I. The Basics of Amphetamine Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the amphetamine rehabilitation process as well as to offer helpful resources for persons recovering from amphetamine addiction.

Amphetamine rehabilitation is a multistep process that starts with a short orientation to the treatment facility. During this orientation session, the individual has an opportunity to look around the facility, meet staff members, and discuss their substance use with experienced treatment professionals. The individual may also meet with medical professionals to discuss any health concerns that could affect the rehabilitation process. For example, if the individual has heart disease, it’s important for treatment staff to know about it.

Once the initial assessment is complete, the individual typically goes through an initial detoxification process, which is when amphetamines are eliminated from the body. To make this process safer, treatment staff may offer supportive medications to treat nausea, abdominal pain, and other withdrawal symptoms. After going through the detoxification process, the individual receives therapy and other treatment services to reduce the risk of relapse.

four steps of rehab process

II. What Makes Amphetamine Rehabilitation Difficult?

Because amphetamines have a high addictive potential, they’re classified as Schedule II controlled substances. The misuse of amphetamines is so prevalent that global law-enforcement officials seized 112,000 pounds of amphetamine and 600 pounds of other stimulants in 2017, according to the 2019 World Drug Report.

It can be difficult to recover from amphetamine addiction because amphetamines affect the reward center of the brain, which can cause some users to become dependent. Once a dependency develops, withdrawing from amphetamines is difficult because of the severe withdrawal symptoms that sometimes occur. To avoid these symptoms, many users continue taking amphetamines even when they’re worried about their physical or psychological health.

The Unique Struggle of Amphetamine Addicts
Amphetamines…
  • produce a pleasurable sense of euphoria, causing some users to become dependent on them.
  • act on the reward center of the brain, making it difficult to stop using.
  • are often combined with other substances, making it even more difficult to withdraw from them.
  • cause severe withdrawal symptoms when a user tries to stop taking them.

Amphetamine Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates in 2015:

  • 1.7 million individuals aged 12 and older — 0.6% of this population — misused prescription stimulants like amphetamines.
  • 1.65 million individuals aged 12 and older reported that they had misused prescription stimulants within the past month.
  • 137,089 individuals aged 12 and older in need of treatment enrolled in a rehabilitation program for stimulant misuse.

Amphetamine Treatment Admissions by Gender

54.5% Male
45.5% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly funded substance use treatment facilities, men are considerably more likely to seek treatment for methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for amphetamines was 54.5% male and 45.5% female. While methamphetamine and amphetamine addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for amphetamine use was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 34 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Amphetamine Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment AdmissionPercentage of Amphetamine Treatment Admissions
12-171.8%
18-2416.3%
25-3441.6%
35-4425.3%
45-5412.3%
55-642.5%
65+0.1%

III. Amphetamine Detoxification and Withdrawal Process

The first step in the amphetamine recovery process is an initial detoxification period, which involves clearing amphetamines from the user’s body. Amphetamines have a half-life ranging from nine to 13 hours, which means about half of the substance will be cleared from the user’s body within this time frame. The initial detoxification phase typically takes two to three days, but it can take up to a week for some users.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are any physical or psychological symptoms that last for more than two weeks. Depending on how long the individual has been using amphetamines, as well as the individual’s health history, post-acute symptoms may last anywhere from two weeks up to a year. How long it takes to complete the withdrawal process depends on the individual’s history of substance use. For example, someone who has used amphetamines for five years is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time than someone who has only been using amphetamines for six months.

Withdrawal Symptoms

BodyMind
Short-Term SymptomsAches and pains
Fatigue
Memory impairment
Sweating
Tremors
Irritability
Depressed mood
Long-Term SymptomsSleep disturbancesProtracted mood disturbances
Anxiety
Loss of interest in everyday activities

Amphetamine withdrawal can increase an individual's risk of serious accidents

Insomnia, sleep disturbances, and extreme fatigue are among the many withdrawal symptoms that can occur when an individual stops taking amphetamines. Individuals who experience these symptoms have an increased risk of traffic accidents, falls, and other incidents that can cause serious injuries. For example, a user struggling with extreme fatigue could fall asleep while driving a vehicle.

