Anyone who’s used for any length of time has already gotten a taste of what methamphetamine withdrawal can be like. As the effects of the drug wear off, damaged brain processes are left to fend for themselves. Methamphetamine withdrawal effects result from the degree of chemical imbalance present throughout the brain and body.
When in rehab, methamphetamine withdrawal plays out in its entirety as the body learns to adjust to living without the effects of the drug. Depending on how a long a person has used, withdrawal happens in stages, with the physical symptoms appearing early on followed by the emotional effects.
While methamphetamine withdrawal can be a difficult period to go through, knowing what to expect along the way can help take some of the “sting” out of the experience.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term methamphetamine use impairs brain functions on a chemical and molecular level. Over time, severe structural and functional changes develop within the areas of the brain that regulate emotions and memory. These damaging effects account for the uncomfortable symptoms and stages that occur during methamphetamine withdrawal.
In most cases, recovering addicts go through two phases of withdrawal. The first phase brings on the most intense symptoms of withdrawal, which lasts for about two weeks. The second phase carries less intense symptoms that last for an additional two or three weeks.
With severe addictions, a person may also experience a third phase of methamphetamine withdrawal known as the post acute withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms occurring in this phase are mostly psychological in nature, but can be somewhat distressing all the same. This phase can last for as long as six months to a year.
Methamphetamine Withdrawal Effects in Rehab
Withdrawal effects in rehab will, for the most part be the exact opposite of the “high” effects produced by the drug. Whereas users typically don’t sleep for days on end, in rehab a person may sleep as much as 11 hours a day. Likewise, meth users typically have little to no appetite, so it’s not uncommon for addicts to have ongoing cravings for carbohydrates while in rehab.
Probably the most distressing symptoms of all takes the form of severe depression wherein a person feels no sense of pleasure or contentment. In cases of severe addiction, addicts may also display psychotic symptoms in the form of hallucinations, violent behaviors and delusions. Extremely strong cravings for meth also appear throughout the withdrawal stages.
Methamphetamine withdrawal can be an excruciating experience wrought with emotional ups and downs. For most addicts, making it through this essential first stage requires professional treatment and support. This is especially the case for chronic methamphetamine users who will likely experience psychotic symptoms along the way.
Both detox and inpatient treatment programs can provide the types of help and support needed to make it through withdrawal. Without needed treatment help, the likelihood of relapse and continued drug use runs considerably higher. After making it through withdrawal, these programs can help recovering addicts enter the next stage of the recovery process.