Individuals who abuse meth typically require a rehab center to detox from it. And at the same time, people who abuse meth often need to treat the underlying issues that motivate self-destructive behaviors. When addiction develops, they need methamphetamine addiction treatment. While in treatment, a variety of addiction therapy techniques will help make recovery possible.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It is also sometimes called crystal, crystal meth, ice, and batu. Meth is found in the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder and it dissolves easily in water. Consumers use the drug smoking and inhaling into the lungs, snorting into the nasal cavity, or injecting into the veins.
Detoxing from meth is intended to help you stop taking the drug as quickly and safely as possible. When you enter detox, you will have an initial assessment and medical screening for other conditions and drug interactions that might cause complications.
Being in a detox center with medical monitoring will help ease the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. People who try to detox from meth on their own, frequently relapse due to the physically and emotionally disturbing and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Meth Detox
The continuous use of meth leads to withdrawal symptoms that vary from mild to severe once you stop taking it. Some typical symptoms are:
- Decreased sexual pleasure
- Sleep problems
- Increased appetite
- Lack of energy
Meth Detox and Withdrawal Timeline
Methamphetamine withdrawal follows a predictable timeline. Symptoms typically begin within 24 hours of the last dose.
- Crash or Comedown: This occurs during the first one or two days. The body is completely exhausted and the individual may sleep continuously. The symptoms reach their peak after seven to 10 days.
- Depression: The patient continues to be fatigued but with feelings of paranoia and overwhelming depression. This decreases after about 10 days. Many times, the person becomes so depressed that they will relapse rather than complete detox. There may be sleep or appetite problems.
- Sub-Acute Withdrawal: This stage is also known as the “Persistent Symptoms Period.” Bradycardia (abnormally slow heartbeat) could be present for several weeks after the last meth use, resulting in fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or confusion.
- Post-Acute Withdrawal: Even though acute withdrawal has passed, Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can occur for months after recovery. PAWS is a temporary condition that can often be triggered by people or environments that remind the person of using meth and usually lasts a few days.
Treating Symptoms of Meth Detox
Although there are no medications that have proven to be effective in removing meth from the body, drugs focusing on withdrawal symptoms can help with getting through detox and maintaining long-term abstinence.
Treating withdrawal symptoms might include medications like Modafinil, which is a narcolepsy drug that helps regulate sleep. It’s also believed that the moderate stimulant effects of Modafinil may help with the cravings and unpredictable sleep patterns associated with methamphetamine withdrawal. Modafinil has also shown promise in relieving the cognitive effects of meth use such as memory loss and difficulty processing ideas.
Bupropion is commonly referred to by the brand name Wellbutrin, and it’s an antidepressant that is frequently used to help people quit smoking. Long-term meth use can cause a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain. It plays a part in how we feel pleasure and is a big part of our ability to think and plan. It has been found that bupropion can help with meth withdrawal by regulating dopamine.
The brand name for fluoxetine is Prozac, and it’s an antidepressant that is typically prescribed for anxiety. According to researchers, it has shown promise in meth withdrawal studies with mice and might help some people. It’s believed it could help solve heart problems and relieve depressive symptoms of meth withdrawal.
Finding the Right Meth Detox Program
Meth addiction treatment is very complex and it needs to be different for each patient. Co-occurring mental health disorders are frequently found in meth abusers so it’s crucial to find a detox and treatment center that can correctly diagnose and treat a dual diagnosis. A common issue is that meth addicts tend to receive a misdiagnosis.
Treatment providers need to be able to determine if the current mental health issue is the result of drugs or not. Likewise, providers need to determine the severity and duration of any mental health condition. Many times, a longer detox is necessary to be able to make an accurate diagnosis. Medical providers in detox and treatment programs need to be experienced in diagnosing and the treatment of mental disorders as well as substance use disorders (SUDs).
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Meth use can cause a range of physical symptoms that are readily visible including:
- Pupil dilation
- Facial twitching
- Quick, jerky eye movements
- High body temperature
- Twitchy body movements or tremors
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Tooth decay
- High energy and excitement
- Scratching and picking at the hair and skin
- Sores on the face and skin
- Constant, rapid speech
Keep in mind that not everyone who uses meth will show these signs and some of these symptoms could have other explanations. For instance, anxiety, mental health issues, and skin conditions.
