Whether you know it by the name crystal meth, methamphetamine or just meth, this drug is a powerfully addictive substance that can wreak havoc for those who consume it. The good news is that an addiction to meth isn’t permanent, and the right treatment can help individuals break free and enjoy a life of sobriety. The first step on the road to recovery is a detox from meth.
The Dangers of Meth Addiction
Using meth to any degree, but particularly in large and consistent doses, can cause countless medical, emotional and psychological problems. Whether meth is smoked, injected or even inhaled, it can cause immediate side effects that include decreased fatigue, decreased appetite, hyperthermia and an irregular heartbeat. After continued use, meth can also isolate individuals, separating them from their loved ones while simultaneously causing problems at work, school or in society at large.
Through regular use, the impact of meth can begin to break down the body and the brain. Individuals struggling with an addiction to meth might suffer from memory loss, deficits in motor skills, problems understanding complex thoughts, paranoia and even hallucinations. Physically, meth addictions can lead to significant weight loss and major dental problems.
The Objective of a Detox From Meth
In a nutshell, a meth detox is what can save lives and turn individuals toward sobriety. It’s important to understand that detox is just the first step in recovery, and additional rehab or therapy is likely needed to maintain that sobriety after detox. However, there’s no denying that those treatments won’t be effective until a detox has successfully been completed.
A detox from meth is the cessation of the drug for the duration of the program, with the goal of lifelong sobriety. Patients will, over the course of the detox, break ties with their physical bonds to meth. The emotional and psychological ties may still exist, which is why things like cognitive behavioral therapy and dual diagnosis treatment are so important, but detox paves the way for better comprehension and rational thinking, which is crucial during recovery.
Duration of a Detox
It’s nearly impossible to accurately state how long a detox from meth will take. It depends significantly on the severity of the addiction to meth, how long patients have been using meth and what kind of doses were being consumed. In general, most patients take between one and two weeks to detox from meth, but there are occasions when people can suffer from physical symptoms for slightly longer.
The first three days of the detox are sometimes known as the crash stage. Because meth stays in the body longer than most other drugs, many individuals simply feel overwhelmingly tired during this phase. Low energy, depression and a strong appetite are all markers of this first stage of withdrawal.
The next stage, typically lasting for several days, is when severe cravings can present themselves. These strong cravings might last until the end of the second week of detox. After this, most patients won’t be in a full-time detox program, but they may still periodically deal with minor psychological, rather than physical, symptoms.
Withdrawal Symptoms of a Detox From Meth
A detox from meth can cause a number of psychological and the physiological withdrawal symptoms. The most notable (and concerning) symptom is depression. Patients may not feel happiness, or even the prospect of happiness, for several days. Also common is anger, anxiety or paranoia.
The physical side effects are also problematic during a detox from meth. Many patients experience a lot of sweating as well as rapid temperature fluctuations. Aches, pains and headaches are also common for up to two weeks. Patients in a detox may also deal with either insomnia or excessive sleeping depending on where they are in the detox process.
Weight gain is another symptom commonly associated with a meth withdrawal, and it’s something that happens for the following three possible reasons:
- The metabolism slows without meth consumption, and most patients also move little and feel very lethargic
- Patients may be stabilizing after severe weight loss that occurred as a side effect of meth addiction
- Food is often one of the few things that brings joy in those initial stages of detox
The Importance of a Professional Detox Facility
All too often, individuals who are struggling with an addiction to meth decide to complete a detox on their own. This is never a good idea, and it can lead to serious health complications. In addition, a DIY detox is rarely successful, and many people who try it end up relapsing or using before the first month is up.
In a professional detox facility, patients will get 24/7 medical care. This means that professionals can prescribe over-the-counter medications as necessary, easing the pain or discomfort of withdrawal and helping patients to sleep well. They can also understand the process of detox, and notice when behavior or health becomes abnormal. Perhaps most importantly, a professional detox means that there is accountability to prevent relapse and a watchful eye to prevent things like self-harm or suicide attempts during depressive stages.
What Makes a Detox Facility Great
Once prospective patients have committed to the idea of a detox from meth, they are faced with the challenge of selecting the right detox facility. Besides checking for things like accreditation and a great reputation, it’s important to confirm that the facility handles meth addictions.
In addition, it may be important to check into what kinds of health insurance plans are accepted for the detox. Ideally, any detox facilities in consideration should also acknowledge the benefits of a medical detox and the use of certain medications that can ease the discomfort of withdrawing from drugs like meth.
Understanding the duration and extent of a detox from meth may encourage some individuals to take that vital first step toward recovery. Detox can be challenging, but it’s the only way to break free from addiction and begin a lifetime of sobriety.