Methamphetamine, called meth for short, comes in two main forms: powder and crystal.
Also called ice, Tina, and glass, crystal meth is often abused by smoking or injecting the substance, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) publishes. It is a powerful illegal stimulant drug that speeds up the central nervous system and raises alertness and energy levels, and produces a rush of pleasure. It is a highly addictive and dangerous drug.
Treatment for addiction involving crystal meth commonly includes many different methods, and there are distinct levels of care available. There are several factors that should be considered when deciding on a type of treatment program:
- Drug dependence and/or addiction: When a person is dependent on crystal meth, medical detox is often necessary before treatment admission in order to help a person safely process the drug out of the body. Crystal meth should not be stopped suddenly without professional help.
- Co-occurring disorders: Abuse of crystal meth can increase the risk for contracting an infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or C, and it can also worsen the progression of some of these diseases, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, psychosis, and suicidal ideations are also possible long-term effects of crystal meth abuse. Both medical and mental health concerns will need to be assessed, and integrated treatment methods should be put into the treatment plan before admitting a person into a specialized program.
- Polydrug abuse: When someone uses other mind-altering substances in addition to crystal meth, there can be supplementary concerns that will need to be managed during treatment. A full drug screening is often done before entering into a treatment program in order to get a clear picture of what types of services a person may benefit most from.
- Environmental aspects: Trauma and high levels of stress can influence drug addiction. Emotional and social support is important during addiction treatment and recovery, and the level of support at home can impact the level of treatment required.
- Cost and geographical considerations: Families and individuals need to consider cost and the location of a potential treatment facility when deciding on a program in order to find the right fit. Insurance will often cover certain aspects of care, and this should be looked into beforehand in order to defray costs. Certain treatment centers may accept more insurance plans or be more amendable to various payment plans.
Mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment providers can perform a detailed assessment prior to admission into a treatment program in order to determine a level of care that is appropriate.
Benefits of Detox before Treatment
Since crystal meth provides such a significant “high,” it also induces a pretty intense “crash” when that high wears off. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), meth typically wears off in about 12 hours, and the crash can last anywhere from one to three days. Disturbed sleep, fatigue, drowsiness, anxiety, depression, and cravings are common side effects of crystal meth withdrawal that can occur when someone uses the drug regularly and becomes dependent on it.
- Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can be quite psychologically difficult, often requiring medical and mental health supervision in order to maintain the safety of the person “coming down” off the drug as well as the safety of those around them. Aggression, hostility, violent outbursts, suicidal behaviors, and paranoia are possible during crystal meth withdrawal. Medical detox can provide supervision and supportive care 24/7 during the first several days after stopping use of the drug. Detox programs typically last about 5-7 days, and after completing detox, individuals should then enter into a crystal meth abuse treatment program.
NIDA recommends that individuals engage in at least 90 days of treatment to ensure the best chances of a robust recovery.
Treatment for crystal meth addiction will vary in duration and level of care, depending on a person’s unique circumstances and progress.