Crystal meth is a crystallized form of methamphetamine. It is a highly addictive stimulant that produces intense, short-lived feelings of euphoria with high energy. The drug works by chemically “mimicking” normal brain neurotransmitters that produce positive feelings.

Meth stimulates the brain’s reward center, which produces a quick high followed by a deeply low feeling. Meth is highly addictive and some people become hooked after the first use. Addiction begins as the individual craves more of this drug and needs more meth to maintain the original high.

Unfortunately, in order to spark the brain’s reward pathway, crystal meth also short circuits the brain, rendering it incapable of naturally producing chemicals associated with happiness and comfort.1When the amphetamine molecule comes in through the bloodstream, it bypasses the natural nerve cells and causes the artificial release of chemical messengers for positive feelings.

Crystal meth

Types of Meth Addiction Help

Crystal meth addiction help comes in a variety of forms; you can choose from inpatient crystal meth rehab, sober living, outpatient addiction treatment, outpatient support, and aftercare options. Each of these provides different benefits for the addicted person. Here’s what you need to know:

Residential crystal meth rehabResidential crystal meth rehab, or inpatient crystal meth rehab, offers the most comprehensive crystal meth addiction help for a number of reasons. The 24/7 treatment model allows the addicted person time to take full advantage of all the resources available in treatment, such as personal therapy, group therapy, educational classes, adventure therapy, nutritional support, exercise programs, and more. The dedicated guidance means a lesser chance of relapse and greater support in the early stages of recovery.

Sober living. True crystal meth addiction healing comes with time. Sober living provides a drug-free environment, staff members to offer guidance and support, continued access to therapy and treatment, and a more flexible schedule that allows you to start your new life while maintaining accountability to your treatment goals.

Outpatient addiction treatmentMany people choose outpatient treatment as a natural follow-up to residential care. In some cases, finances or family responsibilities won’t allow you to attend a residential treatment center, and in these instances, outpatient addiction treatment is the best option. Outpatient crystal meth treatment may provide you with some of the same educational and counseling addiction help that you will find at residential treatment, and aftercare services like personal therapy and group therapy can assist as well.

Aftercare services. Many treatment programs, including Michael’s House, offer alumni support and resources. Twelve-step meetings help you find a local support system of others who are clean and sober. Personal therapy sessions and therapy groups that focus on addiction recovery can help you process stressors and learn how to remain relapse-free. The more options you incorporate into your post-treatment recovery, the more likely you are to avoid falling back into old behavior patterns.

“I went to rehab when I was 19 for crystal meth.  After I got out, I thought it would be okay to drink.  I figured…I’m a tweaker. I don’t have a problem with alcohol. But from that, it was only a day or two later that I started back up again with everything…It’s funny how we’ll put tremendous amounts of work and go through anything to get high, because it comes before everything else.

The big I’ve found is that the only thing that was going to work was major change.  I had to be thrown into a different life.  Everything had to be different.” —Christopher C., Heroes in Recovery

What Happens During Treatment?

There are several key processes that create a unique and effective rehab experience for each patient who enters treatment. While every treatment plan is unique, most programs offer some combination of the following resources.

  • Crystal meth detox. Drug detox begins with a supportive assistance program to assess for and treat any co-occurring mental health issues or physical illness. Detox offers a safe way to remove toxins from the system and heal the body from the ravages of crystal meth.
  • Individual counseling. One-on-one sessions allow the patient to take part in private sessions with a therapist to discuss the issues that led to their addiction and uncover solutions to help them make better decisions, build healthier strategies, and heal from past traumas.
  • Group counseling. Meetings with a counselor and other members of the drug rehab program are a chance to open up and speak about addiction in an honest way. The supportive environment of others in group counseling who are also living with similar issues allows the patient to experience many breakthroughs and positive experiences.
  • Experiential therapy. Hands-on therapies like art therapy, psychodrama, and adventure therapy all give the patient a more active way to recover from the past. Using the body as a gateway to the mind and spirit can help anyone break through the bonds that tie them to crystal meth.
  • Family therapy. Family therapy sessions provide a safe forum for you and your loved ones to discuss how you feel about the past and your hopes for the future. It is a good place to learn healthy communication practices.
  • Recovery aftercare. Outpatient therapies, alternative treatments, 12-step meetings, and alumni groups can prevent relapse and keep the patient on track as he or she transitions out of the protective environment of rehab.

Who Will Benefit from Treatment?

As many as 11 million Americans have experimented with meth at some point.2 In 2014, over 9938 meth labs were uncovered and destroyed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Meth is made all over the U.S., creating a threat to local communities and families. These home meth labs release deadly toxins into the environment, and can destroy water supplies, homes, and health.3

You or a loved one may have an addiction problem if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • The inability to stop using crystal meth despite the knowledge of the harm caused
  • Problems with the law due to crystal meth use
  • Stealing from friends and family to support one’s habit
  • Difficulties at work or school because of heavy drug use
  • Extended periods of sleeplessness followed by long periods of sleep (“crashing”)
  • Excessive talking while under the influence of the drug
  • Scars on the face as a result of smoking crystal meth or “picking”
  • Teeth and gum problems due to heavy meth abuse (also known as “meth mouth”)

Anyone that experiences any combination of these signs and symptoms will benefit from crystal meth rehab and addiction treatment.

The Risk of Relapse After Rehabilitation

Crystal meth addiction is unique among other drugs because of the cycle of relapse reported by patients in recovery. Though most who relapse after drug rehab do so within the first few months after returning home, crystal meth addicts tend to “slip” and use the drug or binge for days at a time about seven to nine months after leaving treatment. The cycle of cravings is far longer among crystal meth addicts, which means that the treatment model should be adjusted to address this fact effectively.

Long-term residential care is one way to combat the issue. Residential programs with on-site staff support can also help. A dedicated outpatient treatment plan that requires check-ins and accountability at multiple programs are another way for those fighting crystal meth addiction to avoid relapse during recovery.

Long-Term Meth Recovery

Your recovery from meth use will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of crystal meth taken daily during active abuse
  • The frequency of binges during addiction
  • The length of the active addiction
  • The presence or use of other drugs, including alcohol
  • The existence of co-occurring mental health issues
  • The level of treatment and care given to chronic health issues, depression, anxiety, and other related problems5

The faster a patient receives treatment, the better his or her chances of experiencing a full recovery. Ongoing follow-up care and treatments that require accountability for behaviors and abstinence from all drugs of addiction increase the chances of a full recovery increase significantly.

Addiction Treatment at Michael’s House

Michael’s House is a residential rehab program committed to helping individuals who are addicted to crystal meth and their families. The experts at Michael’s House know that it is just as important to treat the spirit of the individual as it is the mind and the body, and those who participate in treatment are better equipped to deal with the ongoing challenges of staying sober. Give us a call at 760-548-4032.


Illinois Attorney General. Understanding Meth. N.d. Accessed 9 Aug 2017.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Office of Applied Studies. 2010. Accessed 9 Aug 2017.

DEA. Methamphetamine Lab Incidents 2004-2014. 2014. Accessed 9 Aug 2017.

NIDA. Methamphetamine: Letter from the Director. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2013. Accessed 9 Aug 2017.

Medline Plus. Methamphetamine Overdose. U.S. National Library of Medicine. N.d. Accessed 9 Aug 2017.