What Treatments Help With Meth Withdrawal?
March 9, 2022
Meth is one of the most common illegal drugs in the United States. Many people use it recreationally, and they love the quick, potent high they get out of the drug. Meth has stimulant effects, making users more energetic, talkative, and active.
Because of how powerful and addictive meth is, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II controlled substance. Under that classification, it means the drug has very few legitimate medical uses and has a high potential for abuse.
Meth can cause users to develop dependence very easily. With that, one of the problems users have is meth withdrawal, which can occur shortly after they stop taking the drug. Withdrawal makes quitting meth use a lot harder. When the symptoms become too uncomfortable and painful, the only resort for many users is to take meth again. This will then fuel a cycle of addiction.
If you happen to be dependent on meth, and want to quit using the drug safely, read on to know how.
What are the symptoms of meth withdrawal?
Withdrawal from this drug has both physical and psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Red, itchy eyes
- Stomach pains
The psychological symptoms are:
- Loss of motivation
- Suicidal thoughts
The specific symptoms, as well as their severity, may vary from person to person. It depends on several factors, such as:
- Frequency of taking meth
- Amount of meth taken each time
- Pre-existing health conditions
- Underlying mental health problems
- Abusing other substances along with meth
- Method of consumption (injection can cause more severe withdrawal symptoms than other methods)
These factors also influence the length of withdrawal. In most cases, the first sign of withdrawal is a “crash” that happens 1 to 2 days after the last dose of meth. Users in a meth crash will have the following symptoms:
- Low energy
- Decline in cognitive abilities
- Abdominal cramps
- Excessive sweating
Symptoms will peak within 3 to 10 days of the last dose, lasting for 2 to 3 weeks. After which, withdrawal often dies down, but some psychological symptoms may remain, such as:
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
These symptoms, known as post-acute withdrawal, may persist for several months. However, not everyone experiences these prolonged symptoms.
How can I deal with these withdrawal symptoms?
In any case, do not try to quit meth on your own. If you do, the withdrawal symptoms can become too much for you to handle. The discomfort will then compel you to take meth again, just to make the withdrawal symptoms go away. This is why most attempts to quit without professional help often fail.
If you have been trying to get off meth but haven’t succeeded yet, it’s best to go through medically-assisted meth detox. Ask your doctor or an addiction recovery professional to know how you can get started.
During detox, doctors and other medical staff will help you get off meth gradually. As you go on with the procedure, you may still experience withdrawal symptoms, but the medical team will provide adequate management of symptoms. They will make sure that the detox is as comfortable for you as possible. To further ease withdrawal, they may prescribe medications as well.
There are three phases of meth detox. Here is each one of them in detail.
In this first phase, doctors will take a look at your overall health. They will find out if you have any physical illnesses that may affect your recovery. Also, they will determine if you have any underlying mental health conditions that require special care. They will also order a urine-based drug test to know how much meth is currently inside your body. Additionally, they will ask you questions about your drug habits, how long you have been using the drug, and other relevant questions to know your level of dependence on meth.
Doctors will then draft a plan of treatment based on that information. Treatment plans vary per patient, and yours will be specific to your needs.
This second phase involves the actual process of detoxing from meth. A medical team will help wean you off the drug while managing any withdrawal symptoms that may show up. This phase is known as “stabilization” because the aim is to make your body stable despite the complete absence of meth.
To further aid the management of withdrawal, doctors may give you some medications. These include:
- Fluoxetine, which can ease anxiety and panic attacks
- Modafinil, which can help you sleep well at night and reduce meth cravings
- Bupropion, which can also help decrease cravings for meth
On average, detoxing from meth can last for at least 50 hours. During this time, the medical team will always be on standby in case you experience anything strange or uncomfortable. In case of any problems, you can get immediate care.
Detox is not the end of recovering from meth dependence. It is only the first step. Even if your body is cleared of all traces of the drug, your mind remains affected. You will need to go through behavioral therapies to ensure that you will live a completely sober life.
One commonly used behavioral therapy is known as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. During CBT, you and a therapist will work together to change your patterns of thought. The aim is to reverse negative thinking that leads to meth use. Once you can properly deal with negative thought patterns, your desire to take meth will eventually go away.
Another popular therapy is called contingency management. Here, you are rewarded for getting negative results in drug tests, which encourages you to abstain from meth. The more negative drug tests you get, the greater your incentives.
Get help today
If you are suffering from dependence or an addiction to meth, now is the time to get help. Talk to your doctor or find your nearest recovery facility. With professional help, your chances of getting your life back together are much higher.