Methamphetamine is a street drug that is commonly known by the short form name “meth”. It is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the brain and can cause considerable health problems, resulting in potential death. Meth can cause addiction in as little as one use in some users, people typically use meth and alcohol combination, which in fact, increase the side effects. This is mainly due to the rush of dopamine produced by the drug. Dopamine is a chemical that’s responsible for inducing feelings of pleasure and motivation, memory retention, learning, and reward processing. Methamphetamine detox might not be easy, but the benefits of overcoming meth addiction far outweigh the negative side effects of detox.
The first step in confronting meth addiction is detox, which is the process of ridding the body of an addictive substance. Methamphetamine Detox can mean experiencing some pretty tough withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms begin around 24 hours after the last dose. Fatigue may set in first, followed by overwhelming feelings of depression. Withdrawal symptoms can persist for two weeks or even months for more experienced users.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , during 2015–2018, an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults reported past-year methamphetamine use. Also, 52.9% had a methamphetamine use disorder, and 22.3% reported injecting methamphetamine within the past year. In addition, co-occurring substance use and mental illness were common among those who used methamphetamine within the past year.
Signs & Symptoms of Meth Addiction
- Increased energy and alertness
- Reduced appetite
- Faster breathing
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Significant weight loss
- Severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
- Persistent itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Memory loss
- Violent behavior
Undergoing withdrawal in a medical Methamphetamine Detox program is the safest way to treat symptoms and remove meth from the body. Similarly, these programs support clients with 24/7 medical care throughout the entire process. Clinicians can monitor the client’s vitals and tailor treatment plans as withdrawal symptoms begin to improve. Once detox is complete, the person can seek counseling and other services to maintain long-term sobriety.
Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Meth has a relatively short half-life (an average of around 10 hours), and it is a fast-acting drug. Therefore, the timeline for withdrawal varies between individuals. However, the acute withdrawal phase typically peaks around day two or three after last use and generally begins to ease after a week.
Methamphetamine Detox begins within the first 24 hours of abstinence. The person will start to experience a sharp decline in energy and cognitive function, as well as nausea, abdominal cramping, and sweating.
It reaches its peak within the first Methamphetamine Detox 7-10 days following discontinuation of the drug, and there is a steady decline in the intensity of symptoms following this peak. The person will experience severe depression, anxiety, and extreme fatigue. Some people will also experience shaking and lingering muscle aches, as well as intense drug cravings.
It has an average duration of about 14-20 days, with 14 days being the most commonly reported duration of the withdrawal syndrome. Most physical symptoms begin to subside towards the end of the second week, but intense drug cravings can persist. Additionally, continuing fatigue and depression are common during this Methamphetamine Detox period.
Signs of Meth Overdose
If someone you know struggles with meth, getting familiar with the signs of an overdose could one day save a life.
Common symptoms of a meth overdose include:
- Chest pain
- Hypertension or hypotension
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Rapid or slow heartbeat
If someone undergoes a meth overdose, their odds of recovery depend on how much of the drug they took and how quickly they receive treatment. Coming back from a meth overdose is possible, but it is paramount that the person who overdosed receives professional medical attention immediately. Since a meth overdose is a clear sign of an abuse issue, professional addiction treatment should follow once the person is stabilized.
Medically Assisted Methamphetamine Detox
The first step to recovery from addiction is Methamphetamine Detox. During Methamphetamine Detox, the user will likely experience several unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Fatigue and Sleepiness
- Meth Cravings
- Increased Appetite
The medically assisted Methamphetamine Detox can take a week or more, depending on how much they use and how often. In addition, the withdrawal symptoms from meth can be uncomfortable and lead you to resume the use of meth to relieve them.
Detoxing at home can also be dangerous if you experience depression and anxiety so severe that it leads to harming yourself or others or precipitates the onset of suicidal ideation.
3 Stages of Medical Methamphetamine Detox
Clients will typically undergo a comprehensive review of their current health, so doctors know how to proceed with treatment. Next, clients will begin with their personalized detox plan. After the initial withdrawal process, doctors may sit down with the client to discuss their next steps. The detox process for meth can be broken down into the three following stages:
Upon admission, a medical team will evaluate the client’s health and well-being. In addition, doctors and nurses typically use urine drug screens to determine the amount of meth that a client has used recently. From there, the treatment team can begin a detox plan that fits their specific needs. Also, keep in mind that the doctor may ask a client questions about their present and past drug addiction. This is important for setting up a client’s long-term recovery plan. It’s also helpful for doctors to know if the client suffers from any co-occurring disorders, as these can affect the types of detox treatments the client will receive.
Many clients 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 client more comfortable. Moreover, as symptoms progress, doctors will adjust treatments accordingly. Medical staff will also keep the client’s loved ones informed and updated on their progress.
Transition Into Further Treatment
When the detox process is almost complete, doctors will start to discuss the next steps with their clients. Detox is only the first step in meth addiction treatment, and physicians advise that clients continue their recovery in a rehab facility. Also, if the detox is already taking place in a treatment facility, medical staff will help clients transition into the next stage and stay on track toward sobriety.
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 Center for Disease Control and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912a1.htm