Teen Meth Abuse Treatment

Meth, formally known as methamphetamine, is a highly addictive substance that has a major impact on the Central Nervous System (CNS). It usually presents as a white, powdery or crystalline drug; it is both colorless and odorless. This makes it easy to mix or cut it into other substances.

Methamphetamine is most often insufflated, or snorted. However, it can also be taken via injection, smoked, or mixed into something for oral ingestion.

Meth causes neurotransmitters in your brain, specifically dopamine, to surge into the body. The brain feels enhanced pleasure, which it enjoys and attempts to maintain or adapt to, leading to a constant craving for more and the resulting addiction. Meth is considered a neurotoxin and can have long-lasting impacts on the brain.

What Does Teen Meth Abuse Look Like?

  • Anorexic girls tend to use meth to rapidly lose weight. Their bodies are already strained from disordered eating; the combination of meth and eating disorders is extremely harmful to physical health. Some may develop a skeletal appearance.
  • Meth users frequently develop “meth mouth,” a condition that causes gum disease, enamel erosion, and broken teeth. This is especially true for people who smoke the drug.
  • Meth users lose weight and tend to stop paying attention to personal hygiene. They are irritable and tend to have sore and scars because they become itchy and constantly scratch themselves.
  • The high associated with meth use may cause your teen to push past their limits, taking risks that can cause bodily harm.
  • Teens have been known to try small amounts of methamphetamine as a replacement for Adderall, especially when studying.

Signs of Teen Meth Abuse

Excessively high heart rates

Excessively high heart rates

Sudden bursts of energy

Sudden bursts of energy

Rapid-onset weight loss

Rapid-onset weight loss

Irritability and aggression

Irritability and aggression

Poor oral health and hygiene

Poor oral health and hygiene

Chronic insomnia and sleeplessness

Chronic insomnia and sleeplessness

Fear and paranoia, delusions

Fear and paranoia, delusions

Causes of Teen Meth Abuse

Teens are prone to trying drugs, especially meth, mostly as a result of biopsychosocial issues. While there are always variable factors, many teens have either an environmental or genetic risk factor. Teens tend to use drugs to cope with their feelings, alleviate the anxiety created by pressure to lose weight, to study more, or to fit in with their peers.

Environmental Factors - There are a lot of social pressures that could lead a teen to experiment with meth and become a regular uses. These include growing up in poverty, school and peer pressures, geographic location and availability, and extreme stress.

Family History - Believe it or not, it isn’t really common for drug users to develop an addiction. While a great number will experiment with an illegal or addictive substance at least once, most don’t become hard-core users. A family history of addiction is a major risk factor when it comes to determining whether or not a person may develop a problem.

Mental Health - Individuals with mental health disorders are more likely to become dependent. Teens are particularly susceptible to addiction because their brains are not fully matured. They see drugs as an “easy” coping mechanism and are more likely to use them repetitively.

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Teen Meth Abuse Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco


of teens use meth at least once.


adult addicts start using meth as teens.


of teens with MDD also abuse drugs (including meth).

How Can I Help My Teen with Meth Abuse?

Communicate - Talk to your teen about their drug use as often as possible. Some have no idea they’ve actually developed an addiction and a heart-to-heart conversation may be what they need to recognize how harmful their behaviors have become. Prepare yourself with specific examples of the things they have done that were dangerous or potentially hurtful.

The goal is not to be judgmental, but to help them understand that they need help. Your goals as a parent are to make sure they get better. Punishing them won’t help or change their addiction. Make sure your teen knows you’re on their side and your odds of a successful recovery will be higher.

Educate Yourself - Drug use is a common problem all over the United States. Learning about addiction will help you better understand what may have led your teen to try drugs in the first place. You’ll also be armed with the tools you need to help them avoid future questionable situations or relapses.

Look at Recovery Options - Include your teen in the process as you review treatment centers, healthcare plans, therapists or counselors, and other recovery options. Working together will make your teen more receptive to the process.

What Types of Meth Abuse Treatment Are Available?

Talk Therapy

Your teen’s therapist will use talk therapy to help them uncover the underlying causes of their drug use. School pressure, peer pressure, eating disorders, and general anxiety and depression issues are all common reasons for teen drug use. It is important for your teen to start treatment as soon as possible, especially consider how addictive meth is and how dangerous the side effects can be.

Family Therapy

Your teen needs to understand how their drug use has impacted the family unit as a whole. Working together, you can build a stronger relationship that will help you to create a healing environment. While your teen will need inpatient or outpatient rehab, the hard work continues at home. Everyone needs to be prepared so that your teen comes home to a strong support system.

Group Therapy

Support groups and group therapy are both important tools your teen will need to take advantage of in order to stay clean after rehab. Former addicts will tell you that staying clean is the challenge, and it is a lifelong journey. Group sessions will help your teen work through problems in a supportive atmosphere while gaining perspective from those who have been in their shoes.

Teen Meth Abuse Treatment at Paradigm Malibu

We treat a wide variety of mental health disorders at Paradigm San Francisco, including methamphetamine abuse. Addiction isn’t a character flaw. It is a mental health disorder that must be treated with therapy in order for a teen to overcome it and live a productive life.

We strive to create a supportive environment here at Paradigm San Francisco. Teens in our residential program are alleviated of their day-to-day responsibilities and worries and spend a great deal of time in a dedicated, supportive environment. A combination of therapy and holistic treatments will help them reach their mental health goals.

No Drug Exposure

The most important aspect of meth addiction recovery is sobriety. Residential programs ensure teens have absolutely no access to any sort of drug. Teens will be supported through their withdrawal period and will receive the therapy necessary to deal with the emotional ups and downs they experience. The programs here at Paradigm San Francisco guide teens towards forward progress, reducing the odds of them going right back to drugs within a few short weeks.

Healing and Nurturing

All of the Paradigm San Francisco locations are surrounded by nature, creating a relaxing atmosphere in which teens can try new hobbies, explore their interests, and grow as the individuals they are. Our therapists will help your teen find the coping mechanisms that work best for them personally. Your teen will leave our program confident that they can deal with future challenges in a healthy manner --- without drugs.

“ It's the one program that allowed my child to continue his school work. The parent weekend involvement/training changed all of our lives. The place is beautiful, the staff highly qualified and always available to help. It's been almost a year since my child left and he still calls occasionally for guidance. I could not ask for more. “

– Clarke S.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Meth Abuse

What happens if I only use meth occasionally?

First, meth is illegal, so you’ll always have a legal problem. Second, methamphetamines are incredibly powerful and can quickly become addictive. Even one use can leave your brain primed for more, increasing your risk of using again, even if you hadn’t experimented with the intention to continue. There is no way for you to control if or when your brain will become addicted. It’s not worth the risk.

Are there long-term effects?

You only get one set of natural teeth, so “meth mouth” can only be corrected with cosmetic procedures. Other physical side-effects can usually be reversed, but the impacts on your brain and your cognitive abilities may not be fully reversible. It’s still safer to stop and deal with minor consequences than it is to continue using and risk death. Your brain will readapt to your new, drug-free lifestyle if you give it time to heal.

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