Crystal Meth Treatment Options
There are two primary types of facilities to treat crystal meth addiction: inpatient and outpatient.
Outpatient facilities allow people to reside at home and come to the treatment center on a regular basis. This option is beneficial for someone who has a relatively mild addiction, a strong sober support system, reliable transportation to the facility, and a strong motivation to quit crystal meth. People who want minimal disruption to their daily schedules often choose outpatient rehab. They can continue to fulfill responsibilities at home, school, or work while receiving addiction treatment.
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), or day treatment programs, involve several hours per day, 5-7 days per week of treatment from both medical and nonmedical staff members.
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) involve about 6-9 hours per week of therapy. The staff members are typically nonmedical.
- Standard outpatient is the least intensive of the outpatient programs and may involve 2-4 hours per week in a clinic or doctor's office setting.2
Inpatient services provide a place to live and 24-hour support and treatment. This option is appropriate for those with severe crystal meth addiction, polydrug addiction, a co-occurring mental health condition, a medical condition, a medical concern or consideration, such as pregnancy, and previous crystal meth relapses.2
The setting that you choose may also depend on whether you have already completed a detox program or not. If you haven't and are severely physically dependent on methamphetamine, you may want to consider an inpatient rehab that also offers 24-hour detox services. Although crystal meth withdrawal isn't inherently life-threatening, depression can be very severe and may lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Professional inpatient detox can keep you safe during the withdrawal process.2
If you have already completed detox, then your treatment team should have provided you with a plan to transition to the appropriate level of substance abuse treatment, based on your addiction, mental health, physical condition, and other factors.
Do I Need a Residential Facility?
The thought of treatment at a residential facility may seem somewhat overwhelming because, for the treatment duration, you will not be working, going to school, or fulfilling your day-to-day obligations. Instead, you will be 100 percent focused on treating your addiction.
If you have been abusing crystal meth for an extended period of time, have experienced serious impairment to your life as a result of crystal meth use, and are dependent on crystal meth, you may want to seek the structure of a residential program.
Dependence, although different from addiction, is a major sign of addiction. Chronic crystal meth use can lead to significant physiological stimulant dependence, which means that the body has adapted to the presence of meth and requires it to function normally. If a dependent individual abruptly quits using crystal meth, withdrawal symptoms will emerge. These withdrawal symptoms may be especially pronounced in those who used crystal meth in a binge and crash pattern—which consists of using the drug repeatedly for days at a time, forgoing food and sleep. Since these withdrawal symptoms can be quite distressing, individuals may immediately return to crystal meth use to alleviate them. This can promote the extremely maladaptive cycle of compulsive use, quitting, and relapse commonly seen in people with crystal meth addiction.
Once away from the drug, patients can experience extreme depression.
Some common crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include:1,2
- Severe crystal meth cravings.
- Increased appetite.
- Slowed movements and thoughts.
- Profound fatigue.
- Intense depression.
- Suicidal ideation or attempts.
If you struggle with compulsive crystal meth use, you may require the help of a residential treatment program to quit. Crystal meth abuse can have extremely dangerous and detrimental consequences, such as:1
- Meth mouth (severe dental problems).
- Heart attack.
- Kidney failure.
- Skin sores due to itching.
- Violent behaviors.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Coordination problems.
- Memory deficits.
Seeking a residential rehab center sooner rather than later can help to prevent or avoid some of these negative effects of crystal meth abuse by helping you achieve sobriety.
The time you spend in treatment will depend on several factors, such as insurance coverage, addiction severity, the person's mental health status, the amount of time you can reasonably take off work or school, etc. Some patients start out on a one-month program and then continue on with an outpatient program for ongoing treatment. For more severe cases in which the patient may require significant medical and psychological help, inpatient treatment can last two to three months (or more, if needed). There may be more impetus to spend even more time at a treatment facility if the environment you will return to could be detrimental to your recovery, such as an abusive home or one in which there are other negative influences.
What Will I Do in Treatment?
Treatment for crystal meth addiction generally follows a set pattern:
- Taking the patient's medical and addiction history. This includes a description of how often and for how long the patient has been taking the drug, as well as factors that may have led to addiction.
- The patient goes through detoxification. During this period, a patient no longer has access to the drug and will go through several days of withdrawal with the supervision and support of the treatment staff. Though there are no medications specifically approved to manage stimulant dependence and withdrawal, patients may be administered supportive medications to mitigate some withdrawal symptoms.
- Therapy for psychological issues to get to the root of the addiction and address these underlying problems. This includes one-on-one therapy as well as group therapy.
- Often, the Matrix Model (MM) is used to address stimulant addiction. MM utilizes many other time-tested approaches, such as relapse prevention training, drug education, family therapy, and more. This multifaceted treatment method has proven effective for individuals addicted to stimulants like crystal meth.4
- Aftercare, usually outpatient, for follow-up counseling and support. While in treatment, staff work to create a plan that meets the patients' needs and takes into account their progress in their recovery.
Rehab programs are very confidential and required to follow the same Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations as hospitals. This means that they are not allowed to release your records to anyone but you and anyone that you authorize.
Attending a residential treatment center may require an extended absence from work, so you may need to consider how you will handle that and what you will say to your employer. Many places of employment sponsor Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that provide therapy and counseling for those who need help with an addiction to crystal meth or other substances.
How Can I Pay for Rehab?
Crystal meth rehabilitation centers are not inexpensive, and luxury and top-rated facilities will cost more. There are state-supported services that cost less, but may not be as readily available to everyone throughout the country. Private inpatient facilities can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $58,000, depending on the services provided and the duration of treatment.3
Many insurance providers will pay for a portion of the fee for inpatient treatment facilities, but there is usually a limit. If you want a private room, then you may have to pay extra, but private rooms are available in some rehab locations. Make sure to call your insurance company to learn more about what your plan covers.
Remember that with the numerous dangers of using crystal meth, the price you will pay living in active addiction will far outweigh the cost of your treatment.
It's tempting to think that the end of an inpatient stay signals the end of treatment, but living in recovery takes continual effort. Many people who are attempting to overcome a crystal meth addiction will need to have a plan for relapse prevention. Cravings will no doubt come and go and, at some times, may be incredibly intense. Attending regular support groups, going to outpatient therapy, and keeping up with healthy activities can help you to refuse opportunities to use meth.
Sometimes, the abrupt transition from a residential program where you are in a protected environment with a professional and supportive treatment staff back to your home can be too much, especially if you have many triggers in your normal environment. In these cases, recovery housing can be a good fit for you, as you'll live in a supportive home with other people in recovery.
Recovering from crystal meth addiction is a lifelong journey. Your treatment team will help you to create a plan to manage stress, avoid triggering situations, handle cravings, and get continuous support. This might look like a step-down to outpatient therapy, a schedule for 12-step meeting participation, a move into a sober living home, etc. Your plan will be based on your stressors and supports.
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Methamphetamine.
2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP), 45.
3. American Addiction Centers. (2017).
4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). The Matrix Model (Stimulants).