Meth is a very highly addictive substance. It is so addictive that, in some cases, it can cause addiction after using it once. This is mainly due to the dopamine overload that results from using the drug.
Dopamine is a chemical that is not only responsible for pleasurable feelings, but also memory retention, motivation, reward processing, and learning. The dopamine rush caused by meth is much higher than the usual amount produced in the brain. This is what causes people to continue abusing the drug and access these heightened pleasurable feelings.
Many people who use meth will use the drug over several days, staying perpetually high throughout. This ultimately leads to tolerance. After a while, you will require larger doses to get the same high.
Any illicit use of methamphetamines qualifies as abuse. Just like crack cocaine, meth stimulates a "rush" when injected or smoked. This is caused by the spiking of the heart rate, blood pressure, and neurotransmitters in the brain, which induce pleasure. On the other hand, when you snort meth, it causes an euphoric sensation, but it does not produce a rush.
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Meth use and misuse is a major problem in the US. Because of how potent the drug is, it can rapidly lead to dependency. As a recreational user, you may suffer a crash once you stop using meth. The crash can last for several days. However, addicted users will go through meth withdrawal, and it may last up to several weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms are painful and debilitating. Many meth-dependent people seek the drug and take more and more of it as they attempt to stave off the process of withdrawal. This typically leads to a never ending downward spiral, where increasing amounts of meth are used.
By the time the meth user realizes that he or she has a problem and attempts to quit, they quickly realize that the effects of withdrawal have become far too powerful to power through. A significant number of individuals will also report intense feelings of depression. However, these taper off linearly throughout withdrawal.
The depressive symptoms may be significant and can be associated with suicidal thoughts. To add to this, research has shown that many individuals that relapse do so as their feelings of depression, hopelessness, and apathy become too much to bear.
Psychotic symptoms, with the examples of hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions, will also occur in many users. These symptoms will need to be addressed in a professional treatment setting.
The safest way to treat symptoms of withdrawal is by going through a professionally supervised detoxification. The programs will support you with 24-hour care during the detox process.
Doctors and nurses will also be on hand to monitor your vitals. They will tailor treatment plans as the symptoms of withdrawal start to improve. Once the meth detoxification process has been completed, the recovering user may seek counseling, therapy, management, and other services. This process will allow them to learn how to maintain their sobriety in the long term.
Symptoms of meth withdrawal may vary, individual-to-individual. The severity and intensity of the side effects will be dependent on several factors. This is inclusive of the length of time you have used meth, the amount of meth you have used, and the time that meth has been used, the frequency of use, and whether you have engaged in polydrug use.
Besides, other factors like the mode of administration of the drug, can affect withdrawal. People who inject meth have a longer, more severe process of withdrawal compared to those who do not.
This one is prevalent among people going through withdrawal. Studies have shown that anxiety rates among those who use and abuse meth are estimated to be as high as 30%.
When using meth, the user will often feel hyperactive. He or she will also feel like there is no need for sleep. However, during withdrawal, the user will feel the opposite. This is especially true for the first week of withdrawal. The user will feel very inactive, exhausted, and sleepy. It is not rare to experience vivid dreams. These will, however, subside after the first week.
Having a low, depressed mood is entirely normal when going through withdrawal. For most people, this will have dissipated entirely by the third week. However, depression can continue for a small-sized proportion of folks coming off meth.
This one consists primarily of hallucinations. You may see, feel, or hear things that are not there. It may also involve delusions. You may have ideas that seem real but which are not accurate in reality. These symptoms also appear when you are high on the drug.
Most people that are withdrawing from meth will experience a powerful desire to take more of the drug. They will experience cravings, which are common among those who are withdrawing from all kinds of drugs.
While you are in meth, your appetite will be meager. You can go for long periods without eating. The opposite is exact when going through withdrawal, you will have intense cravings for carbs, especially at the start of withdrawal. You will want to gorge in starchy or sugary foods. This may last for up to 3 weeks.
The specific withdrawal period will vary, person-to-person. However, the acute phase of withdrawal will typically peak around day three after your last fix. It will start easing up after a week or so. Psychological symptoms will include cravings, agitation, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. These may persist for up to twelve months in some people.
