One of the first steps for an individual struggling with a methamphetamine addiction is to undergo detox. Meth withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, painful, and even deadly. Meth detox should never be done without the aid of a professional.
What is Detoxification?
Detoxification (or detox) describes the process of a substance or substances being removed from the body. Since every person is different, detox from meth results in varying outcomes. For this reason, it is always highly recommended that an individual withdrawing from meth do so in a safe, professional treatment facility where they can be monitored and treated during the various stages of detox.
The detox process at a treatment center is customarily broken down into the three main stages: evaluation, stabilization and recovery plan.
- Evaluation – An individual receives a full evaluation to determine the length, quantity, and severity of meth use, in addition to identifying the possible presence of a co-occurring condition.
- Stabilization – After past and current medical and personal history has been evaluated, the active process of detox begins. Depending on the individual, medication may be used to ease the symptoms of withdrawal
- Recovery Plan – Once initial detox has taken place, a recovery plan is designed to meet the specific needs of an individual, including therapy, establishing a support network and relapse prevention planning.
Looking at the three phases of meth detox helps to illuminate the importance of professional intervention. An experienced treatment facility, like Futures, has the resources, skilled staff, and environment to handle the intricacies required for meth detox.
Meth Detox & Withdrawal Timeline
Methamphetamine detox generally takes 2 to 4 weeks, but there is no concrete timeframe. Symptoms and length of detox will vary depending on the person’s usage — frequency, quantity, simultaneous use of additional drugs — as well as their overall health condition.
The unpredictability of the time it will take an individual to detox is another aspect to reinforce the importance of entering a treatment program, but there’s another critical reason to consider calling upon the expertise of a facility specializing in addiction recovery: pharmacological support.
Pharmacology refers to the process of administering medication to individuals going through detox. The following medications may be given to a client during detox to help minimize a range of withdrawal symptoms:
- Antidepressants such as Desipramine help reduce serious withdrawal symptoms.
- Chlordiazepoxide or another Benzodiazepine are often used to treat mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
A medical professional trained in treating addiction will conduct an evaluation to ensure the correct medication is administered to address a particular symptom or range of symptoms.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
The state that an individuals body enters after not using meth for a length of time – usually not longer than a few days, but varies for each person based on individual circumstances – can be extremely unpleasant. These withdrawal symptoms can vary widely from person to person, based on their overall health, mental state, and history of addiction. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Slow movement
- Repetitive movements
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Lack of appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood and body temperature
- Difficulty sleeping and/or insomnia
- Trouble concentrating
- Itchy eyes
Effects of long-term meth use may include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Increased appetite
- Intense cravings
- Severe dental problems
- Significant weight loss
- Violent behavior
The type of symptoms experienced, the time between last use and when withdrawal symptoms begin to occur, and length of detox vary from person-to-person. If an addiction is very strong, it can be as short as a few hours after the effects of the substance have worn off that symptoms begin. Once symptoms begin, they can continue for 1-2 weeks, until the chemical imbalances related to the removal of meth from the body are corrected.
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin in the first 24 hours (though as explained above, can begin as soon as a few hours or as late as 2-3 days after last use). These symptoms slowly increase in intensity and unpleasantness until the 7-10 day mark. This peak in symptoms is typically the most dangerous time period for someone in withdrawal, and where permanent damage is most likely to happen. After about 10-14 days, withdrawal symptoms have typically declined, and a person should be out of withdrawal, though very weak after these first 2 weeks have passed.
Meth Withdrawal & Depression
The most common symptom of withdrawal is depression. Individuals going through withdrawal often report feelings of hopelessness, meaninglessness, and apathy early in the withdrawal process, and these feelings may persist as long as withdrawal lasts. Meth withdrawal is also very draining, and clients report feelings of fatigue, lethargy, hungriness, dry mouth, and some jitters. Some more severe symptoms during this time period may include thoughts of suicide.
Because these symptoms are so severe, the risk of relapse is very high during the initial 1-2 weeks of withdrawal. Unlike some other drug addiction treatments, where some prescription medication can be used to ease withdrawal symptoms, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs used during meth withdrawal. This contributes to making meth addiction withdrawal a more difficult process than withdrawal from some other substances. However, antidepressants are often used to target any co-occurring conditions.
Meth Addiction Treatment & Detox Options
Going to treatment for meth addiction can be overwhelming for some. At Futures, we want to stress to anyone dealing with an addiction to meth that there is hope. Treatment is often a successful pathway, providing individuals the care, professional attention, and structure needed to not only help detox, but to continue a lasting journey of healthy and happy recovery.
At Futures, we are dedicated to providing the tools necessary for lasting recovery, from meth detox and integrative treatment to extensive support, relapse prevention, and a range of amenities and recreation options. If you or a loved one is struggling with a meth or crystal meth addiction, contact us today to learn about our treatment programs.