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Types of Treatment for Crystal Meth Detox

Crystal meth detox can be an extremely difficult period. Many individuals struggle with depression, anxiety, severe cravings for the drug, and even psychotic symptoms involving hallucinations, delusions, and violent behavior. It is important that someone going through crystal meth withdrawal receives the proper treatment, as the alternative can be dangerous and even deadly. Therefore, you and your loved ones should know and understand the types of treatment necessary during crystal meth detox.


Crystal Meth Detox

Medications and therapy can help you overcome crystal meth addiction!

Most individuals who abuse crystal meth long enough to become dependent are likely addicted to the drug as well. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Although medications have been proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications… that prolong abstinence from and reduce the abuse of methamphetamine by an individual addicted to the drug.” However, certain medications can be used in the treatment of individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms from consistent methamphetamine abuse.

Patients going through withdrawal from crystal meth may experience a severe psychosis, which can cause them to act in a way that may be harmful to themselves or others. When this occurs, benzodiazepines are sometimes used to sedate the individual, rather than the use of restraints. Neuroleptics, also known as antipsychotics, may be used to treat individuals in this state as well. And if a patient is suffering from severe cravings, a common symptom of crystal meth withdrawal that does not often diminish with time as the other symptoms do, they may be given anticraving agents.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “During the late withdrawal phase, when depression may be present, antidepressants may be an appropriate choice for treatment.” This can often be necessary because depression caused by crystal meth withdrawal can lead to suicidal thoughts and other dangerous results. Therefore, a person must never be denied the use of antidepressants if they are necessary to their treatment.

These are the medications most often used during the treatment of crystal meth withdrawal. In detox centers, doctors may prescribe a number of medications to stabilize patients and make it easier for them to deal with the difficult and sometimes nearly unbearable withdrawal symptoms as well as those that may otherwise become dangerous to a patient’s health.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapy is often used during detox to help ease patients into crystal meth addiction treatment and to help them learn to control their symptoms more easily. Because many of the symptoms caused by crystal meth withdrawal are psychological instead of physical, behavioral therapy can be extremely beneficial during even the early stages of withdrawal.

Some of the common behavioral therapies that are used during crystal meth detox include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy is beneficial for almost any type of drug abuse syndrome, and it helps teach patients to “anticipate likely problems… and develop effective coping strategies” (NIDA). These concepts can be extremely helpful to those who are experiencing severe cravings as well as feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, and depression. Patients are often able to learn these coping strategies in a controlled environment while in crystal meth detox, as the severity of the withdrawal symptoms usually require inpatient care, and they can be very helpful tools for patients to utilize once they leave the program.

Contingency Management

Contingency management uses vouchers to redirect the reward pathways in the brain to expect positive rewards for abstinence instead of the euphoric feelings of drug abuse. Vouchers are given when patients remain clean from crystal meth abuse, and they have “monetary value that can be exchanged for food items, movie passes, or other goods and services that are consistent with a drug-free lifestyle.” This treatment is often the most beneficial to individuals in the late stage of detox.

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The Matrix Model

This treatment creates a bond between the therapist and the patient and allows both individuals to work toward the patient’s abstinence and recovery. A treatment manual is often used that contains worksheets for the patient. The main goal of the therapy is to engage the patient in their own recovery and to ensure that they are ready to do the necessary work to stop abusing crystal meth––and to stay abstinent.

Group Therapy

Group can be beneficial to meth addicts because they can talk and listen to others who are going through the same issues they are. Sharing with one another under the supervision of a counselor can help patients realize why they are in detox and how they can begin to heal from the ravages of crystal meth abuse.

Therapies like these can also help treat any co-occurring mental disorders, which are common among methamphetamine abusers. Disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others can be the reason why an individual began abusing crystal meth (as a coping mechanism), or the frequent drug abuse could have helped cause disorders like these. Whichever case applies to the individual patient, the mental disorder and the addiction can be treated together in order to help the patient have a better chance at recovery after detox.

Other Types of Treatments

Some detox centers provide holistic treatments to patients, which can be extremely beneficial depending on the patient’s reaction to the specific method. For example, yoga, exercise classes, nature walks, meditation, and art therapy are provided by some centers, and these methods can often reach out to patients who have difficulty with or cannot tolerate other types of treatments.

Crystal meth also causes severe health problems in many users, such as liver and kidney damage, lunge disease, sores and skin infections, weakened immune systems, and cracked or broken teeth (Center for Substance Abuse Research). Many detox centers provide treatment for these issues as well, in order to help patients become physically well enough to take on addiction treatment.

There are a number of possible treatments that may be used in crystal meth detox, but each individual patient needs their own treatment plan. Then the specific treatments that will benefit them the most can be chosen and the symptoms of withdrawal can be reduced safely as the individual prepares for addiction treatment.

Call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) now to be connected with crystal meth detox centers near you! 


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). What treatments are effective for people who abuse methamphetamine?
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Adapted or excerpted from: The Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment, secondedition. Editors: Marc Galanter, MD and Herbert D Kleber, MD. (n.d.). Treatment of Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal from Drugs of Abuse: Sitmulants (Cocaine and Amphetamines).
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Nicotine).
  4. Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Methamphetamine.
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