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Meth Relapse – Everything One Should Know About Ice Relapse

Meth Relapse occurred

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Meth is a very addicting drug that unfortunately, has a high rate of relapse among those in recovery. Users take Methamphetamine, aka meth, a number of ways. They swallow, snort, smoke, inject, even insert it into anus like a suppository. Meth is not available for prescription due to its side effects. For example, it is stronger, quicker acting and more addictive. Before we talk about meth relapse, let’s quickly see what’s different between meth and speed.

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Table of Contents

What are the Statistics for Meth Relapse in the United States?

Incidentally, most of Meth addicts will relapse. This will happen within three years of going for treatment. This is according to research. In fact, of those in recovery, 88% will relapse at least once. For those who quit “cold turkey” on their own, only 5% will still be clean after three years. Withdrawal symptoms for those who use Meth can last up to 8 months. Meanwhile regular users withdrawal symptoms can last up to 3 years. As a result, this makes meth relapse harder to resist. It doesn’t matter whether it was used regularly or occasionally.
They estimate the current Meth users to be at 300,000. The “cure” rate for users is around 10%, but in those who seek help for recovery, the percentage jumps to 12%. Those addicts with a job and have family support have a better recovery rate
Methamphetamine is the third most popular drug, only under alcohol and marijuana use.

What Happens During a Methamphetamine Relapse?

methOne definition of relapse is to “suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.” The operative word here is suffer and the second in line is deterioration. When a Meth relapse occurs that’s what happens, i.e. user’s life deteriorates, and they suffer.
When meth relapse occurs, it’s not just a physical thing. It’s also an emotional and psychological issue as well.
The person who has a Meth relapse, is usually so filled with guilt and shame that they try to hide in the next hit. Therein lies the circle. There’s a reason that drug and alcohol users continue going to meetings long after their last use.
It’s so easy to have a Methamphetamine relapse and take that first hit, no matter how long a user has been clean and sober. Telling yourself that just one  time won’t get me back into using is a self-deceit.
Once the line is crossed, users have to start detox all over again. The pain, the humiliation, the suicidal thoughts, the losses, the lie – it all starts again. The previous years of being clean and sober gone, in a matter of seconds.
A Meth and speed relapse can be harder on the body than the original addiction. The brain can recollect the high feelings, and the craving begin again.
This person has already tasted freedom. Therefore, their life in addiction feels worse this time. Others develop an attitude toward recovery of ambivalence. In that, they do not want to take drugs any longer, but at the same time, they like the high from Meth.
This ambivalence is what leads to being sober for a while. However, they find themselves liking and wanting the high. As a result, a Methamphetamine relapse can be imminent. This in and out behavior can go on for years. It will continue until the addict finally gets to the point that they are willing to stop for good.
There are times when the person may slip instead of a full-fledged meth relapse.
There is a difference. To slip is when the person does pick up the Meth, but regrets doing it almost immediately. Being able to stop right away and go back to recovery will keep them from falling the relapse hole again.
The action becomes a problem if the person doesn’t learn from this “slip”. As a result, the ex-user continues to go back and forth, again and again. Eventually, they will find themselves in a total Meth relapse.
There is actually a name for this up and down lifestyle, they call it the “revolving door syndrome.” The idea of staying sober is what the addict may desire. Therefore, they will try to make a commitment. However, after several months or just weeks, the motivation is no more. This usually happens due to their lax attitude toward the sober life vs. the high life.

Repeated Relapse Dangers

Undergoing another recovery process is not a guarantee. The person may not get to the point of being willing to stop again. This could be a deadly decision.
There are usually bigger messes to clean up after a Meth relapse when they try to get clean again.
When they relapse after being sober for a while, their situation can look and feel like it is getting worse. They will recognize how miserable their life was living as an addict. This is because they have tasted being sober, It will disappoint their family and loved ones. Building trust with them again will be difficult.
When they do this up and down dance, they convince themselves that they can stop any time that they want.

Relapse and Inner Beliefs

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” This statement holds true with a person’s belief about themselves and recovery. The more they believe they can accomplish something, the more prone they are to succeed.
However, this is also true when a person doesn’t believe in their ability to do something as well. If they don’t have the self-confidence even to have motivation to stay sober, they probably won’t do it.
Each time they have a Meth relapse, it lowers their self-esteem. They may get to the point of feeling hopeless. In fact, they will feel where they are as an addict is where they are going to stay for the rest of their life.

