When meth addicts stop using meth, they will experience very intense and powerful withdrawal symptoms. Luckily, medically assisted detoxification can assist with these symptoms, which makes the entire process a bit less severe and overwhelming. Read on to learn more.
Meth Withdrawal: Understanding the Process
Once an individual stops using meth—especially if they have been shooting meth—the psychological and physical symptoms of withdrawal can begin in just a few hours. Chronic meth users who have been frequently using the drug over an extended period of time are more likely to experience the intense symptoms of withdrawal.
The withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and traumatic, and they can result in the user going right back to the drug, hopefully that they can counteract the withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, this action can often lead to the user going down a path of repeated drug use, developing into full meth addiction. By the time that most people realize that they have a true addiction problem and attempt to quit using, they come to realize that the effects of withdrawal are so powerful that they simply cannot overcome them by themselves.
When trying to do it by yourself, withdrawal from meth is excruciating. However, detoxing with medical supervision can help individuals avoid dangerous and extreme health complications while also reducing the overall risk of drug relapse.
A medical detox program is actually the safest and most effective way to eradicate meth and other addictive substances from the body. Programs like this fully support patients 24/7 throughout the detoxification process, with nurses and doctors close by to ensure that patients’ vitals are appropriate. In addition, each patient has a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to them and their needs—and that treatment plan is tailored as withdrawal symptoms improve.
Once detox has been completed, it is recommended that patients move onto an inpatient rehabilitation center to continue their recovery. As a general rule, most detox programs are located within inpatient rehab centers, making the overall transition easy. Inpatient rehabilitation centers offer high-quality care in a safe, structured facility, creating the perfect environment for detoxification. Moreover, inpatient rehab centers are fully equipped with professionals who are experienced in addiction treatment and are fully dedicated to improving the lives of those who are recovering from drug or substance abuse.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms can vary from one individual to the next. The severity of the symptoms will depend on how frequently and heavily the drug was used by the addict. If the individual is suffering from more than a single addiction, such as meth and alcohol, then it is crucial that all co-occurring addictions are addressed throughout the withdrawal process.
There are various other factors that can affect withdrawal such as the exact method of how the drug was consumed. For example, individuals who inject meth will generally experience a longer and more intense withdrawal process.
Common symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Increased appetite
- Loss of motivation
- Incoherent speech
- Suicidal thoughts
How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?
While experiences with each individual with vary, the symptoms generally peak between seven and 10 days once the drug has stopped being consumed by the individual. Cravings and depression can persist afterward, though the withdrawal symptoms have typically subsided.
Duration of Meth Withdrawal Timeline
- Days One to Three – Withdrawal symptoms can begin after just 24 hours of quitting the drug and remain at peak levels for the following seven to 10 days. Individuals may experience fatigue and may even sleep more than usual. During this time, feelings of depression may be experienced.
- Days Four to 10 – After the fourth day, withdrawal symptoms can get a bit more complex. This is when the strong cravings tend to begin. Individuals may also begin experiencing mood swings and find it hard to remain motivation and concentrate. In severe cases, extreme anxiety, hallucinations, and paranoia could occur.
- Days 11 to 30 – During this period of time, individuals tend to begin experiencing insomnia. Cravings and depression also continue.
- Days 31+ – After roughly a month after stopping use of the drug, most individuals will start to feel better. Most of the withdrawal symptoms have vanished, although feelings of depression could remain. During this period, cravings tend to come and go.
At the end of the initial withdrawal period, some individual may experience some protracted withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms, which can also be referred to as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), can include severe cravings and depression and are known to last for months and even years, in some of the most severe cases. They can be managed by attending individual and group counseling sessions and meetings throughout recovery. It is crucial that individuals seek professional help prior to PAWS symptoms getting out of hand.
Meth Detox: What to Expect
After making the decision to head to a detoxification center, it makes sense to be nervous or even a bit hesitant. However, many individuals quickly realize that there is nothing to worry about once the process begins. There are constantly medical professionals available every step of the way, and their priority is to ensure that patients are comfortable and safe throughout the entire process.
