The Basics of Meth Rehab

Four steps of the rehab process described

For more information, read our guide to the addiction rehabilitation process

Rehab Settings

Rehabs fall into two basic categories, called "service settings"

The two categories of rehabilitation facilities are “inpatient” (full-time rehab) and “outpatient” (part-time rehab). Inpatient care requires the patient to live in the facility for the duration of their rehab period, receiving in-house detoxing, counseling, and group therapy. Those who enroll in outpatient rehab go home at the end of the day and are responsible for maintaining a clean lifestyle.

Inpatient rehabilitation is preferred for meth addiction

Because of the severity of withdrawal most people experience when weaning off of methamphetamine, as well as the risk of backsliding, an inpatient solution is recommended over an outpatient one, unless you are advised differently by a certified addiction or medical professional.

Overview of Treatment Settings
Setting Type of Treatment Description Time Commitment Duration
Inpatient Short-term residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Typically 3-6 weeks, and often a modified 12-step approach. Hours per Day: 24 14-30 days
Days per Week: 7
Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community facility with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive, and the focus is on treating the substance use disorder – typically when intensive medical or psychiatric supervision isn’t needed. Hours per Day: 24 3-12 months
Days per Week: 7
Partial Hospital- ization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Referred to as “inpatient” due to the hospital setting, extensive services provided, and the near full-time commitment every week. Medical treatment is available to those who qualify. Hours per Day: 6-8 14-30 days
Days per Week: 5
Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment / Intensive Outpatient Therapy Patients receive the extensive services of an inpatient program but return home after. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medical treatment is available to those who qualify. Hours per Day: 2-4 3-4 months
Days per Week: 3
Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medical treatment is not available. Hours per Day: 1-2 As long as desired
Days per Week: 1-3
Support Groups Self-help groups are recommended to help maintain abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. Hours per Day: 1-2 As long as desired
Days per Week: 1

Methamphetamine Rehab Statistics

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), methamphetamines and amphetamines were the primary substance of abuse for 9% of rehab admissions in 2015. 66% of the primary substance abusers also reported secondary use of other substances, primarily depressants like marijuana (36%) and alcohol (26%), which both have a negating effect when combined with a stimulant like methamphetamine.

Assessments for Methamphetamine Addiction

Any use of methamphetamine outside of the narrow prescription of Desoxyn for ADHD is dangerous behavior that can lead to an addiction quickly. If you feel a craving for the substance when you don’t have it, or you spend your free time thinking of ways to acquire it, it’s likely you have an addiction.

“Methamphetamine use disorder” is the clinical term used for methamphetamine addiction and the criteria for this diagnosis include craving, spending lots of time to obtain or use the substance, reduced effect of the substance with repeated use (tolerance), withdrawal symptoms, persistent desires or efforts to cut down or stop, negative impacts of use on relationships with family and friends, physical health, or job performance, use in dangerous settings etc.

Getting an assessment for methamphetamine addiction is no different than the first step of any other drug rehabilitation; it starts with speaking to a medical professional. Whether it’s a family doctor or an addiction specialist at a rehab facility, a professional assessment is critical in determining the addiction level you’re dealing with and the best rehab solution to address it.

Detox for Methamphetamine Addiction

The first step in methamphetamine treatment is detox, which is a period of allowing the body to cleanse itself of all traces of the substance, and of caring for oneself to get through the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. A thorough meth detox takes 7-10 days to rid the body of all the chemicals left over from the abuse.

For more information on the specifics of detox, read our guide to drug and alcohol detox

Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamine is accompanied by a drawn-out withdrawal process that can make the detox stage hard to get through. The worst symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal peak at anywhere from 1 to 2 days after quitting and can take weeks to fully subside. Unfortunately, there’s no FDA approved medication to lessen the effects of meth withdrawal, but some medications, like Naltrexone (used in alcohol relapse prevention) have been found to potentially reduce the cravings for meth and assist in rehabilitation.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Body Mind
  • Aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Speech difficulties
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Methamphetamine Addiction

Detox Medication

Although there’s no FDA approved medication for assisting in stimulant detox, there are certain drugs that can help with the symptoms, including:

  • Sleep aids (e.g. trazodone, mirtazapine, hydroxyzine) – can help with insomnia
  • Antipsychotics – can treat psychosis (hallucinations and paranoia)

Therapy for Methamphetamine Addiction

The third step in the rehab process is therapy. Therapy’s goal is to treat the root cause of the drug addiction and improve long-term success after rehabilitation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests no fewer than three months of rehab for the best chance at recovery.

