The Physical and Psychological Risks of Using Meth
There are many reasons that people take meth. Many enjoy its wakeful and focus-inducing properties. Others enjoy the feelings of euphoria and pleasure that it creates. Some meth users like the fact that it affects the brain and lowers inhibition—sometimes decreasing anxiety or allowing people to do riskier, more daring things.Although people choose to use the drug for what they perceive as its benefits, meth can have myriad terrible consequences on the body and brain. Meth has been known to cause reckless behavior in users. It can result in extreme anger or violence in people who are using it. Also, people who abuse meth can experience extreme paranoia or delusions, or they may hallucinate and see or hear things that are not there.Unfortunately, the DEA considers meth to be an incredibly addictive drug, and experts believe that over 700,000 people in the United States are currently addicted to the substance. While a physical dependence on any drug is hard, becoming addicted to meth is particularly challenging because the comedown from meth—after you stop taking it—can be incredibly uncomfortable. However, a meth comedown is an essential experience to go through if you are going to get off of the drug, and one of the best tips for meth recovery is understanding what meth comedown is, how it affects someone going through it and what the best ways are to get through it as painlessly and comfortably as possible.
The Basics of a Meth Comedown
When a person uses meth, it affects their body and brain chemically. If they use it multiple times, over time, it can biologically change a brain—making the body dependent on the substance to function. People who have become dependent on meth can be physically or psychologically dependent. This means that they may feel like they need to use meth for their body to feel okay or for their brain and thought processes to feel balanced.If your body has become dependent on meth, there’s a good chance you have continued to use it to stave off unpleasant feelings. However, if you’re ready to get clean and stop using meth, you’ll have to stop putting the drug into your system—and there will be a period through which your body transitions from having the chemical in it to not having the chemical in it. As your body goes through this transition—which is called the meth comedown—it can feel extremely scary and unpleasant. However, it’s a necessary step to take for anyone who wants to live a meth-free life.Meth stays active in your system for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. After the 12th hour, your body will probably begin going through a meth comedown. A meth comedown usually lasts for several days to a week, and it has distinct phases, as your body re-adapts to living without meth in its system. Here are the basic phases of a meth comedown:
Hours 12 to 24 Post Use
You will feel low energy and be lethargic and tired. Your mood will change, and you may experience feelings of irritability or agitation.
Days Two to Three
These are the days in which symptoms of a meth comedown peak. You have moved beyond feeling tired, but your agitation has likely increased. During these days, you may have intense cravings for the drug, since your body is not used to going without the substance. You’ll find it hard to concentrate, may feel depressed or anxious and may have disrupted thinking. It is hard for people to learn and retain new information during the height of a meth comedown:
Days Four to Seven
The meth comedown usually winds down and ends within a week. Severe physical symptoms should dissipate, though cravings can last for a long time. People will still be tired with sleep and appetite disturbances, but they’ll feel less physically agitated.
Post Week One
One of the hardest things about meth is that the drug is incredibly hard to come off of and then stay off of. People usually feel a “crash” after their week of comedown. This means that they not only feel exhausted, but they feel a complete lack of happiness, motivation, hope, calm and more. People in this post-comedown phase often experience severe depression or anxiety, and they may have to fight strong cravings to use the drug they know could remedy the negative feelings they are experiencing.A meth comedown can be bad for any meth user. However, the severity of the comedown usually depends on how long a person has been using meth, how often they use it and how much they use. The hardest comedown experiences will be for people who have been on the drug a long time and whose bodies will feel extreme withdrawal after not using the drug their body has gotten very accustomed to.
Physical Effects of Meth Post-Comedown
Once you have completely stopped using meth and you have gone through the comedown and withdrawal experience, you may want your body to go back to being completely normal, as it was before you ever used meth. Unfortunately, however, experts have discovered that many meth users (especially those who used meth for a long time) may never be able to fully recover from the physical results of usage. Meth is a neurotoxin, and it can cause damage to your brain. Some users may find that it takes years off of meth until their brains and bodies feel like they can function normally again. Also, meth messes up the dopamine system in your brain, and it can result in severe lingering depression, which is one of the reasons so many people relapse after quitting meth and going through the entire meth comedown. Meth also can permanently damage someone’s memory, impulse control, motor coordination, decision-making abilities and more.
