There is no definitive set of drugs that have been formulated to treat meth addiction, but there are some that can alleviate withdrawal symptoms like tremors, depression, and anxiety.

If a person has been using meth for a very long time, it means that the dose of methamphetamine is higher and that their detox will be difficult and withdrawal symptoms will be high as well.

A comprehensive treatment program for meth addiction consists of medical detox and behavioral therapies. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a minimum of 90 days of participation in substance abuse/addiction treatment programs to achieve the best results.

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Meth Detox

Detoxification is the process through which the body flushes out harmful materials, which takes around 50 hours. During detox, one may experience increased hunger, tiredness, anxiety, or depression. This is part of the body and brain recovering and learning to rebalance itself without the drug.

One can choose to stay at home to complete the detox phase. However, doing it in a medical facility meant for detox and addiction therapy is ideal, as it may be easier to relapse in the home environment. Moreover, any complication during withdrawal can be taken care of by trained health professionals in a medical facility.

Behavioral Therapy

Methamphetamine is highly addictive and can lead to intense drug cravings and relapse if you fail to be vigilant throughout the treatment period. That is why addiction treatment is ongoing and works best in collaboration with medication management to control changes in mood and neural pathways.

According to studies conducted by NIDA, behavioral therapy has been shown to provide long-lasting results in treating meth addiction. The two types of behavioral therapy are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Individual and group sessions using CBT help people struggling with addiction to learn ways to deal with urges and unhelpful thoughts, and control behaviors even when they have urges. Research suggests that improvement can be observed after only a few sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy. [1]
  • Contingency management: This involves the use of motivational incentives such as reward systems like gift vouchers or other compensation for negative drug screenings. Contingency management encourages treatment compliance and motivates people to stay meth-free through incentives.

Similar approaches include 12-step support groups, through which a person can find peers who have gone through similar experiences.[2]

Support groups are meant to provide hope and encouragement to the participants so they feel they are not alone in their struggle, and help normalize their experiences.

Last updated: November 16, 2022

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References

References
1 Lee NK, Rawson RA. A systematic review of cognitive and behavioural therapies for methamphetamine dependence. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008;27(3):309-317. doi:10.1080/09595230801919494
2 Donovan DM, Wells EA. ‘Tweaking 12-Step’: the potential role of 12-Step self-help group involvement in methamphetamine recovery. Addiction. 2007;102 Suppl 1:121-129. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01773.x