Meth addiction can also lead to changes in mood and behavior. Similar to the physical symptoms, these symptoms can have other causes, including mental health problems like anxiety, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. However, someone using meth might have noticeable changes in their emotions and behavior including:
- Hyperactivity or restlessness
- Impulsive or unpredictable behavior
- Aggressive or violent reactions
- Irritable, anxious, or nervous behavior
- Suspicion of others (paranoia)
- Irrational beliefs (delusions)
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Going for days at a time with little or no sleep
Long-Term Effects on Your Body
You can see some of the physical effects on the prematurely aged face of a meth user. But what are the effects you can’t see?
- Permanent damage to the blood vessels in the heart and brain
- High blood pressure which may cause heart attacks, strokes, and death
- Kidney, liver, and lung damage
- Destroys nasal tissues if sniffed
- Breathing problems if smoked
- Abscesses and infections if injected
- Severe tooth decay
- Psychological dependence
- Brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease
Detoxing from Meth is Just the Beginning
After the drug is completely out of your system, a medical professional will help you prepare for treatment. Detox is not the end of your treatment. In fact, it is just the beginning. People who detox and don’t continue in an ongoing treatment program are more likely to relapse early in their recovery.
Detox only addresses the physical need for the drug. Once that is completed, need to address the emotional and psychological dependence. For you to have the best possible outcome and lasting recovery, you need complete treatment including behavioral therapies and support groups.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
At this time, the most effective treatments for meth addiction are behavioral therapies. Currently, there are no medications available to specifically counteract the effects of meth or prolong the abstinence of an addict in recovery. Still, Naltrexone, which is presently being used to treat alcohol use disorder, is showing a capability to reduce meth cravings and changing former meth users’ responses to the drug. Effective behavioral therapies include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT therapy usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns. Patients learn to recognize the distortions in their thinking that are causing problems and reevaluate them. The patient works with a therapist to develop a set of healthy strategies to cope with reality. Several studies have shown CBT to be effective at reducing meth use after only a few sessions.
Contingency Management Therapy (CM)
This therapy method provides rewards for going to treatment, maintaining abstinence, or clean drug tests. The reward could be a gift certificate for a healthy dinner at a local restaurant or a gym membership. The monetary value of the reward increases the longer you abstain from using meth. Research has shown that CM reduces meth use, but it’s not clear whether this continues after treatment.
Family therapy is often a short-term therapy that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. It may include all family members or just the ones who want to participate. When a member of the family is an addict, the whole family is affected and out of balance. Therapy can teach skills to deepen family connections and help get through stressful times.
Treatment Programs After Meth Detox
After detox, you will need a treatment program to help you understand why you began using meth in the first place. As previously mentioned, it’s very common for people with a substance use disorder to also have a mental disorder. During a treatment program, you will attend various therapy sessions depending on your specific needs. The type of program you enter will depend on the severity and duration of your addiction. These are some available treatment programs in Florida at Chapel Hill Detox:
Inpatient Residential Treatment
If you enter an inpatient treatment program, you will live at the treatment facility. This helps you focus on your treatment without the distractions and triggers of your previous life. During inpatient treatment, you will attend therapy sessions full time. You will also learn healthy living skills and relapse prevention.
Outpatient treatment is frequently used as a step-down level after completing residential treatment. Many people don’t feel ready to return to their old environment without continuing therapy. Research shows that the longer you continue in some type of counseling, the better your chances at long-term sobriety.
During outpatient treatment, you’ll live at home and attend counseling sessions during the day. You may be able to enter treatment at the outpatient level if you have a mild addiction of short duration. It’s important to have supportive friends and family at home and work if you plan to enter an outpatient program.
Waiting Doesn’t Work
If you have a problem with methamphetamine addiction, whether it’s yours or a loved one’s, waiting to do something will not help anyone. A detox might sound like a difficult first step to getting clean, but considering the effects and consequences of meth addiction, it is definitely worth it.
Going through detox in a treatment facility like Chapel Hill, not only provides medical expertise and supervision but a safer environment. We are ready and able to help you with an experienced staff whose only job is to help you succeed. As proof, Chapel Hill has earned the highest level of accreditation in healthcare, The Joint Commission accreditation.
Don’t wait. Contact us today. We will be happy to answer your questions about treatment, detox, and insurance. Whatever your concerns, we are here to help get you on your way to a healthy, fulfilling life.