Methamphetamine, or crystal meth addiction, is a life-threatening condition. It can have dire consequences for the user’s health. It is widely known as one of the most destructive drug habits. This reputation is well-earned.
Crystal meth is a very commonly used drug in New Jersey, and this popularity is rising. From 2015-2017 the DEA’s Northeast Regional lab has reported a 5,657% increase in the weight of methamphetamine seizures. It is extremely accessible – it is available in high purities at low prices.
Methamphetamine users can experience a wide range of physical and mental health consequences. It is extremely strong, with one dose being enough to form a mental dependence. It also is very long-acting – methamphetamine users frequently stay up for days at a time.
The reasons that users should stop taking crystal meth seem obvious. However, addiction is characterized as continuing to take a substance despite being aware of the negative consequences. At Excel, we recognize that this isn’t a personal failing. Drug addiction is a medical condition and needs medical treatment.
We are dedicated to providing judgment-free treatment for crystal meth addiction. Our center is a safe place for people to get a head-start in their early recovery.
Methamphetamine is a see-through or white crystal. It can be smoked, snorted, eaten, or injected. How quickly it takes effect depends on how it is taken, but it usually lasts from between four to six hours.
Methamphetamine causes a massive release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters our brain naturally uses to regulate the body and reward us. Natural levels of these are released when we take part in beneficial activities such as socializing or eating. They are our feel-good chemicals, and usually, they help us feel positive about things.
Methamphetamine not only causes an unnaturally large level of these to enter the bloodstream but stops the brain from re-absorbing them. This causes users to experience a huge ‘rush’.
Some of the effects of methamphetamine are:
- Heightened sex drive
- Increase in confidence
- Feelings of well-being
- Being talkative
- Loss of inhibitions
At first, these effects are all very pleasurable to the user. However, as the methamphetamine ‘high’ wears off, there is a low period which follows it. The brain’s neurotransmitter levels run low, and users feel lethargic, depressed, and anxious. Methamphetamine causes people to behave out-of-character, so users may also feel ashamed about their actions under the influence.
Many users will keep on using methamphetamine to stave off these feelings. This is where it starts to become a habit. Over time, the brain adapts to methamphetamine constantly being present. The parts of the brain that receive the feel-good chemicals start to become used to large amounts being present and start to become less sensitive.
This causes tolerance to build up – with users needing more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect. This change in brain structure means that users can struggle to enjoy everyday activities, as their reward system is not working correctly. If methamphetamine use is stopped suddenly, it is a huge shock to the system. This can result in several unpleasant withdrawal effects.
Methamphetamine has a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. Severity depends on the amount used and the length of time they were being used for. It is also complicated if people have been using multiple drugs before engaging in detox.
Methamphetamine has a powerful effect on both the body and the mind. This means that users will typically experience both mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. Due to their strength, they can seem overpowering. This leads to many users feeling ‘trapped’ in the cycle of addiction.
Thankfully, there is a way out of methamphetamine addiction. It isn’t always easy, but it is possible. It starts with detox and continues by engaging in a recovery program. We are partnered with a detox clinic that specializes in treating methamphetamine detox and withdrawal.
Together we are stronger – and the same applies to a crystal meth detox. With the help of fully a trained support team, expert medical practitioners, and a group of people dedicated to recovery, nothing is impossible.
Physical Symptoms of Methamphetamine Detox
Although methamphetamine is not physically addictive in the same manner as heroin or alcohol, it does cause physical side effects during withdrawal.
- Increased appetite
- Disrupted sleep pattern
Methamphetamine use suppresses the appetite, and it is common for users to not eat for days at a time. Although it is not strictly a withdrawal symptom, malnutrition can increase many of the withdrawal effects such as shakiness and tiredness.
If our detox team feels it’s necessary, they may administer nutritional support in the form of vitamin supplements.
Mental Symptoms of Methamphetamine Detox
Methamphetamine has a strong effect on the mind. Because of this, it also has extremely powerful mental withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms are the opposite of the effects of the drug.
- Lack of energy
- Being unable to feel joy
- Lack of sex drive
- Strong urges to use methamphetamine
Methamphetamine causes such a strong addiction that during withdrawal, even small, everyday tasks can seem overwhelming. This is underpinned by a powerful urge to use more methamphetamine to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms. This can make detoxing from methamphetamine outside of a clinical setting extremely difficult.
In our detox clinic, our staff will continuously monitor and check-in with clients without being overbearing. This enables them to make sure the needs of our clients are being met, and lets clients know that they are being cared for and support is there. Addiction is a very isolating condition – we know that a little human contact goes a long way.
As hard as detox may seem, it is more comfortable with help. Our professional detox team are experts in treating the mental and physical withdrawal effects of methamphetamine. While they cannot give a substitute drug, as they do for heroin or benzodiazepines, they can provide medication that can make some of the symptoms more bearable.
This includes short-term anti-anxiety medication and sleep aids. Some people recovering from methamphetamine find it useful to take anti-depressants. This can help to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. If any medication is required, it will be prescribed safely by qualified clinicians, to ensure our clients get the best possible start to their recovery.
It is very common for methamphetamine users to use multiple drugs. Popular drugs include the use of ‘downers’ such as heroin, benzodiazepines. Alcohol can also be used to self-medicate through the withdrawal symptoms and crash. These drugs also make it easier to fall asleep after crystal meth use.
However, they are addictive, and they can complicate detox if we are not aware that they are being used. All clients will be screened for drugs upon arrival, but it helps us if you tell us what you are using before any treatment begins. Any information shared with us will be strictly confidential.
It is possible to detox from multiple drugs at the same time with the right assistance. We value honesty, and this information helps us to help you.
Methamphetamine Detox Timeline
Methamphetamine detox can be broken into two parts; acute and post-acute.
The acute effects of the withdrawal start to take effect a few hours after the last dose. Within one to four days, the effects will peak, and the person will experience the full mental and physical withdrawal effects.
Between days seven to fourteen, the acute symptoms will usually start to lessen. The person’s mood will improve, their appetite should be regulated, and their sleep patterns should be returning to normal.
However, the post-acute withdrawal symptoms (or PAWS) can persist for months. The changes that methamphetamine causes in the brain take time to be repaired – it is not instant. During the first six months of early recovery, users can experience occasional low moods and cravings.
During this period, it is essential to have a good support network. A brilliant way to develop this is to attend one of our treatment programs. We have a range of different programs, from outpatient to partial care that can meet the needs of everyone. We use a wide variety of different treatments, from one-to-one, group, holistic, and family therapy, all underpinned by the 12-Steps.
At Excel, we provide a solid foundation for people to build their future. We are proud to be prominent members of the New Jersey recovery community. As well as delivering customized recovery programs, we are partnered with several sober living facilities. There is a brilliant array of mutual aid groups and sober living facilities available.
This provides a structured environment for people to explore their early recovery, make new friends, and most importantly, enjoy their new lease of life. We want our clients to be as passionate about their recovery as we are.
We do not offer inpatient detox facilities at the Excel Treatment Center, but we do provide patients with referrals to a professional, licensed, and insurance friendly clinic. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for a referral at (973)-989-7500 if you or a loved one is suffering from methamphetamine addiction.