Crystal Meth Addiction
Detox and withdrawal begin, of course, with an addiction. Any addiction is difficult to overcome and requires all sorts of care, support, and resources. In the case of crystal meth, recovery can be especially difficult. Whether it’s you or a loved one who needs help to detox, you may become discouraged during this process.
The brain and body will react badly to the sudden lack of the drug because they’ve grown used to the rush of dopamine that the meth has been providing. Crystal meth works in part by forcing the brain to release more dopamine than it would in response to normal stimulation. Dopamine is a “feel-good” chemical, so the rush certainly feels like a good thing. Eventually, though, the brain starts to rely on the amount of dopamine that the drugs bring, so when it has to get used to normal amounts of dopamine again, it won’t just feel “not-high.” It will feel tired and sick for a while. Don’t give up hope, however. Detox is unpleasant, but it is not permanent.
What is Detox?
When an individual stops using drugs, he or she still has drugs left in the body from previous usage. During detox, the body eliminates the drugs from the system. If one doesn’t have access to his or her drug supply, detox will happen whether or not this person is under the care of trained medical staff. It is preferable that one does seek out medical detox, however, because medical detox can provide the care and comfort that an individual will need during symptoms of withdrawal.
To avoid surprise and relapse, it’s important to be prepared for the delay and understand that a traditional rehab timeline may not work for meth detox.
Withdrawal from Crystal Meth
Crystal meth withdrawal can be more difficult than withdrawal from other drugs, partly because there are currently no medications available to alleviate symptoms. Crystal meth is unique among street drugs in that because detox takes a long time, withdrawal symptoms may not even begin until at least a month after the last dosage.
For example, many traditional residential treatment programs last for 30 days. If a former crystal meth user enters rehab immediately after quitting, leaves the program after 30 days, and then starts to experience withdrawal symptoms, he or she is very likely to relapse and conclude that the rehab program didn’t work. When quitting crystal meth and preparing for detox, look for more long-term approaches to give yourself or your loved one the best chance of success.
If you’re not sure where to start, Rehabinfo.com can help.
What You Need for Detox
As stated above, medical detox is preferable to attempting to detox on one’s own. Some detox facilities also double as rehabilitation programs, and these programs may be best for former crystal meth users. In any case, a medical facility can provide support and comfort as the addicted individual detoxes from crystal meth. The staff will also make sure that the patient stays fed and hydrated, which is important because people often forget about their own basic needs during painful situations such as detox. During a medical detox, the individual can have the healthiest and most comfortable detox experience possible under the circumstances, giving them a better chance of a full recovery. During medical detox, there is also no danger of relapse, as the addicted person will not have access to more drugs.
The Next Steps
For any type of drug use, medical detox should not be the only phase of drug treatment. After detox, the individual will need continued support. He or she should move on to a treatment program that can help address the root cause of the addiction. Treatment options include
- Cognitive behavioral therapy,
- talk therapy,
- group therapy,
- creative outlets, and
- many others.
In-patient facilities, especially those that last for longer periods of time (60 or 90 days), give those who are addicted to crystal meth the best chance of long-term recovery.