As a Schedule II narcotic stimulant, methamphetamine, also known as meth, carries a high potential for abuse and addiction, which accounts for its limited medical uses. Methamphetamine’s high potential for addiction makes for a rough meth detox period, especially for long-term users.
This drug’s effects on the central nervous system closely resemble those produced by amphetamines, another highly addictive stimulant, according to the University of Hawaii. The incredible toll methamphetamine takes on the brain and body opens a person up for fairly harsh withdrawal effects once meth detox begins.
Meth detox treatment helps recovering addicts make it through withdrawal while offering supportive care for the psychological symptoms that likely develop. As meth detox can be an incredibly difficult experience to endure, most, if not all addicts require professional treatment help for a successful recovery.
Meth Withdrawal Factors
As a central nervous system stimulant, meth speeds up every bodily process this system regulates. Bodily processes affected include:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Breathing rate
- Energy production
A meth high can last anywhere from six to eight hours, meaning the body remains in a hyperactive state for hours on end. Once the meth “rush” ends, users enter into a state of extreme agitation that can result in violent behavior in some cases.
Someone who enters meth detox continues to experience the aftereffects from using. Even after meth detox ends, these aftereffects will likely continue for as long as six months.
Factors affecting how severe meth detox will be include:
- A person’s overall health
- Body weight
- Length of time using
- Existing co-occurring conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder
Meth detox programs offer supportive measures that provide relief from uncomfortable, and oftentimes distressing, withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms most often experienced during withdrawal include:
- Increase in appetite
- Long sleep durations
- Psychotic behaviors
- Suicidal tendencies
Long-term meth use can also cause widespread brain chemical imbalances to take root. Under these conditions, psychological disorders can easily develop over time. Supportive measures used offer relief for both physical and psychological symptoms.
Medication treatments used in meth detox can vary depending on the types of symptoms a person experiences. More than anything else, the psychological withdrawal from meth poses the biggest challenge for recovering addicts.
Medications commonly used include:
- Anti-anxiety meds
- Over-the-counter pain meds
Antidepressants may be administered in cases where a person has experienced depression symptoms for two weeks or longer. People suffering from extreme anxiety may be prescribed anti-anxiety medications or even sedatives during the early stages of detox.
It’s not uncommon for someone coming off a long period of meth use to develop a psychoses, such as schizophrenia. When this is the case, antipsychotic medications will likely be prescribed. As far as aches, pains, and fatigue symptoms go, over-the-counter pain medications provide relief for the physical symptoms experienced.
While not life threatening, meth detox can be a grueling experience overall. Without needed treatment help, it’s all but impossible for someone to make it through this stage of recovery.