Methamphetamines are a synthetically made stimulant, meaning it produces severe euphoric effects. Crystal meth is highly addictive, but the high begins to fade quickly causing its users to crave and abuse the drug more often. Crystal meth is commonly referred to as tina, crystal, ice, meth, crank, or speed. Individuals abuse crystal meth by injecting, inhaling, and snorting the drug.
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Since crystal meth is incredibly potent and addictive, the drug is most commonly used for long periods of time. Whenever you abuse drugs of any type, especially those that are as psychologically and physically addictive as crystal meth, side effects such as crystal meth withdrawal, tolerance, and dependence will arise.
The immediate effects of crystal meth consist of:
- Increased wakefulness and physical activity
- Increased body temperature
- Weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
Using crystal meth gives users a rush of pleasure, as it affects the amount of dopamine in the brain. The effects of crystal meth on the brain contribute to the feeling of needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. As the body acclimates to the presence of the drug within its system, the brain will stop dopamine production which ultimately throws the brain chemistry of the meth addict off balance. Once out of homeostasis, the user will need to continually use the drug in order to feel “normal”.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated the worldwide production of amphetamine-type stimulants, which includes methamphetamine, at nearly 500 metric tons a year, with 24.7 million abusers.
Over time, crystal meth users begin to require more of the drug in order to find this internal balance, and a tolerance begins to build. The higher tolerance you have to crystal meth, the more intense your side effects and crystal meth withdrawal will be when you stop using.
What Are the Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?
As the tolerance and dependence of crystal meth grow, individuals are more susceptible to overdose and crystal meth withdrawal. The body and brain become entirely dependent on the influx of “feel good” chemicals entering the brain.
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After some time passes, you might begin to experience the need for more of the drug.
This phenomenon is referred to as “cravings”. Cravings will drive the addict to seek out more of the drug and continually use it despite any negative consequences the drug may be having on their lives. If a crystal meth addict fails to feed their habit and meet or surpass their newly tolerated dosage, they’re in trouble. Once crystal meth is absent from the body for a substantial amount of time, symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal will begin.
Quitting meth produces a number of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Urinary issues
- Digestive issues
- Chest pain
- A headache
- Excessive sweating
- Dry or itchy skin
- Weight loss
- Increased alertness
- Memory loss
- Mood disturbances
- Difficulties in concentration
- Dental issues - meth mouth
Although crystal meth withdrawal is not fatal, you can experience seizures while undergoing withdrawal.
What Are the Stages of Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline?
The intensity and duration of crystal meth withdrawal vary on the individual, how long they have been using, and how much of the drug they are using. Typically, an individual will initially begin to crash after just a few hours of not having drugs in their system. If you or someone you know is suffering from crystal meth withdrawal, the signs, symptoms, and duration of withdrawal go as follows:
You might begin to feel fatigued and lethargic. During this time you are undergoing a crash, which can be severe and produce intense cravings. Insomnia and exhaustion go hand in hand due to individuals most commonly going on benders, meaning they don’t sleep or eat while they are actively using. You also might experience intense mood swings and increased agitation due to the lack of dopamine in the brain.
You might experience severe depression, anxiety, and emotional instability. During this period of crystal meth withdrawal, you might find it increasingly difficult to concentrate, eat, feel motivated, and sleep. The lack of energy in the body might lead to an increase in headaches and other body aches and pains. The risk for hallucinations and paranoia also increase at this time.
The physical withdrawal symptoms begin to dwindle down. However, you might continue to experience waves of the symptoms, both emotional and physical. Also, drug cravings will most likely peak at this time. The risk for relapse is much higher at this stage, but they can be combated using relapse prevention techniques.
After a month of living life without the use of crystal meth, you will feel better both mentally, emotionally, and physically. However, the symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal can linger and come and go in waves. This is normal, although it is important to have a solid foundation due to the high risk of a setback as your amount of clean time increases. Post- Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can also arise and continue for as long as four months after the last dose. During PAWS, symptoms like restlessness, irritability, emotional instability, anxiety, memory loss, and depression will present themselves at any given moment.
Recovering crystal meth users should take into consideration the extensiveness of withdrawal and the importance of professional help when deciding to stop using drugs.
Why Should I Detox?
The detoxification process of crystal meth withdrawal can be daunting. The symptoms associated with severe meth use can be excruciating, dangerous, and highly unpleasant. It is imperative for you or someone you know to seek professional help when deciding to stop using meth.
Detoxing in a medical facility not only provides you with a safe environment to begin your recovery journey but it also aids in alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal and gives you access to medical staff 24/7. Withdrawal is uncomfortable, no matter the substance. Having medications to combat some or all of the symptoms can be the deciding factor in your success of staying clean. At times, especially during withdrawal, we feel vulnerable and so down on ourselves that we can’t commit to staying clean. Attending a professional detox facility, like the Palm Beach Institute, you are under surveillance and surrounded by support to keep you motivated towards your goals of living a fulfilling life.
Although crystal meth withdrawal is not fatal, there is a risk that you may experience severe hallucinations or seizures, which can be challenging to deal with at home. It is imperative to seek professional medical help in order to remain safe and comfortable throughout the initial stages of the recovery process.
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What Is the Next Treatment Step?
Detox is only the beginning step in maintaining sobriety. After successfully completing detox, which can last up to 10 days, professional staff will encourage you to attend a long-term program.
While attending an inpatient facility, you will be introduced to a number of medical staff and clinical support who are understanding of addiction or dealing with the same issues. These programs offer you time away from potentially dangerous environments as well as intense therapy and educational programs to ensure you have a solid foundation when the program is over. Inpatient programs typically last around 45 days.
The continuous care of an outpatient program will follow. It’s crucial to always follow the full-continuum of care in order to solidify your sobriety and give yourself time away from the stressors everyday life presents so as to focus more solely on recovery.
Outpatient programs are less intense, but they provide the same tools and coping mechanisms you need to successfully maintain sobriety. Outpatient programs also keep you accountable due to random drug screenings and requirements to attend if you are living in a sober living facility or the equivalent.
Completing an entire treatment program can seem intimidating, but the results are worth it. Treating addiction, with the help of professionals, is proven effective for a number of years. Adding quality to your life will be worth the few months spent learning about yourself, your addiction, and how to cope with triggers. You will also learn how to live a life without drugs and safely overcome crystal meth withdrawal.
Begin Your Journey to Recovery Today
Crystal meth is highly addictive and its effects trap users in its grips. However, if you want to stop using crystal meth and fulfill your life goals, there is help available. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, do not hesitate to ask for help.
The Palm Beach Institute has over 40 years’ experience in treating addiction and alcoholism. Our trained professional staff are knowledgeable and dedicated to helping you regain control of your life and maintain sobriety.
If you find yourself desperately needing assistance getting off crystal meth or other addictive substances, contact us today at (855) 960-5456. It’s never too late to turn your life around, so why wait?