Meth Usage and Relapsing After Treatment: Why It Happens

Meth Usage and Relapsing

Methamphetamines are some of the most potent and addictive drugs in the world. The effects on the body can lead to euphoria, increased energy, and intense focus. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most destructive drugs available, leading to physical and mental health issues such as brain damage, heart problems, depression, anxiety, and more. Due to its direct effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS), meth relapse rates are one of the highest among recovered individuals.

Many people who are dependent on methamphetamines seek treatment to get off of the drug, but unfortunately, relapse after treatment is common. Various factors contribute to relapse, including social and environmental cues that trigger cravings for the drug and physical changes in the brain caused by chronic meth use.

Throughout this article, we will unpack the complexities of meth usage and relapsing after treatment. We will also discuss the meth relapse rate to better understand why it happens and what steps should be taken to prevent relapse.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamines are a synthetic form of amphetamine[1] that increases dopamine and

norepinephrine levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter imbalance creates intense euphoria, leading to its high rate of addiction and misuse. Commonly referred to as simply “meth” or “crystal meth,” it comes in various forms such as powder, pill, and crystalized chunks.

How Meth Affects the Body

Methamphetamines[2] directly affect the body’s Central Nervous System, which controls movements, emotions, and thoughts. The drug causes an intense high lasting up to 12 hours without needing sleep.

Unfortunately, chronic meth use causes the dopamine receptors in the brain to break down over time, leading to a decrease in dopamine production. As a result, users need larger doses of the drug over time to achieve the same effects as before. This leads to an increase in the meth relapse rate and leads to physical and psychological dependence.

The effects of meth on the body include:

  • Increased energy
  • Heightened alertness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia

The Relapse Cycle After Treatment

When someone depends on methamphetamines and decides to seek treatment, their recovery journey may follow a cycle of relapse and remission[3]. This means that they may achieve sobriety for a period of time but eventually succumb to their cravings and start using the drug again.

This cycle is often caused by environmental or social triggers that can cause an urge to use the drug and physical changes in the brain due to chronic meth use. For example, certain places or people may trigger memories of past meth usage, leading to intense cravings for the drug. Additionally, the dopamine receptors in the brain are altered due to chronic meth use, which can also lead to cravings. If you have fallen into this cycle and are struggling with meth relapse, Summit Detox can help. Contact us at (888)995-5265 today to break the cycle and begin your path to recovery.

Understanding Meth Relapse Rates

It is essential to know that relapse can happen to anyone, no matter how strong a person’s resolve may be. Whether overcoming alcohol addiction, opioid addiction, or methamphetamine dependence, relapse is a common part of recovery. According to recent studies, the average rate of meth relapse is about 61%[4] within the first year after treatment. With such high meth relapse rates, individuals suffering from addiction may often be discouraged from pursuing and maintaining sobriety.

It is essential to know that despite the high meth relapse rates, recovery is still possible. With guidance, support, and tailored treatment plans, you can learn to manage your cravings for methamphetamines and build a life of sobriety. Understanding the warning signs is one of the best ways to maintain long-term sobriety and avoid relapse.

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Relapse

Identifying the signs and symptoms of relapse can be an effective way to predict a potential relapse and take steps to avoid it. Some common signs that someone may be at risk for relapsing include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Feelings of depression or hopelessness
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Increase in irritability or agitation
  • Reduced energy or motivation
  • Having cravings for the drug
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Changes in eating habits.

If you feel that you may be experiencing any of these signs, you must immediately reach out to your therapist, doctor, or support group. Treatment facilities like Summit Detox are excellent places to discuss your feelings and get the support you need to stay sober. Contact Summit Detox through their website today to help you overcome feelings of meth relapse.

Identifying Relapse Triggers

For long-term recovery, it is essential to be aware of the environmental and psychological triggers that could lead to a relapse. Being aware of these triggers can help you make healthier choices in your everyday life and avoid potential pitfalls. Some common relapse triggers include:

  • Negative or stressful situations
  • Social pressure from drug-using peers
  • Being around people who use alcohol or other drugs
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Exposure to triggers like people, places, or objects associated with past drug use.

There are many other potential relapse triggers that contribute to the high relapse rate. It is important to remember that relapse prevention starts with understanding one’s risk factors and developing strategies to mitigate them.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

While meth use can be incredibly difficult to stop without professional support, treatment options are available. Getting help from a rehab facility is one of the most effective ways to break an addiction and prevent relapse. Here is a breakdown of different treatment options for overcoming substance abuse disorder:

Inpatient Rehab: Patients live at the facility and receive 24-hour care during an inpatient rehab[5] stay. This can be an excellent option for those who need more intensive treatment with around-the-clock support. Inpatient treatment is especially beneficial for people with severe addiction who may experience painful withdrawal symptoms[6].

Withdrawal occurs from the body’s dependence on the substances and can be managed in a professional setting. Inpatient treatment may administer drugs such as buprenorphine to help patients transition from their substances.

Outpatient Rehab: Outpatient treatment is often recommended for those with mild to moderate addiction, as it allows patients to live at home while continuing their recovery journey. During an outpatient stay, individuals attend therapy sessions and group meetings several times a week to help them manage cravings and stay on the path to long-term sobriety.

Different Treatment Options for Meth Addiction

Regardless of the severity of an individual’s addiction, several treatment options are available to aid in the recovery process. Some of the most commonly used treatments include:

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT is a combination of medications and behavioral therapy that can help reduce cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and make it easier for individuals to stay sober. MAT is often used for those with opioid and alcohol addictions but can also benefit those struggling with meth addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on identifying patterns in behavior that may lead to drug abuse and helping individuals develop strategies for preventing relapse. Sessions involve talking therapy and learning techniques to cope with cravings.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): MET is a form of brief counseling that encourages individuals to identify their reasons for wanting sobriety and develop strategies to support long-term recovery. This therapy helps individuals make healthy lifestyle changes, such as developing healthier relationships and engaging in enjoyable activities that don’t involve drugs.

Support Groups: Support groups are essential to the recovery process, as they provide a safe and supportive space to discuss addiction-related topics. Aside from helping individuals stay accountable, support groups can help create strong bonds that keep people on their recovery journey. Examples of popular support groups include Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Overcoming Meth Addiction and Preventing Relapse

Meth addiction[7] is a serious issue and requires professional help to address it adequately.

With the right treatment plan, individuals can overcome their substance abuse disorder and prevent relapse. Treatment plans should be tailored to meet an individual’s needs and include strategies for identifying and managing potential relapse triggers. Remember that with patience, support, and commitment to one’s recovery, individuals can succeed in their sobriety journey.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you must reach out for help. Reach out to Summit Detox today to learn more about our meth addiction treatment services. We’re here to help you every step of the way.


[1] https://www.samhsa.gov/meth

[2] https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4550209/

[5] https://www.summitdetox.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-residential-substance-abuse-treatment/

[6] https://www.summitdetox.com/programs/meth-detox/

[7] https://www.summitdetox.com/blog/how-to-identify-drug-addiction-in-your-loved-one/


We Accept Most Insurances

Call us confidentially at (888) 995-5265

Start Your Journey
Check Your Insurance

Start Your New Journey

Speak to Our Admissions Advisors Today.
 (888) 995-5265

100% Confidential Call