Common Reasons People Continue to Relapse

One of the most common reasons people relapse is their “I don’t care” attitude.
Believing there is only one road to recovery. If the one they are attempting isn’t working, they can think there isn’t anything else they can do. Believing Meth relapse is a normal step in getting sober. Recovery can involve relapses, but it not a necessary step to staying clean and sober. Staying sober is not something they want or are ready to do, but to appease others, they will go into rehab. This attempt at recovery usually fails because it’s not about them, it’s about the other person.
Stopping the drug is all the person does. Recovery is an immersion into willingness, support, counseling, physical and psychological treatment.

  • Being sober is not their number one priority.
  • Becoming overwhelmed by trying to get well all at once.
  • They don’t recognize or acknowledge their triggers.
  • They are not emotionally or mentally prepared to go home.

How to Get Out of The Cycle of Repeated Relapse?

Scientists find that Neurofeedback helps with staying sober for a long period. The need for quick relief is not there anymore. It creates a calm. After, the ex-user will have ongoing training. Indeed, the desired effect is that something else replaces the high from the drug. This is the step that helps keep the Meth addict from relapsing. The goal is to learn to live life from a calm, albeit rational, state of being. They will do this by curbing impulse and reaction in stress related situations.
The person has to be completely convinced that the abuse is no longer an option. In fact, they need to believe that’s it’s become a life or death choice.
They need to find out what way works for them and not just take someone else’s word for it. What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another.
Something that the person did not want to do may be the very thing that works for them. Be committed to doing whatever it takes to get clean. If they are in a rehab facility, start mentally preparing for home right away.
They should respect whatever steps they have made. Also, they should not have unrealistic expectations for themselves. This way, it might lead to disappointment in how far they have come so far.
Recognize that a stress filled situation is what can lead to Meth relapse. While being under the stress, the mind will take user back to that false euphoric feeling that Meth gave. Also, user might feel the temptation.
There are other ways that users can find to help to keep themselves from that Meth relapse. Meditation and spiritual practices is one way, walking, hiking, even playing with a pet can help. Getting to a calm state of being is the goal. Therefore, find out what alternative works the best. Then, follow through on that activity.

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Recovery is going to be difficult. Meth relapse may be probable, but it’s not mandatory. If relapse had happened, gather the thoughts, figure out what the trigger was, learn from it and start again. Believe in yourself!

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  2. Morley KC, Cornish JL, Faingold A, Wood K, Haber PS, Pharmacotherapeutic agents in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence,
  3. Hay GL, Baracz SJ, Everett NA, Roberts J, Costa PA, Arnold JC, McGregor IS, Cornish JL, Cannabidiol treatment reduces the motivation to self-administer methamphetamine and methamphetamine-primed relapse in rats,
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • ebrahiem
    it was very helpful thank you!
  • Jj
    Thank you for your words. I know someone who has relapsed and now I am hoping they mean business about staying clean and there is hope for them.
  • Eric
    I have been clean for 12 years now. Last night while at the self check out at the grocery store I looked down and saw a dope baggie on the floor. At first glance it looked empty but I moved it with my foot out of curiosity and sure enough I saw meth for the first time in over 12 years. My daughter was with me too and wondered what it was. She thought it was cocaine but I already knew what it was the second I laid eyes on it. My mind started to do a number on me, a feeling as if there was a friending monster locked up in my head. I knew I had to bring it to someone’s attention immediately so I called my wife over plus an employee and told them I think they needed to come get this. I knew I needed to eliminate any possiblity of my mind telling me to pick it up. I swore of this stuff so so long ago but my mind was trying to remind me of oh how awesome this first hit in 12 years would feel. There was enough in that baggie to make me feel like a million bucks for a couple of days. Once I got home part of my mind was attacking me, cursing me for passing up that opportunity. But thankfully after 12 years of sobriety my mind and conscience was healed enough to not allow myself even for a minute an opportunity to give in. I celebrated a victory and nobody knew it but me. For the first time in my life since I ever experimented with drugs I was actually able to consider the consequences of my actions BEFORE deciding and made the right choice. For all you other users out there who are shamed at your addiction and regret those past decisions just remember this. We can’t go back and undo what we’ve already done but we can make everything right over time by making the right decisions going forward.
    • michelle ziemann
      Thank you for sharing your experience. I pray you continue doing well.
    • Sha
      You are great , my mind still war at that devil