Methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous drugs a person could ever take. The drug itself is dangerous because you never really know for sure what is in it. You may feel amazing when you first take it, but the long-term side effects can be deadly. Even the short-term side effects can do lasting damage to your mind and body.
Methamphetamine is dangerous. However, if you can break free of the drug, you can build a new future for yourself and your family. Not sure how? Here is some information on methamphetamine addiction and the process of withdrawing from methamphetamine.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine was first synthesized in a chemical lab in the late 19th century. During World War II, German soldiers used it, so they could fight longer without rest. Some soldiers who used the drug could go without sleep for days at a time. However, the soldiers reported feeling exhausted for days after the drug wore off. In some cases, the soldiers became violent and attacked members of their own units.
Long-haul truck drivers used it to drive longer hours on little sleep. The United States has banned the use of the drug since the mid-20th century. Occasionally, doctors still prescribe it for ADHD that has not responded to other medicines. It’s still used for severe obesity, but this happens very rarely.
Usually, people use methamphetamine as a recreational drug. Sometimes called crystal meth, it looks like a crystal when illegally manufactured. Most people smoke meth in a glass pipe, but some people crush it and either snort it or inject it. Smoking or injecting methamphetamine speeds up the release of the drug into the body and makes it harder to quit.
Initial Effects Of Meth
The National Institute on Drug Addiction has stated that about 1.2 million people used methamphetamine within the last year. Nearly 12 million people have tried methamphetamine during their lifetimes. People who use methamphetamine are looking for immediate results and an almost instant high. That’s what people know the drug for. Because methamphetamine is a stimulant, it immediately gives the user increased energy and alertness. The effects of methamphetamine can last as long as 12 hours.
When people first start to take methamphetamine, they feel invincible. They’re able to get tasks accomplished, and they feel happy and warm. Some people who take methamphetamine for the first time are instantly addicted. For many people, methamphetamine gives them higher motivation to accomplish goals. They also might feel more confident and have a feeling of being able to solve problems quickly and easily.
The pleasurable effects of methamphetamine don’t last. After that initial high, there is the crash of feelings as the drug wears off. For some people, methamphetamine makes them extremely anxious and paranoid. They can have insomnia for days. Some meth users have suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Depending on how much they use, they may behave erratically or violently.
People who are addicted to meth experience some serious side effects. These side effects include significant, rapid weight loss and loss of appetite. The user might experience severe bouts of mood swings and insomnia. His or her blood pressure becomes elevated, as does his or her body temperature. He or she can develop a rapid heart rate and an irregular heartbeat.
Long-term addiction to meth leads to depression, social isolation, anxiety, delusions, and altered perceptions of reality. People may age very rapidly because of tissue and bone loss. They may have body sores from constantly picking at their skin. Meth use can cause irreversible damage to the heart, brain, and blood vessels. This damage can lead to strokes, heart disease, coma, and cardiac arrest.
Treatment for Meth Users
Do you think you may be addicted to meth? The answer is yes if you find it takes more and more of the drug to get the same effect. That’s because the abuse of methamphetamine leads the body to release an increased amount of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is the natural pleasure chemical your body manufactures. The more meth you take, the more dopamine could flood your body. However, if you continue to abuse the drug, you may permanently alter the dopamine in your body. This makes it harder for methamphetamine users to quit. It also makes it more difficult to be happy. These effects may linger with meth addicts even after they have detoxed from the drug. People who use meth for a long time can permanently alter their cognition. This may mean they have trouble remembering things from their past, or things as simple as math problems.
Doctors recommend medical detox for people who use methamphetamine. That’s because when a person stops using meth, the withdrawal symptoms can be severe. If you try to detox from meth by yourself, the withdrawal can be painful and agonizing. In medical detox, patients are able to withdraw from meth with medical supervision and support.
Medical detox supports patients through the worst of the detox process and makes sure they do not relapse. It also makes sure the patient’s vital signs are stable. The detox program works on the patient’s treatment plan as he or she begins to detox from the drug.
How Long Will Detox Take?
Each person is different when he or she is detoxing from meth. However, there is a definite timeline for withdrawing from the drug. A decline in energy characterizes the first phase of meth withdrawal. You may have a hard time remembering facts that you used to remember easily. People who are withdrawing from meth may also be severely depressed. Meth users could also experience hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety. People withdrawing from meth might also sleep for hours or days. In addition, they may suffer from extreme hunger. The first phase of withdrawal lasts about 10 days.
The second phase of meth withdrawal lasts for several weeks. A meth addict will experience intense cravings for the drug. He or she may also be depressed and find it difficult to sleep.
While these detox effects seem minor, there are some effects of meth detox that aren’t so easy to shrug off. Patients who are withdrawing from meth can experience severe joint pain, stomach issues, shaking, irregular heartbeats, and hyperventilation. That is why it is important to make sure you have medical support during detox. A medical team can help a patient deal with the withdrawal symptoms with medication.
The First Steps
When you walk through the doors of a detox center, the first step is to meet with an intake counselor. The intake counselor will ask you some probing questions. These questions may be difficult to answer, but they will help you get the best treatment possible. The intake counselor will ask you questions about the amount of methamphetamine you are using. He or she will also ask you how often you use the drug, and how you take the drug in. In addition, the intake counselor will ask you about your medical history. You will undergo a drug test as well. That is because the center will tailor your treatment plan to the levels of methamphetamine in your system.
The intake counselor will explain the withdrawal process to you. He or she will also explain the next few days of your treatment plan. You will discuss the medicines you will be taking to help with your withdrawal symptoms. You may have to use an IV, or you may receive the medication orally. The center will put you in a room to undergo the withdrawal process. Medical staff will monitor you. That way, if your symptoms get worse, you can receive other medications. Don’t expect to be comfortable during withdrawal. That’s not going to happen. But you can expect that an excellent staff will take care of the worst of your symptoms.
Before you finish your withdrawal from meth, you will begin to have therapy and counseling for your addiction. You will also begin to think about the next phase of your treatment. For most people, the next step will be to continue into residential addiction treatment. Residential treatment means that you will remain in treatment from 30 to 90 days. Depending on your level of meth use, your detox team might also suggest that you stay longer. You might eventually move to an intensive outpatient treatment center. This means while you are in treatment for most of the day, you’re allowed to leave for work or school. Your treatment team will help you decide what kind of treatment is right for you.
If you are a methamphetamine addict, and you are trying to stop, consider SOBA for your treatment. We have medically supervised detox programs to help you get off the roller coaster you are on with meth. Our detox programs mean you will get the treatment you need to help you through detox. We also have treatment programs available for you after detox. We tailor our treatment plans to meet your needs. We want to help you escape the endless cycle of addiction and the dangers of meth abuse. Contact us today and let us help you start on a new life that is free of meth.