An individual may experience dangerous psychological symptoms when withdrawing from amphetamines

Once an individual’s “high” wears off, fatigue may set in quickly. Some users experience severe mood swings, depression, and other psychological symptoms during the withdrawal process. These symptoms can cause some users to have suicidal thoughts.

Amphetamine withdrawal may be dangerous for users with heart conditions

During the initial detoxification process, amphetamine users may experience elevated heart rates and blood pressure readings. In one study, participants’ heart rates averaged 80 beats per minute in the first week of the initial detoxification period. Although the average heart rate declined over a period of several weeks, any sudden change in heart rate or blood pressure could have dangerous consequences for users who already have heart disease, high blood pressure, and other heart problems.

Amphetamine Detoxification Medications

No medications have been approved specifically for the treatment of amphetamine addiction; however, supportive medications may be used to relieve withdrawal symptoms and make the withdrawal process more tolerable for users. One study showed that mirtazapine, an antidepressant, may be effective for treating some of the psychological symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal. Antipsychotics and benzodiazepines may also be used to reduce anxiety and treat other psychological symptoms. Users who experience headaches may benefit from aspirin or acetaminophen.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on amphetamine addiction.

IV. Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has not approved any medications for the treatment of amphetamine addiction, but a drug called modafinil has shown some promise. Modafinil is known as a “waking drug” because it’s usually given to people with narcolepsy to increase their energy levels and make them more alert. In people struggling with amphetamine addiction, modafinil can control withdrawal symptoms and help the user remain comfortable during the initial withdrawal process.

For many users, behavioral therapies are the most effective treatment for amphetamine addiction, as they address the underlying psychological issues that contribute to addictive behavior.

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility in which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Amphetamine Treatment Programs
SettingType of TreatmentDescriptionDurationTime Commitment
InpatientShort-Term ResidentialIntensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify.14-30 daysHours Per Day:

24

Days Per Week:

7

Long-Term ResidentialIntensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify.3-12 monthsHours Per Day:

24

Days Per Week:

7

Partial HospitalizationIntensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify.14-30 daysHours Per Day:

6-8

Days Per Week:

5

OutpatientIntensive Day TreatmentExtensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify.3-4 monthsHours Per Day:

2-4

Days Per Week:

3

CounselingBoth individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available.As long as desiredHours Per Day:

1-2

Days Per Week:

1-3

Support GroupsSelf-help groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours.As long as desiredHours Per Day:

1-2

Days Per Week:

1

Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Type of TherapyDefinition
The Matrix Model

Further reading:

Treatment professionals developed the Matrix Model specifically for individuals struggling with amphetamine addiction. The model integrates several components, including group therapy, family therapy, drug education, and support groups.

This structured model consists of 16 weeks of treatment, giving users the opportunity to identify harmful patterns of behavior and learn how to cope with stressful circumstances without relapsing.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Further reading:

CBT is a structured form of behavioral therapy that helps amphetamine users develop better coping skills and learn strategies for replacing harmful behaviors with healthy behaviors.

During their CBT sessions, users learn how their thoughts and feelings relate to their misuse of amphetamines and other substances. With the help of a treatment professional, the user develops new habits and learns how to avoid relapse.

V. How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine addiction treatment is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis, although chronic users may benefit more from the structured environment of an inpatient treatment center.

When searching for an amphetamine rehabilitation facility, it’s important to look for a program that offers cognitive-behavioral therapy or the Matrix Model, as these behavioral therapies have been proven effective in helping individuals with amphetamine addiction learn how to develop better habits.

No medications have been approved specifically for the treatment of amphetamine addiction, but facilities offering medically managed rehabilitation may be able to provide supportive medications, reducing the discomfort of the initial detoxification process and making it more likely that an individual will complete the rehabilitation program.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.