:

  • Seeming high or euphoric. 7
  • High levels of energy and motivation.7
  • Diminished appetite.7
  • Faster breathing.7
  • Inability to sleep.7
  • Mood changes.7
  • Problems thinking clearly, such as confusion or forgetfulness.8
  • Aggressive or violent behavior.8
  • Symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.8
  • Nervous activities, such as scratching themselves.9
  • Changes in their physical appearance, such as deteriorating teeth or skin.9
  • Having drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or syringes.9

Am I Addicted to Methamphetamine?

People who are addicted to meth are diagnosed with a stimulant use disorder, specifically, a methamphetamine use disorder.3 You should not attempt to diagnose yourself or someone else, as only a medical professional can provide a diagnosis. However, it can be helpful to understand the diagnostic criteria, which include:3

  • Using the stimulant in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • Expressing a persistent desire or displaying unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control stimulant use.
  • Spending a lot of time in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of meth.
  • Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use meth.
  • Failing to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home due to meth use.
  • Continuing meth use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of meth.
  • Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to meth use.
  • Recurrent meth use in situations in which it is physically hazardous to do so (such as while driving or operating machinery).
  • Continuing meth use despite the person’s knowing that they have a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by meth.
  • Tolerance, meaning a need for markedly increased amounts of meth to achieve intoxication or the desired effect, or an inability to experience the same effects with the same amount of meth.
  • Withdrawal, which refers to unpleasant symptoms that can develop when someone abruptly stops or cut down their dosage of the drug.

Approaching a Loved One About Getting Help With Meth Addiction

Although you cannot force someone to seek treatment, and the decision to stop using meth and enter rehab is ultimately up to them, you can take steps to help and show your concern and support. It’s important to understand that your support can make a significant difference in terms of their decision to enter as well as remain in treatment.10

The first step is to educate yourself about meth addiction, learn how to recover from meth, and understand treatment so you know what your loved one is dealing with and what their path might look like in the future. Remember to be conscious of maintaining healthy boundaries so that you can remain supportive without enabling or caretaking, as these behaviors often end up perpetuating the addictive behaviors.11 In addition, dealing with a loved one who is struggling with meth addiction can be stressful, so be sure to prioritize your own health and wellbeing as well.12

You might then decide to have a conversation about your concerns. Talking to your loved one in a supportive manner might involve:13

  • Setting aside a quiet time to talk.
  • Stating your concerns and feelings a direct yet empathic manner, and asking them to share their feelings and concerns as well.
  • Validating their feelings and concerns in a nonjudgmental manner.
  • Letting them know that evidence-based treatment can provide help for meth addiction, and offering to help them find suitable rehabs or meth support groups.
  • Remaining patient and returning to the conversation at a later point if they are not yet willing to hear you.

Meth Addiction Therapy Types

Meth addiction treatment can take place in various settings. The right setting for your loved one can depend on their unique needs.10 Common treatment settings include:

  • Inpatient or residential treatment. This means that your loved one will live onsite at a rehab and receive 24/7 care and attention, participate in different therapies and interventions, and have the opportunity to fully focus on their recovery.14
  • Outpatient rehab. This means your loved one can live at home, attend to daily responsibilities, and continue to work. They will travel to rehab on a regular schedule, which could involve evenings or weekends if that suits their needs.14 Outpatient programs can take place on a variety of levels of intensity, ranging from partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs, which are highly supportive and require attending treatment most days of the week, to standard outpatient programs, which may only require attending treatment 1-3 times per week.14

It’s not easy to know how to quit meth, but behavioral therapies are the most effective evidence-based therapies for meth addiction.5 top Meth addiction therapy can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is designed to help people identify and cope with cravings, triggers, and life stress.6 It teaches people the skills that are necessary to maintain abstinence.6
  • The Matrix Model, which is a multifaceted behavioral approach that involves a combination of behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities.5
  • Contingency management, which uses rewards to promote positive and healthy behaviors, and withholds rewards when the desired behaviors are not achieved.6
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, which, although not specifically designed for meth addiction, can help people decrease their substance use and other harmful behaviors, develop healthier ways of dealing with cravings, and encourage other healthy behaviors that are conducive to abstinence.15

Find Meth Addiction Treatment Programs

If you or someone you care about are interested in getting help with meth addiction, the first step might be to talk to your doctor, or help the person arrange an appointment, to discuss the problem, obtain a diagnosis, and ask for referrals to rehab. You can also use the DrugAbuse.com directory to find meth addiction rehabs that meet your, or your loved one’s, needs.

American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of meth programs, with rehabs across the nation. Please call our meth addiction hotline at to speak to a caring admissions navigator about our rehab options, verify your insurance, or to learn more about treatment for meth.

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