Understanding Meth Withdrawal
After a person stops using meth, especially shooting meth, the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal can occur. Chronic users who frequently take the drug over an extended period of time are most likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal symptoms of meth are traumatic and painful, and can cause the user to take more of the drug in hopes of counteracting the withdrawal process. However, doing this may lead to a downward spiral of repeated meth use, which can develop into a full-blown addiction. By the time many users realize they have a problem and try to quit, they find that the withdrawal effects have become too powerful to overcome on their own.
Withdrawal from meth is an agonizing process when done alone. Detoxing under medical supervision helps people avoid dangerous health complications and decreases the risk of relapse.
Undergoing withdrawal in a medical detox program is the safest way to remove addictive substances, like meth, from the body. These programs support patients around-the-clock throughout the detox process. Doctors and nurses are also close by to monitor patients’ vitals and tailor their treatment plans as withdrawal symptoms begin to improve.
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After detox, patients are encouraged to continue their recovery in an inpatient rehab center. Luckily, many detox programs are located within these centers to help make the transition easier. Inpatient rehab centers offer the best environment for detox because they provide high-quality care within a structured, safe facility. In addition, inpatient rehabs are equipped with addiction treatment professionals who are dedicated to improving the lives of those in recovery from substance abuse.
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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms of withdrawal from meth vary from person to person. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how heavily and frequently the drug was used. If an individual is suffering from more than one addiction, like alcohol, it’s essential to address all co-occurring addictions during the withdrawal process.
Other factors, such as the method used to consume the drug, can also affect withdrawal. Typically, those who inject meth will experience a longer, more intense withdrawal process.
Common symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Red, itchy eyes
- Incoherent speech
- Loss of motivation
- Suicidal thoughts
How Long Does Withdrawal from Meth Last?
Although individual experiences will vary, symptoms typically peak between seven and ten days after the drug is no longer being consumed. Depression and cravings may persist afterward, but the withdrawal symptoms have generally subsided.
|Duration of Withdrawal Timeline For Meth|
|Days 1 – 3||Symptoms begin after the 24-hour mark and remain at peak levels during the next seven to ten days. Users experience fatigue and sleep more often than normal. Feelings of depression will also set in.|
|Days 4 – 10||After day four, symptoms grow more complex. Strong cravings begin around this time. Users may experience mood swings and find it difficult to concentrate or remain motivated. In some severe cases, paranoia, hallucinations and extreme anxiety may occur.|
|Days 11 – 30||Users will typically start to experience insomnia during this time. Depression and cravings usually continue.|
|Days 31+||About a month after quitting, most users begin to feel better. Many of their withdrawal symptoms lift, though feelings of depression may remain. Cravings may come and go during this period as well.|
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Following the end of the initial withdrawal period, some people can experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. Protracted withdrawal symptoms, also known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), include severe cravings and depression, which can persist for months or sometimes years in severe cases. These symptoms can be managed by regularly attending counseling sessions and group therapy meetings during recovery. It’s extremely important to seek professional guidance before these PAWS symptoms become too overwhelming.
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What to Expect During Meth Detox
It’s understandable to feel nervous or hesitant after deciding to go to a medical detox center. But many people find that there is nothing to worry about after detox begins. Medical professionals will be available throughout each step of the process. Their top priority is making sure patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
The detox process is broken down into three stages to ensure patients receive the form of care that’s right for them. Patients will typically undergo a comprehensive review of their current health so doctors know how to proceed with treatment. Next, patients will begin with their personalized detox plan. After the initial withdrawal process, doctors may sit down with the patient to discuss their next steps.
The three stages of medical detox are:
After being admitted, a medical team will assess the patient’s health and well-being. Doctors and nurses may use blood tests to determine the amount of meth in a patient’s system. From there, the treatment team can develop a detox plan that fits their specific needs.
Keep in mind that the doctor may ask a patient questions about their current and past substance abuse. This is necessary for setting up a patient’s long-term recovery plan. It’s also helpful for doctors to know if the patient suffers from any co-occurring disorders, as these can affect the types of detox treatments the patient will receive.
Many patients who arrive at the detox center are experiencing the peak of their withdrawal symptoms. Treatments begin as soon as possible after the evaluation stage to help make the patient more comfortable. As symptoms improve, the doctor will adjust treatments accordingly. Medical staff will also keep the patient’s loved ones informed and updated on their progress.
Transition into further treatment
When the detox process is almost complete, doctors will begin to discuss next steps with their patient. Because detox is only the first step in drug treatment, doctors typically recommend that patients continue their recovery in a rehab facility. If the detox is already taking place in a rehab center, doctors can help patients transition and stay on track toward sobriety.
Are There Medications Used For Withdrawal from Meth?
Currently, there are no medications specifically designed to ease withdrawal symptoms for meth users. However, studies are being conducted on certain medications to see if they can help with the process.
Bupropion, an antidepressant used to help people quit smoking tobacco, is one drug that may reduce meth cravings. Modafinil, which can treat narcolepsy, may help users who report excessive sleepiness during withdrawal. Fluoxetine could potentially help detox patients overcome panic attacks. Mirtazapine may also reverse symptoms of severe depression. Further studies are being conducted before researchers can confirm the efficacy of these medications for meth withdrawal.
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Getting Treatment for a Meth Addiction
Detox programs are the most effective way to treat the physical symptoms of meth abuse and withdrawal. After detox, the next step is going to drug rehab to tackle the psychological effects of an underlying addiction.
Rehab helps people recover from a meth addiction by showing them how to establish healthy life habits. These habits help decrease the risk of relapse.
Individuals can choose to recover in an inpatient or outpatient facility. Inpatient rehabs give those struggling with meth addiction the greatest chance at having a successful recovery. Typically, patients stay in a residential center for 30-day, 60-day or 90-day programs. Some people choose to travel for inpatient rehab, which can give many patients a “fresh start” mindset. In addition, inpatient rehabs are substance-free, allowing patients to focus on their recovery without distractions.
Outpatient treatment is also an option for recovering meth users. This treatment option is best suited for people with mild forms of addiction. While outpatient rehabs have the added benefit of allowing patients to recover at home, it can be much harder to avoid relapse triggers. Before selecting an outpatient program, consult a medical professional or addiction treatment specialist to determine which treatment option is best for you.
Rehab also teaches people in recovery how to manage their cravings through different types of therapies. Without the lessons learned in therapy, individuals are more susceptible to temptations that will cause them to resume their meth use.
Some effective therapies used in rehab include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- One-on-one counseling
- Group therapy
- Creative expression therapy
- Equine therapy
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to meth, take the first step toward sobriety today. Get help finding a treatment center that fits what you’re looking for.
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