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What Happens in Meth Detox?

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Methamphetamine packs a powerful punch producing incredibly intense physical effects that can last for up to eight hours. As a central nervous system stimulant, these effects disrupt brain chemical processes as well as heart and digestive functions.

According to the University of Maryland, methamphetamine takes a tremendous toll each time a person uses, since the body remains in high gear for as long as a person continues to experience meth’s “high” effects. By the time users are ready to get off the drug, both the brain and the body have undergone considerable damage. Under these conditions, meth detox can be difficult to endure without needed treatment help.

The meth detox experience unfolds in stages, with the worst of withdrawal symptoms appearing during the early stages. Though less uncomfortable, the late stages of meth detox can be fairly uncomfortable as the brain works to restore chemical levels back to normal.

Meth Effects

Meth Detox

Detox treatment is very helpful to a person going through withdrawal.

People under the influence of meth experience extreme bursts of energy that often keep them going for hours, and sometimes days on end. In this state, users have little to no desire for food or sleep. Meanwhile, brain neurotransmitter chemicals flood the brain and central nervous system, all but overloading the body’s capacity.

Methamphetamine most affects the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals regulate a person’s mood and movement or activity level. Chronic meth use, where users ingest large doses in rapid succession, can bring on psychotic-type symptoms, such as:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behavior displays
  • Picking at the skin

Once the “high” wears off, low levels of dopamine and serotonin account for the withdrawal effects experienced.

Meth Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

For the most part, long-term meth use damages brain cells to the point where permanent brain damage is a very real possibility. In the process, a person’s physical and psychological health continues to deteriorate for as long as he or she continues to use the drug.

Meth detox withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on how long, how often and how much of the drug is ingested. In general, physical withdrawal symptoms commonly take the form of:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Extreme feelings of agitation
  • Increase in appetite
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Crawling sensations underneath the skin

During meth detox, psychological symptoms most often experienced include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Confused thinking
  • Loss of memory
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behavior displays

Meth Detox Help

The psychological effects from withdrawal can be the most distressing part of the meth detox process. At this point, brain chemical imbalances leave a person unable to experience any form of pleasure or contentment to the point where severe depression sets in. These symptoms alone account for why so many people resume drug use in an effort to gain relief.

For these reasons, detox programs place a heavy emphasis on helping a person through the psychological aspects of withdrawal. While it is possible to detox on one’s own, the overwhelming effects of withdrawal make it difficult overcome the urge to use.

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