Being discovered more than 120 years ago and used for countless legitimate medical uses, methamphetamine is an unbelievably potent stimulant that has seen a huge surge in abuse in recent decades. It creates a super-high potential for abuse due to the ultra-potent effects of the drug combined with the severe dependency it causes on a chemical level with the brain.
Meth abuse is spreading across our country like wildfire due to a perfect storm of meth being extremely cheap to produce and obtain and the effects that are felt comparable to other stimulants at a fraction of the price for the duration. This has led meth to become one of the most commonly abused substances in the US today.
Meth is incredibly potent even in tiny doses and can be felt within moments of being taken. The pleasurable effects that draw users in begin immediately, and there is a rush of euphoria and a flood of neurochemicals that begin reinforcing the reward part of the use-reward cycle.
The short-term dangers are no less significant and feature some potentially deadly risks. Even first-time users can experience a sudden and violent elevation of body temperature and blood pressure, disruption of steady heartbeat, increased respiration rate, sudden loss of appetite and apathy toward food, and significantly disrupted sleep patterns.
Meth is a drug that gives users a wide variety of pleasurable and adverse effects, and the exact combination of each can be impossible to predict ahead of time. The assortment of withdrawal effects and the duration of the withdrawal process will often depend greatly on the dosages and frequency used during the abuse. There are also many other factors related to the individual’s physical health and condition that can significantly affect their personal withdrawal experience.
What can be counted on, however, is that users that preferred injectable forms of meth or took larger doses consistently, no matter the method of administration, can expect to experience a more severe and lingering withdrawal process. The symptoms will be more intense, and the time it takes for the post-acute stage to wind down will often be longer. This effect will be further exacerbated by polysubstance abuse.
Common symptoms experienced during withdrawal from meth include intense appetite, emotional instability, increased tendency to become agitated, disruption of sleep cycles and potential insomnia, fever, sweating, fatigue, paranoid behavior, hallucinations, confusion, itchy & red eyes, dehydration, nausea, feelings of anxiousness, tremors, depression, and thoughts of suicide or self-harm. While most individuals will experience at least one of these symptoms, and many will experience a few, some users will either not experience any or will experience them all. Depending on the user’s medical history and abuse profile, there may be motivation for a medically supervised detox process.
Once the user has decided to stop using meth, the first 48 hours are often referred to as “the crash” and include the rebound of a sudden loss of energy and what can be described as “brain fog.” Often in the first 48-72 hours, there will be nausea, abdominal cramping, and a lot of sweating.
The symptoms and severity will often peak on or after the 3rd day of detox. This will represent the most uncomfortable or even painful point of the detox process and is often the point where people attempting detox by themselves will break and relapse. Here, the individual can expect to feel significant depression, anxiety, and incredibly draining fatigue. There may also be tremors and achiness. The individual will still likely feel strong cravings and drive to use meth at this stage.
At the 10 to the 14-day point, most individuals will feel the symptoms they felt during the acute stage begin to subside and fade away. Most physical symptoms will fade, though psychological ones like cravings, depression, and ongoing fatigue may require further counseling to help heal. This is considered to be the end of the acute withdrawal stage.
One month and longer brings the end of all physical symptoms of withdrawal, hopefully, and any other symptoms that remain should be measurably tapering off. However, it is not uncommon for depression and anxiety or panic to be present for many months after the initial detox. For those with a long history of use, there may need to be years of counseling and therapy to recover and solidify the healing fully.
If you or someone in your life has been dealing with serious withdrawal symptoms from meth or is having trouble detoxing, the best thing you can do for them right away is to let them know that they are not alone and that help is available for them if they choose to accept it. When individuals with a substance abuse problem opt to work with addiction professionals, the chances of a successful and long-term recovery become much greater.
When working with experienced substance abuse professionals, the individual going through recovery will be able to help create a treatment plan that works for them and helps them be successful in their journey.
To gain footing in the journey towards long-term sobriety, it is essential that an individual suffering from an addiction first detox from the substance so that the cravings for the drug are brought to a halt. Only then can an individual start giving all their attention and focus to recovery. By beginning the recovery process with medically-supervised detox, the recovering individual will have the peace of mind that no matter what health crisis may arise, they will be taken care of by trained professionals.
If you are currently struggling with an addiction to meth and seeking New York treatment options, you must seek the help you need and deserve before it’s too late. At Ascendant, we are experts at treating substance abuse and offer various treatment options, including detox and rehab services. So reach out today to our premier detox facility to start walking on the path to a better tomorrow immediately.
Last medically reviewed August 29, 2022