Meth addiction

Crystal methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth or crystal meth, is one of the most abused illegal drugs on the planet. Meth is an artificial psychostimulant substance which is highly addictive as it allows users to feel elated and energised momentarily. However, this comes at a price; if someone develops a meth addiction they will likely face worrying health problems and damage close relationships. Fortunately, overcoming meth addiction is possible and effective help is available. So, let’s start by looking at the key symptoms, possible causes and treatment options for crystal meth addiction.

Meth addiction bag of meth

What is meth?

Methamphetamine is a type of stimulant that influences the central nervous system, producing strong feelings of elation and a surplus of energy. It can come in the form of white powder, in transparent crystallised form, or in pill form. Methamphetamine can be snorted, swallowed, injected, or inhaled.

What is crystal meth addiction?

An addiction to crystal meth happens when a person solely depends on crystal meth to function through life. Someone with an addiction to crystal meth may spend a lot of their time either thinking about accessing meth or abusing it. As with any drug addiction, a person with a crystal meth addiction may have attempted to stop but feels helpless at doing so.

What are the signs and symptoms of crystal meth addiction?

Physical symptoms of meth addiction
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Constant twitching
  • Damaged teeth, and gums
  • Bruised or scabbed skin
  • Flushed skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using meth
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid mood swings
Behavioural signs of meth addiction
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Lack of interest in old hobbies and passions
  • Spending less time with friends and family, only socialising with those who abuse crystal meth
  • Attempting to quit using meth but feel unable to do so
  • Lack of interest in work or studies since using meth
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviours since using meth

Why do people get addicted to meth?

Crystal meth is highly addictive because it causes your body to release dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that your body naturally produces. It’s used to send messages between nerve cells. When someone abuses crystal meth, an influx of dopamine rushes to the body providing brief feelings of extreme pleasure. However, such pleasure becomes harder to replicate the more someone uses meth. This is because their tolerance increases each time they get their fix, resulting in a constant pursuit of pleasure.

There are many reasons why a person becomes reliant on crystal meth. Addiction can happen to anyone but there are some factors that may contribute to meth addiction, including environmental factors, genetics and psychological factors.

Environmental factors

Spending time around people who abuse crystal meth can influence others to also “dabble” in the drug. Peer pressure can exacerbate recreational drug use. The more a person becomes hooked on crystal meth, the more they increase their chance of developing crystal meth addiction.


Neuroscience has shown that people have varying ability and brain function levels to control impulsive urges. If these genes are passed down through the generations, family members can be more prone to developing addiction problems.

Psychological factors

Varying psychological factors can enhance the risk of crystal meth abuse; unhealed past or present trauma can drive someone to use crystal meth in order to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Trauma encompasses a wide scope of issues and there is no “one size fits all” approach to trauma. However, some examples could be anything from: abuse, grief, illness, recent divorce, or poverty.

How do I recover from crystal meth addiction?

Recovery from an addiction to meth requires a comprehensive meth addiction treatment programme consisting of meth detox and extensive therapy. A meth detox will cleanse all physical traces of meth from the body. Therapy enables you to address any underlying issues that have provoked meth addiction whilst simultaneously showing you how to overcome any meth triggers or temptations that may present themselves in future.

What is a crystal meth detox?

A crystal meth detox is the process of cleansing all traces of the drug from your system. This means ceasing crystal meth use entirely. When done in a medical setting, health experts can make the detox process safe and as comfortable as possible, since medical intervention can significantly ease withdrawal symptoms.

What are meth withdrawal symptoms?

Since the brain has adapted to a surplus of dopamine (induced by crystal meth abuse), it makes less natural dopamine by itself, and so the brain’s receptors become numb to it; when the brain doesn’t receive crystal meth, it has abnormally low levels of dopamine because it has become reliant on meth to maintain chemical equilibrium. Therefore, when we deprive the body of crystal meth, it feels temporarily off balance, and this shows up in various withdrawal symptoms. However, meth withdrawal symptoms subside once the brain’s chemicals revert to normal functioning.

Symptoms and timeline of crystal meth withdrawal

The severity of meth withdrawal symptoms depends on a variety of different factors, such as how much meth a person has been using and how long they have abused the drug. Other factors such as weight, gender, and age also play a role in the meth withdrawal process. To give you a general idea, the timeline below shows the average symptoms spanning over the course of three weeks.

Days 1-3

  • Intense cravings
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Tiredness
  • Hypersomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hunger
  • Irritability

Days 5-7

  • Food cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Meth addiction depressed woman

Weeks 2-3

  • Meth cravings start to dwindle
  • Sleep becomes stable
  • Appetite becomes stable

How Liberty House can help

Our rehab treatment programme is built upon empathy and trust. We understand how difficult meth addiction is and we are confident that we can help you to overcome this illness once and for all.

If you choose to recover for us, you will stay in safe and comfortable lodgings that are run by qualified staff 24/7, all your daily needs will be taken care of and you’ll have access to open spaces, where you can take walks and get some fresh air.

Our treatment therapies are designed holistically, meaning that we aim to treat meth addiction from every angle possible. You’ll get mindfulness therapies such as Yoga and meditation, alongside various psychotherapies such as:

  • The 12-Step therapy is an efficient mode of therapy used to treat meth addiction. You’ll be given 12 modules that will allow you to work through your meth recovery for life. The 12-Step therapy can help you to process emotional pain and it can help you to develop a stronger connection to yourself and the world around you.
  • The 12-Step therapy is an efficient mode of therapy used to treat meth addiction. You’ll be given 12 modules that will allow you to work through your meth recovery for life. The 12-Step therapy can help you to process emotional pain and it can help you to develop a stronger connection to yourself and the world around you.
  • CBT is a form of psychotherapy focusing on the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviour. CBT works by tackling destructive thought patterns that spur meth addiction before examining the reality of such thoughts so that we can turn unhelpful thinking patterns into constructive ones. This increases the chance of sobriety.

Let’s get you the help you deserve

At Liberty House, we use a range of comprehensive treatments to help you overcome an addiction to methamphetamine. If you are wanting to find treatment for yourself or a loved one, please contact us today and a member of our team will be happy to assist you further.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between crystal meth abuse and crystal meth addiction?
As crystal meth is an illicit drug, any recreational use is considered abuse. A person may use crystal meth occasionally or frequently and still not have an addiction. But if a person feels unable to give up crystal meth, because they feel as though they mentally or physically can’t go without it, they more than likely have crystal meth addiction.
Can I detox from crystal meth at home?
It can be difficult and dangerous to detox from crystal meth without professional guidance. This is because the emotional withdrawal symptoms can be all too consuming and may result in relapse. Relapse is dangerous when detoxing from crystal meth, since tolerance is lowered, and this poses the risk of overdose. Whether you attend an impatient clinic or not, speak with your healthcare advisor before detoxing from meth.
I am addicted to crystal meth and other drugs. Can I still attend rehab?
Yes, Liberty House is proficient at treating all kinds of substance addictions. It’s important you let us know what substances you may be addicted to (before admission) as this can help us to ensure you get the most effective and comprehensive treatment possible.