All About Meth Detox
Understanding the side effects of meth on the body, along with its withdrawal process, is the first step in Methamphetamine (meth) recovery.
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Meth Detox: Everything You Need to Know
Understanding the side effects of meth on the body, along with its withdrawal process, is the first step before starting detox. Methamphetamine (meth) is an addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system and can even change how the brain functions. It often creates feelings of euphoria at first, but then users tend to feel overly agitated or edgy after the euphoria has worn off.1
Understanding Meth Withdrawal
If you or a loved one find yourself struggling with daily tasks and relationships due to your meth usage, it may be time to reach out and start the process of withdrawing and detoxing from the substance. This should be done under medical supervision, as the withdrawal process can have dangerous side effects.
The symptoms of meth withdrawal, which will generally set in about twenty-four hours after the last dosage, often include:2
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Suicidal thoughts
- Anxiety and depression
What to Expect During Meth Detox
The first few days of detox will be the hardest, as the body has become so used to functioning with meth in its system. After about a week or so, the body will become gradually more used to not receiving meth, and symptoms will lessen.
The timeline for meth withdrawal will depend on each person, although usually, it takes anywhere from a week or two, or even up to a month, to fully detox from the substance.
What Happens During Meth Withdrawal?
Meth withdrawal will look slightly different for everyone, depending on how long and how frequently patients used meth, alongside each person’s specific genetic and social factors. Generally, however, there are a few stages that each patient will go through during the withdrawal and detox process:3
- Evaluation: During this stage, a medical professional will evaluate the patient, both mentally and physically, for any sign of meth addiction or other possible co-occurring disorders. This will help determine what kind of treatment plan is necessary.
- Stabilization: This process is where detox and withdrawal start. It is often done alongside other forms of addiction recovery tactics, such as prescribing medication and starting psychotherapy.
Transitions to Further Treatment
After the initial detox is complete, many recovery centers will then ease patients into other treatment options to help prevent relapse and stay both physically and mentally healthy. These can include forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, along with potentially attending support groups as well. During this stage, it’s imperative that patients understand how important it is to follow through with care and get the support they need in order to stay drug-free.
Medications Used to Assist Meth Detox
Some patients may require the use of medications during the detox process in order to help fully and safely withdraw, especially if they have co-occurring disorders. While there are no medications that assist fully with meth detox, some medicine that can help with other aspects of withdrawal include benzodiazepines, fluoxetine, and some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
How Long Does Meth Detox Take?
Detoxing from meth looks different for everyone, and the length of time for a methamphetamine detox can greatly vary. However, there are generally three stages that patients will go through: crashing, cravings, and rehabilitation.
Stage One: Crashing
This phase takes place for the first two or three days after the patient has stopped using methamphetamine. This stage can be dangerous for many reasons, meaning it’s important that detox is done at a medical facility if possible. Symptoms during this stage include nausea, insomnia, sweating, cramping, and an overall decrease in function.
Stage Two: Cravings
Cravings often start after the symptoms from the first few days have somewhat subsided. This stage generally lasts for about a week or two after the “crash” period and comes with other symptoms as well, including anxiety and depression. If the patient used meth for a longer period of time, and more frequently, this stage may take longer than those who used it for a shorter amount of time. Symptoms from phase one may also still persist during this time.
Stage Three: Rehabilitation
This stage allows for the full rehabilitation of the patient and is generally when psychotherapy or support groups start. People may still experience mental health side effects and cravings from the past two stages, but other physical symptoms have generally subsided by this time. This stage usually begins about three to four weeks after the patient has had their last dose of meth.
Meth Withdrawal Risks and Outlook
During the meth detox timeline, there are various health risks present for the patient. The best way to cope with methamphetamine withdrawal is to do so safely at a detox center, as detox can be potentially life-threatening.
If you or your loved one have used meth for a longer period of time, it can be more dangerous to detox as well, as the body has become reliant on the substance in order to function in many ways. Professional help is often necessary for a safe detox process and can also help with preventing relapse.
What Does Withdrawal Do to the Brain?
With long-term drug usage, the brain’s serotonin and reward systems slow down, creating an imbalance in how the brain receives chemicals. When withdrawal starts, the brain’s reward system suddenly shifts, creating an intense low that affects how the brain functions yet again. This is what creates the side effects of withdrawal and can potentially affect other areas of the body as well.4
Finding Treatment for Meth Addiction
There are many treatments available to help those who struggle with a meth substance abuse disorder. Some of these include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and 12-Step programs. Certain medications can also help treat the side effects of withdrawal, such as anxiety and depression.5
Is Meth Detox at Home Safe?
Detoxing from meth at home should only be done if attending a recovery center isn’t feasible, as the withdrawal process can potentially be very dangerous without medical assistance nearby. Addiction treatment Centers and Inpatient Drug Rehab offering supervised care and medical attention if the patient starts to exhibit life-threatening side effects.
Begin Your Recovery from Meth Addiction Today at Alta Centers
If you or a loved one need help with a meth substance abuse disorder, contact Alta Centers today. Our care center offers multiple forms of treatment and assistance during the detox process, and we will be there to provide around-the-clock care. We’re here to help in our safe and supportive environment.