Though most people overcome substance use disorders without accessing formal treatment, some people may seek counseling or therapy for help. There are several forms of psychosocial and behavioral treatment that proven to be helpful for people with methamphetamine use disorder. In addition, there are promising medications that have been studied for methamphetamine use disorder, however, they have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose.

Contingency Management

Contingency management (CM) is a type of behavioral therapy grounded in the principles of operant conditioning, a method of learning in which desired behaviors are reinforced with prizes, privileges, or cash. Attending treatment sessions, adhering to prescribed medications, or producing negative drug test results can be rewarded with vouchers for retail goods or services. CM can be used across different genders, ages, races, and ethnicities. CM has been shown to significantly reduce number of days of methamphetamine use, cravings, new use, and HIV risk behaviors.

Community Reinforcement Approach

The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) is often used in conjunction with CM. The goal of CRA is to identify behaviors reinforcing methamphetamine use and make a substance-free lifestyle more rewarding than one that includes drug misuse. CRA practitioners encourage clients to become progressively involved in alternative non-substance-related pleasant social activities, and to work on enhancing the enjoyment they receive within the “community” of their family and job. CRA has been shown to lengthen abstinence, addiction severity, and frequency of use.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a treatment approach that meets people where they are at and helps them to overcome ambivalent feelings about changing their behavior. It helps people explore their own reasons for change and to become motivated to make changes in their drug use. MI is intended for use across different groups, like CM. However, MI can be tailored for different populations, such as men who have sex with men. MI has been demonstrated to reduce number of days of methamphetamine use and amount of methamphetamine used per day. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Finally, people may undergo treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help with methamphetamine use disorders. CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that enables people to understand their current problems, challenges, and experiences in order to change their behaviors and patterns of thinking. CBT is always tailored to fit the needs of the individual. It is widely used and can be employed across genders, ages, races, and ethnicities. CBT has been associated with reductions in quantity of methamphetamine consumed per week, frequency of use per week, and risky sexual behaviors.

Stimulant use disorders can have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of individuals. The stigma of methamphetamine use often prevents people from seeking treatment if they would like to change their usage. Therefore, it is important that the focus of treatment for methamphetamine/stimulant use disorders not center on stigmatizing participants. Methamphetamine use is not same across the board, and some people may misuse methamphetamine while trying to manage mental health issues like depression or the effects of trauma.

See the fact sheet for more information and sources.