First 48 Hours: This is the phase known as the crash. This will occur within 24 hours after you used meth. During the first 1 to 2 days, former users of meth will experience a steady decline in cognitive function and energy. They will also experience nausea, muscle aches, and powerful cravings.
Days 3-10: The symptoms of withdrawal will typically peak here. The body is in overdrive in an attempt to adjust in the absence of meth. Recovering users of meth will experience anxiety, severe depression, and significant fatigue. Some will experience shaking and muscle aches that just won't go away. They may also experience intense cravings.
Days 14-20: The symptoms of withdrawal will usually last around two to three weeks. As the 2nd week comes to a close, many of the physical symptoms will start to dissipate. However, intense cravings of meth may persist. Depression and fatigue may also persist.
1 Month+: By this point, the most severe symptoms will have worn off. Any symptoms which remain - and there may be a few - will continue to dissipate over time. For some, however, such psychological symptoms as anxiety and depression may persist for several months. They will subside eventually, as long as the user does not use the drug.
Withdrawal can be severe. However, there are some steps that you can take to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms. These steps can also make the process much more bearable. They include:
Many people are hesitant to start detox. However, if done under professional care, you will be safe. The withdrawal effects may be unpleasant, and you may feel as though you cannot go another minute without taking meth. But by and by, the experience will get easier to deal with.
The detox process typically involves the following distinct steps:
Upon admission, a team of professionals will assess your health. The experts, including doctors, therapists, and nurses will usually use an urine drug screen to determine the meth amounts that a patient has used in the recent past.
From there, the team will develop a detox plan which fits your needs. Further, the doctor may have questions regarding your drug use, both presently and in the past. This will be necessary so that the doctor can draw up a long-term recovery plan for you. It is also helpful for the doctor to know if you have any co-occurring disorders. These can have an effect on the types of treatment options that the doctor can draw up for you.
The bulk of patients who walk into the detox center is either experiencing the peak of the withdrawal symptoms or primed. Treatments will begin as quickly as possible after evaluation to help the patient be more comfortable. As the symptoms start to improve, the doctor will adjust the treatments accordingly. The addiction treatment professionals will also make an effort to keep loved ones informed as well as update them on the patient's progress.
Once the process of detox is almost complete, the doctors will start to discuss the next steps with the client. Detox is just the initial step. Doctors will help you transition into the next level of care so that you can stay sober.
There are no FDA-approved medications designed to be utilized specifically in the crystal meth withdrawal. However, there are multiple medications that may help manage some symptoms which occur during the withdrawal process. They include:
i) Wellbutrin (bupropion): This antidepressant has been approved for use in helping smokers to quit. As a medication, it has been researched and found to have some effectiveness in reducing withdrawal symptoms in former crystal meth users and abusers. This medication blunts the cravings for crystal meth. It is more appropriate for moderate users of meth. It may not be quite so effective with heavier users.
ii) Provigil (Modafinil): Modafinil is a mild stimulant medication that has been used to treat ADHD as well as narcolepsy. Its stimulating properties may help reduce issues with disruptive sleep patterns. They could also increase energy levels and enhance concentration.
iii) Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Paxil (paroxetine) is a commonly used a specific type of antidepressant medication or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It has been proven in studies to dissipate drug cravings in meth users who have abstained and who are going through withdrawal. However, research on the drug's efficiency for treatment during meth withdrawal is not very detailed. Research suggests that Prozac (fluoxetine) is effective at treating meth withdrawal.
iv) Remeron (mirtazapine): With its primary mode of action on both norepinephrine and serotonin, mirtazapine is an atypical antidepressant. It might also be effective at preventing relapse during the drug withdrawal process.
When managing withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth, doctors will be free to utilize any medications with the goal of addressing specific symptoms which arise. For example, in those clients who display psychotic-like behavior, with the inclusion of paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, physicians may prescribe antipsychotic medications if the symptoms are severe enough that they need direct attention.
Detox is the safest, most effective way to manage addiction to crystal meth. After this process, the next step is to attend rehab to sufficiently deal with the underlying psychological and emotional causes of ongoing addiction. In case you have (or a loved one has) been struggling with addiction or know a loved one who is, you should work on getting help through meth detox.