Tips for Meth Recovery: Get Through the Comedown and Stay Clean
If you plan to go through the pain and suffering of meth withdrawal and comedown, you’ll want to stay clean and not use meth again. However, cravings can be tough and intense. Luckily, however, with the right guidance, you should be able to get through the beginning of the withdrawal experience and stay off the drug—experiencing total recovery. Here are our best tips for meth recovery so you stop using in a way that feels doable and lasts.
Get Professional Help
Getting off of meth is tough. If there is any question about your ability to do it and succeed on your own, seek out the help of an addiction specialist or a medical professional. If you go through meth withdrawal with the help of a pro, you can learn how to ride out cravings, minimize the pain you’re going through and sit with the feelings you’re having, even though they’re intense and uncomfortable.
Pay Attention to Hydration and Nutrition
If you’re planning to go through a meth comedown, one of the most important things to focus on is nutrition and hydration. Meth often suppresses people’s appetite, so regular users can be underweight and lacking important nutrients. Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet to get the calories, vitamins and minerals you need, and drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated. Meth also dries you out, so there is a good chance you’ll be dehydrated at the start of a meth comedown, and a good way to keep other comedown symptoms like headaches, fatigue and lethargy at bay is by staying hydrated.
Make Sure You Sleep
Meth is well known for interfering with people’s sleep patterns. Some people take it to stay up all night. When you start getting off of meth, focus on rebuilding healthy sleep patterns. Set a sleep schedule for yourself, then commit to sticking with it. If you are well-rested, you’ll be able to think more clearly and better participate in life. People who are well-slept also have better impulse control, so making sure you get enough sleep during meth comedown can ensure that you do not give in to cravings that you are having or relapse.
Keep Busy to Stay Distracted
Your meth comedown will be uncomfortable no matter what. Once you’re through the height of the physical symptoms, making sure you stay busy can help you get through the rest of your comedown. Having plans with friends or colleagues can take your mind off the discomfort you are experiencing. Alternatively, allowing yourself to feel bored may bring on a craving—so if you’re keeping your mind stimulated with other people or activities, you are less likely to think about, crave or want to return to using.
Consider Support Groups
Support groups help many people who have recovered from substance use disorders. There are even support groups specifically created to help people recovering from meth addiction. One important step you can take to help you get through your meth comedown and fight cravings is joining a meth support group. Crystal Meth Anonymous is one of the most popular support group options, and members help each other stay sober—by listening to each other’s stories, working through recovery steps, giving advice from personal experience and providing community—one thing many people lose during the height of their addictions.
Focus on General Wellness
If you shift your focus to general wellness, you may make your recovery from meth dependence easier. Consider starting an exercise program or routine to improve your physical health and boost your strength. Mental healthcare like psychotherapy can help you deal with any issues you may have that you may have previously dealt with by taking meth, and focusing on other bodywork—like massage or chiropractic work—can help ensure your body is in the healthiest shape possible, which can help you feel your best and encourage you to stay away from any substance that might make you feel worse (like meth). Finally, learn more about nutrition and consider getting focused on how to fuel your body. One of the first steps in meth recovery is to start eating more—another is to learn how to eat the right foods and nutrients so that you feel energized, balanced, clearheaded and calm.
Reach Out to Windward Way Recovery for Tips for Meth Recovery
If you or a loved one are ready to get help with a dependence on meth, consider reaching out to Cardinal Health. At Cardinal Health, we can help get you through the toughest part of meth recovery—the meth comedown—then walk you through the process of getting healthier, happier and more confident each day. At Windward Way Recovery, we understand that stopping substance abuse is a complicated and long process, and we are ready to guide you through the physical parts—as well as to help you understand the mental and emotional components as well. We are happy to work with individuals who are ready to stop using meth, as well as their family members, to help every participant set up a life they can return to that enables their growth and vitality—and that helps them learn to fight cravings and ensure their sobriety lasts.To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, reach out to us today. One of our team members will help you better understand your situation as well as how our organization can help you get back to the life you knew before meth.