For methamphetamine addiction, behavioral therapy is the most effective option. Unlike heroin or alcohol, there are no FDA-approved drugs for pharmacological therapy in meth addiction cases. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is currently funding research for drugs that could be used to assist in meth addiction therapy, but for now, the institute can only recommend behavioral therapies.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies, or “counseling” can take place one-on-one or in a group led by a certified professional in order to pinpoint and eliminate the behaviors that lead to drug abuse. The most highly recommended behavioral therapies for methamphetamine addiction by the National Institute of Drug Abuse are:

  • Contingency Management: This practice focuses on rewarding the patient with items for continued sobriety. This is the favored practice for recovering meth addicts.
  • Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy: This form of therapy is focused on helping patients to avoid relapse by identifying each person’s unique “triggers” and managing stress. The goal is to help patients develop the skills necessary to cope with situations that lead to drug abuse.
  • The Matrix Model: This therapy was formed specifically for abusers of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. It includes elements of relapse prevention, family and group therapies, drug education, social support groups, and 12-step programs. It differs from other programs in that it’s an intensive 16-week program with a rigid structure.

Psychiatric Care

Comorbid depression and paranoia can negatively impact recovery. Medication and counselling for these comorbidities can significantly improve outcomes.

Relapse Prevention Medication

There are no FDA-approved drugs for pharmacological therapy for rehabilitation. However, a handful of studies point to the possibility that some medications, such as mirtazapine or naltrexone, may reduce craving for methamphetamine and support recovery.

Aftercare for Methamphetamine Addiction

Aftercare, the final step in the rehab process, is an ongoing commitment to recovery after completing an inpatient or outpatient program. Aftercare is a lifelong dedication to sobriety and can take many forms from counseling to support groups. Aftercare is often a critical piece in fighting to stay clean.

Methamphetamine has a high relapse rate

There’s no completely accurate way to measure the relapse rate of any drug, but according to SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set, the percentage of people in meth treatment with prior treatment experience(s) is 61.8%.

Relapse Rates by Drug Type 2015

The high relapse rate makes aftercare measures like consistent counseling, support groups, and in some cases, moving to a sober living facility so necessary. Relapse is generally caused by:

  • Stressful Events: Events that are unexpected and cause significant stress make the user want to escape by getting high.
  • Lack of a Support System: Without supportive loved ones to help, people may return to bad relationships and situations that encouraged them to use drugs in the first place.
  • Triggers: Seeing people or specific places associated with drug use triggers positive memories of using the drug and makes relapse more likely.
  • Unaddressed Mental Health Issues: Unless the patient gets any mental health needs addressed, they have a higher chance of returning to the drug addiction.

On-going Therapy and Counseling

Meeting with a counselor even once every few weeks after rehab can be a great way to continue recovery and maintain your focus and motivation towards maintaining sobriety.

Support Groups

Support groups can be beneficial in maintaining sobriety after rehabilitation. 12-step faith-based groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous have a long track record as strong support groups, but there are many options available that aren’t faith-based. Making connections with people who have walked a similar path as you can be inspiration and source of encouragement.

Basics of a 12 step meeting

Click your state listed below to find NA meetings near you

To find Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you, click on your state from the list below. From there you will be able to find the local organization that coordinates the meetings. They will be able to provide the most up-to-date information about the time and location of meetings, as well as the contact information for group leaders.

You can also check out alternative types of support groups listed in the table below.

Methamphetamine Support Groups
Name Description Who They Serve
LifeRing Secular Recovery Secular support groups focused on abstinence and drug recovery. Find a personal account here and meeting information here. Anyone previously addicted to alcohol or other non-medically indicated drugs
Nar-Anon Family Group 12-step spiritual support group for loved ones of those addicted to drugs. Family members or friends with loved one who is addicted to drugs
Secular Organizations for Sobriety Comprehensive list of secular support for anyone struggling to maintain abstinence from an addiction. Find meetings here. Anyone recovering from addiction: eating, drug, sex, etc.
Meth Support Group Entirely online discussion board to provide support to others who are struggling with meth addiction. Meth addicts, recovering addicts, and loved ones

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes (also referred to as recovery residences) are group homes that help recovering addicts transition from treatment facilities to living on their own while maintaining sobriety. They are especially helpful for those who don’t have a supportive and positive environment to live in after rehab.

Residents can stay for a couple of months of for years, as long as they follow the rules and don’t relapse (most homes have a zero tolerance policy for using substances). Other rules usually include completing chores, attending mutual support groups regularly, and paying an equal share of the cost of renting the home.

Some halfway houses are listed in our database, and you can find them by using the appropriate filter in our tool below. Otherwise, head to our guide on sober living homes to learn more about sober living homes, and to find a certified recovery residence near you.

Finding Rehab for Meth Addiction

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.

For more information about finding and choosing the best rehab, visit our guide on the subject 

Take Action

Methamphetamine and crystal meth addiction doesn’t just cause serious harm to the user, but also to those who are around them – that’s why it’s imperative that you get the help necessary to begin the journey towards recovery.

To learn more about methamphetamine and the addiction it can cause, read our guide to Methamphetamine and Crystal Meth Addiction

Disclaimer: The information contained on is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any medical or diagnostic purpose. The information on should not be used for the treatment of any condition or symptom. None of the material or information provided on is not intended to serve as a substitute for consultation, diagnosis, and/or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.