The detox process itself is comprised of three stages to make sure that patients receive the type of care that is most appropriate for them. Patients generally undergo a comprehensive review of their current and pat medical history to ensure that doctors are familiar with how to proceed with the treatment. Then, the personalized detoxification plan will begin. After the withdrawal process, doctors and patients may sit down together to discuss the next steps.
The three stages are as follows:
- Evaluation – Once admitted, the medical team to evaluate the patient’s health and overall well-being. Doctors and nurses may use a number of resources, such as blood tests, to determine how much meth is in the person’s system. The next step will be to develop a personalized detox plan—a plan that is tailored to the patient’s specific needs and goals.
Remember that health care providers may ask questions that are related to the patient’s current and previous substance abuse. This is necessary and vital to creating a long-term recovery plan for the patient, and it is also beneficial in the event that the patient is suffering from co-occurring disorders since these can impact the detox treatments that the patient can receive.
- Stabilization – Many individuals who come to a detox center are at the peak of their withdrawal symptoms and will begin treatment immediately after the evaluation occurs so that they are as comfortable as possible. As the withdrawal symptoms start to improve, the treatments are adjusted accordingly by the healthcare staff. Loved ones are kept updated on the patient’s condition and progress regularly.
- Transition – As the patient is nearing the end of the detoxification process, doctors will start to discuss the next steps with the patient. Since detox is just the first step in drug treatment and recovery, it is generally recommended that individuals move into a rehab facility to continue their recovery treatment. If the detox is taking place in a rehabilitation facility, which is likely the case, then the transition is much easier as is the path toward sobriety.
Medications for Meth Withdrawal
At this moment in time, there are no medications that are specifically designed to be used to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with meth use. There are, however, studies being conducted on specific medications to determine if they can be beneficial in the withdrawal process.
In the meantime, there is an antidepressant known as Bupropion that has been known to assist individuals in quitting smoking and may be able to help reduce cravings of meth. Modafinil, which has been used to treat narcolepsy, may be able to relieve feelings of excess fatigue during the withdrawal process. Detox patients who are experiencing panic attacks may find relief with a medication called Fluoxetine. For patients experiencing severe depression, a drug called Mirtazapine may help. Of course, it is important to understand that further research is being conducted to determine the efficacy of these medications and their use for relieving meth withdrawal symptoms.
Meth Addiction Treatment
One of the most effective ways to treat the physical symptoms of meth use and withdrawal is through a methamphetamine rehab program. After that, though, the next step is to submit to a drug rehabilitation program to deal with psychological effects of the underlying addiction. Rehab will help individuals recover from the addiction by showing them that they can and how to establish healthy lifestyle habits, which can reduce the risk of relapse.
Individuals have two options: inpatient or outpatient rehab facilities. Inpatient rehab facilities offer individuals who are struggling with meth addiction the best chance at recovery. Generally, individuals will remain at the center for a 30- 60-, or 90-day program. Some may opt to travel for the rehab program so that they get a true fresh start. There are some inpatient rehab facilities that are substance-free, which allows patients to truly focus on their full recover with zero distractions.
Outpatient rehab tends to be ideal for individuals with milder forms of addiction. These types of rehabs allow patients to recover from their own home, but it can also be far more difficult to avoid the various relapse triggers that are encountered on a daily basis. Prior to selecting an outpatient rehab facility program, it is important to talk to a health care professional or even an addiction treatment specialist to determine the treatment option that is best suited for you as an individual.
Regardless of the option that you choose, rehab can teach individuals how to manage your cravings through various kinds of therapies. Without this knowledge, you will be far more vulnerable to the temptations that could cause you to resume your use of meth. Some effective therapies that are often used in addiction rehabs are as follows:
- One-on-one counseling
- Group therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Contingency management
- Equine therapy
- Creative expression therapy
If you or someone you know is struggling with a meth addiction, take that first step toward recovery by giving us a call today at Shadow Mountain Recovery. Let us help you get sober.
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