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How To Help Someone Addicted To Meth

John Schaffer, LPCC

Medically reviewed by

John Schaffer, LPCC

March 29, 2019

Meth is a powerful stimulant that can quickly become addictive. Methamphetamine addiction can have a detrimental impact on every aspect of someone’s life. Helping a loved one get treatment for meth addiction is not always easy but may save his or her life.

How To Help Someone Addicted To Meth

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that is illegal in the United States. This drug is a central nervous stimulant that is an estimated 50 times more potent than cocaine. People who use meth are at risk for developing a dependence and addiction to the drug.

Meth is available in a white and odorless powder. In powder form, it can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. Meth may also be available in crystal form, in which it is referred to as crystal meth. Crystal meth is most commonly smoked.

This substance can produce an intense and euphoric high that can last for several hours. Many people report feeling increased energy, motivation, and focus while on meth. However, over time, this drug can be detrimental to a person’s health and do more harm than good.

Meth addiction can have a negative impact on every aspect of a person’s life. From physical and mental health to work and finances, methamphetamine can dramatically decrease someone’s overall quality of life.

Many people who are addicted to methamphetamine will not be able to quit the drug on their own. Its highly addictive nature can make this drug not only hard to stop but also hard to stay sober once off the drug.

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If someone you love is dealing with meth addiction, it’s important to help in any way possible. People addicted to meth may need an intervention before they are able to see how the drug has impacted their lives. After an intervention, most individuals will require a detox program and formal treatment to successfully overcome meth addiction.

Symptoms Of Methamphetamine Addiction

It’s important to know the signs of meth addiction, especially if you believe a friend or family member is addicted to the drug. Most people struggling with meth addiction will display noticeable signs and symptoms of drug abuse.

Symptoms of someone under the influence of meth may include:

  • mood swings including depression
  • dilated pupils
  • insomnia
  • upset stomach
  • high energy
  • exacerbated self-confidence
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss and malnutrition
  • psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations
  • paranoia

When the meth addiction has progressed, there are other noticeable signs of drug abuse. One of the most common signs is devoting excess energy, money, and time to obtaining and using the drug.

Other signs of meth addiction include:

  • social withdrawal
  • lying about drug use
  • hiding drug use
  • hanging out with people who also abuse meth
  • using more of the drug for longer periods of time
  • trouble in work or school
  • financial difficulties
  • dependence on the drug to feel “normal”

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in a loved one, it may be time to consider talking to them about their drug use.

Approaching Someone Addicted To Meth

How to deal with a meth addicted family member is a situation that no one wants to encounter. However, meth abuse is all too common and many people find themselves faced with this exact situation.

Some family members may need to stage an intervention to successfully get through to someone addicted to meth. An intervention is when one or several family members meet with the addicted person to confront the addiction and the effects it’s had on their lives.

A professional counselor may also be present during the intervention. He or she will help move the conversation along and keep it productive.

Family members should approach the addicted person with love and support rather than with an ultimatum. However, it’s important to avoid enabling the person with the addiction.

It’s also important to not approach a meth addicted family member while he or she is under the influence of the drug. Speaking to them while they are sober will prove much more effective in most cases.

The goal of an intervention is to get the loved one into treatment for meth addiction. Offering your love and support is key to helping them make the decision to get help.

Treatment For Meth Addiction

There are many factors that go into a successful approach to meth addiction. These include detox programs, intensive treatment, and lifelong support.

Detox Programs For Meth Addiction

A detox program will likely be needed to help your loved one successfully withdraw from methamphetamine. Medically supervised detox programs offer safe and comfortable environments to go through the withdrawal process.

Detoxification from the drug can take several days depending on the severity of the addiction. Medication may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and keep the person as comfortable as possible.

Intensive Inpatient Treatment For Methamphetamine Addiction

Once a detox program has been completed, comprehensive and individualized inpatient treatment will likely be recommended. During this treatment, your loved one will receive intensive, daily treatment that is customized to his or her needs and level of addiction.

Inpatient treatment programs typically last 30 to 60 days, but may be longer if needed. Once the inpatient program is successfully completed, your loved one may move on to a sober living home for additional support.

Being supportive throughout the entire treatment process is the most important thing you can do for a loved one dealing with meth addiction. Showing your continued support before, during, and after treatment is imperative to his or her recovery.

Recovery from meth addiction is often a lifelong process and requires long-term structure and support. Encouraging your loved one to continue participating in support groups and other sobriety-promoting activities is important to help prevent relapse.

To learn more about how to help someone who is addicted meth, contact our treatment specialists today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Research Report Series: Methamphetamine

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy - A program for engaging treatment-refusing substance abusers into treatment: CRAFT

The Fix - How to Tell If Someone Is on Meth

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