Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Medically-supervised Detox: A Viable Solution for Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is an addictive substance composed of harsh chemicals and is injected, snorted, or smoked. People who are addicted to meth will experience severe and long and short-term health consequences related to their addiction. Worldwide, 500 metric tons of methamphetamine is produced, sold, and consumed every year. Estimates indicate that there are 24.5 million crystal meth abusers, and almost 600,000 of them reside in the U.S. and abuse the drug on a regular basis.

Methamphetamine was first produced, marketed, and consumed in the mid-twentieth century as a cure-all for narcolepsy and obesity. But, illegal cartels and dealers now produce methamphetamine with harsh chemicals, creating the infamous rocks known on the street as crystal meth. Users can quickly become addicted after their first hit of the substance.

Crystal meth gives the user an intense and quick euphoric high. It dramatically increases the abuser’s energy levels and suppresses appetite. Long-term, crystal meth abusers will lose significant and dangerous amounts of weight, jeopardizing their health. Also, the drug can cause delusions, hallucinations, and psychotic breaks with reality. The harsh chemicals in the substance will also rot away a person’s teeth and can cause mouth and skin sores. Despite the significant dangers associated with crystal meth, it’s painful and potentially dangerous to quit the drug on one’s own. Crystal meth withdrawals are painful and distressing, and without help, abusers will retake the drug to escape the pain of withdrawal.

Fortunately, there is hope for people who want to quit their addiction to crystal meth. Medically-supervised detox centers are a viable option for addicts and their families. Have you wondered what the effects of crystal meth withdrawal are and how a detox center can help alleviate painful symptoms? Follow along to learn more.

How long do crystal meth withdrawal symptoms last?

Crystal meth withdrawals will start within 24 hours after last use. Physical symptoms are usually the first to set in and will peak within three to four days after cessation. Within two weeks, most of the physical symptoms will dissipate. Unfortunately, psychological symptoms can linger for weeks, months, or years in some cases.

What psychological symptoms will a person experience during the withdrawal timeline?

While physical symptoms from crystal meth withdrawal aren’t as intense as other drugs, like heroin, the psychological symptoms can be severe, long-lasting, and distressing enough to cause a relapse soon after cessation. Symptoms include the following:

  • Anhedonia
  • Depression
  • Problems with social functioning
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations

How does a cold-turkey detox from crystal meth differ from a medically-supervised detox?

With a cold-turkey detox, a person who’s been abusing a drug will suddenly stop. While this may seem ambitious or even admirable, it’s not a very useful way to reach sobriety. Most people when they try to quit a drug will do so with optimism and determination. Unfortunately, quitting cold-turkey will entail intense, long-lasting, possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms will occur. People will start retaking the drug to alleviate their pain and distress.

A medically-supervised detox is worlds away from the pain, distress, and ineffectiveness of cold-turkey detox. In a detox center, patients are monitored in a drug-free environment and kept away from harmful outside influences. Doctors give patients small, ever-decreasing doses of the drug or replacement drugs to lessen the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. If severe psychological symptoms do occur, doctors are there to give patients medication to assist them and keep them safe from harm. Using the services of a detox center to quit is proven more effective and more reliable than an at-home, cold-turkey detox.

What is safe for crystal meth detox?

Under doctor supervision, it is safe for patients to take ever-decreasing doses of a replacement amphetamine drug. This will keep the patient from experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms. Often, long-term crystal meth abusers present with severe nutritional deficiencies, and they may also be suffering from severe dental and skin infections. In a detox center, it is safe for patients to get treatment for any health consequences related to crystal meth abuse.

What isn’t safe to take or do during crystal meth detox?

It’s not safe for patients to abuse other drugs or alcohol to alleviate crystal meth withdrawal symptoms. It’s also not safe for patients to try to quit in an unstructured environment where they have easy access to drugs or people who can get the drugs. It’s much safer for someone to stop meth in a detox center where they are in a safe and supportive environment.

What happens during the withdrawal process?

When someone goes to a detox center to quit crystal meth, doctors will first do a thorough examination of the patient’s physical and mental health, and their drug abuse history. From there, doctors can craft a tapering-off schedule and administer replacement drugs for the patient. The patient will experience the physical symptoms of withdrawal within 24 hours through the first two weeks. During this time, they will sleep a lot, and start gaining back weight. They will experience anhedonia and are at risk of depression for several weeks after cessation, but doctors are on call to help alleviate patients of depressive symptoms and distress.

How is crystal meth withdrawal different than other amphetamine drugs?

Crystal meth withdrawals are not as physically intense as other drugs in its class. However, emotional withdrawal symptoms are more pronounced and have the potential to last for years after crystal meth cessation. It’s important for patients to have an ongoing support plan in place to avoid the chance of relapsing.

How are people affected differently from crystal meth withdrawal?

How long a person has abused crystal meth, and the amount they’ve abused will have a bearing on how long and how intense of a withdrawal phase they’ll experience. Also, age, weight, metabolic rate and a patient’s underlying physical and mental health can all affect the withdrawal timeline on an individual level. In a medical detox center, plans are tailor-made to the individual and their unique needs. With help from qualified doctors and trained therapists, patients can go on to live a life free from the pain of crystal meth addiction