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Crystal Meth Addiction, Rehab Treatment and Recovery Facts

Overview of Crystal Meth Abuse

  • Crystal meth is a highly addictive stimulant made by combining a variety of toxic chemicals and over-the-counter medications.
  • It is most commonly smoked, injected or snorted. The duration of its effects depends on how it is used.
  • Effects of crystal meth include euphoria, increased alertness, decreased appetite and insomnia.
  • Over time, users can develop a number of mental and physical health problems including psychosis, “meth mouth”, depression, weight loss, violent behavior and even death.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, intense cravings and suicidal ideation.
  • More than 1.5 million people are addicted to crystal meth in the U.S. and it is one of the hardest addictions to treat.

What Is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is an illegal street drug made in labs by combining different chemicals and medications sold over-the-counter, including cold medicine. The drug is cheap and provides a quick, powerful high, which makes it attractive to users. Casual use of crystal meth can quickly lead to methamphetamine addiction and a variety of serious health and social problems.

In its pure form, crystal meth is a clear to white crystalline substance that resembles long, thin shards of broken glass.

Crystal Meth Recovery Options

Many different options are available for treating the symptoms of crystal meth addiction. Recovery is possible for anyone struggling with methamphetamine abuse. Figuring out which type of treatment is the best for you means doing a little research beforehand and getting more information about how crystal meth abuse is treated.

Crystal meth addiction treatment options include:

  • 12-Step recovery programs. The 12-Step program specifically for crystal meth abusers is called Crystal Meth Anonymous. Another program, Narcotics Anonymous, welcomes anyone struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Outpatient methamphetamine addiction treatment. An outpatient program is for people who are transitioning out of a residential program into a lower level of treatment or who have a less severe addiction. You come to the rehab facility on certain days of the week and attend group or individual therapy sessions.
  • Inpatient meth addiction treatment programs provide a high level of care and support for people who have a serious addiction to crystal meth or who have tried another program and relapsed. You remain at the rehab center throughout the course of your treatment and attend individual therapy, group therapy and addiction education groups.
  • Dual diagnosis recovery centers are for people who have a crystal meth abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Many people who become addicted to crystal meth either have a mental health disorder or may have developed one from long-term meth use.

Crystal Meth Effects

Crystal meth is most commonly smoked, injected or snorted. When smoked, it is usually done in glass pipes, similar to how crack cocaine is used. On average, the full effects of ice occur within minutes of snorting. Effects are felt nearly instantaneously when smoked or injected.

The duration of the effects of crystal meth abuse depends on how the drug is used. If it’s injected or swallowed, the effects can last 6-8 hours. If it’s smoked or snorted, the effects can last up to 12 hours.

Short-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use

  • Increased energy.
  • Euphoria.
  • Decreased hunger.
  • Hyperactivity.

Side Effects of Crystal Meth Use

  • Increased attention and alertness.
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia), body temperature (hyperthermia), breathing rate (tachypnea) and blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Insomnia.
  • Aggression.
  • Increased libido.
  • Tremors.
  • Jaw clenching.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Increased sociability.1,2

Life-Threatening Effects of Crystal Meth Use

  • Stroke.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • Heart attack.
  • Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), which can lead to kidney failure.
  • Heart failure.
  • Seizures.
  • Hyperthermia (extremely high body temperature).
  • Sudden death.2, 3


Long-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use

The longer someone uses crystal meth, the more they increase their risk of developing many physical and mental problems. These long-term effects may include:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism), causing tooth wear.
  • Psychosis.
  • Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect).
  • Dependence (addiction).
  • Extreme paranoia.
  • Major depression.
  • Compulsive skin picking (dermatillomania).
  • Memory impairment.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Agitation.
  • Violent or aggressive behavior.
  • Weight loss.
  • Death.4

Dental Problems Caused by Crystal Meth Use

Those who abuse crystal meth may develop a dental condition called “meth mouth”. This condition is caused by a combination of factors:

  • Some acidic contaminants in crystal meth can erode tooth enamel with frequent use.
  • Users commonly grind and clench their teeth, damaging surface enamel.
  • Dry mouth from crystal meth abuse deprives teeth of protective saliva and can result in a condition known as xerostomia. This further sets the stage for cavities, acidic erosion and a variety of oral infections.
  • Users crave sugary drinks and frequently expose their teeth to sugary acids.
  • The long-lasting high (up to 12 hours) causes users to neglect oral hygiene.5, 6

Health Problems From Injecting Crystal Meth

People who inject crystal meth may develop health issues from needle use, such as:

  • Collapsed veins.
  • Skin infections.
  • Blood infections.
  • Spread of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.2

How to Find Crystal Meth Rehab Centers Near Me

You may be wondering how to recover from a meth addiction. Crystal meth addiction is one of the hardest addictions to treat. Crystal meth addicts who go to rehab have a long-term success rate of just 12%, which means they have an 88% relapse rate, and no medications are approved for meth addiction treatment. Attending recovery programs at the best meth rehab centers for your individual requirements can provide you with a chance of achieving long-lasting sobriety.

You may be wondering, ‘where can I find meth detox near me?’ or ‘where can I find the best crystal meth rehab near me?’ You can contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) for free at for more information on how to quit meth and find inpatient or outpatient methamphetamine addiction treatment centers near your location. You can also check your insurance benefits or use the form below to determine whether your insurance will cover meth rehab at an AAC facility.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

When attempting to detox from methamphetamine, addicts may experience an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome. Crystal meth withdrawal can lead to a number of symptoms, including:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fatigue.
  • Intense craving for crystal meth.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Duration of Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal will usually appear within 72 hours of stopping use. The first phase of withdrawal is intense and lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 days. Meth cravings peak at around 3 months and decrease substantially by 6 months. Long-term cognitive effects from methamphetamine use show significant improvement after 1 year of abstinence from the drug.

Due to the risks of severe depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts, users attempting to quit methamphetamine should seek medical supervision during withdrawal.7

American Addiction Centers has helped thousands recover from addiction and we can help you or your loved one too. Check your insurance to find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies. You can also sign up 24/7 text support for addiction questions at your convenience. Contact AAC for free at for meth addiction recovery help.

Methamphetamine Overdose Symptoms

It is possible to overdose on crystal methamphetamine. Users can overdose on relatively small doses, too, especially when they combine crystal meth with other drugs or when they have pre-existing medical conditions.

If you suspect crystal meth overdose, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room for medical evaluation and treatment.

Signs of Crystal Meth Overdose

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Chest pain.
  • Seizures.
  • Extreme paranoia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attack.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Delirium.
  • Tremors.
  • Increased body temperature (hyperthermia).
  • Widespread muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis).
  • Kidney failure secondary to rhabdomyolysis. 7

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