Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant available by prescription for the treatment of attention deficit disorder/attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) and to suppress the appetite of obese individuals. Prescription methamphetamine, when used properly, is safe and effective for treating symptoms of ADHD/ADD and narcolepsy. Methamphetamine produced in meth labs and bought on the street is highly addictive, dangerous and can cause serious, long-term physical and psychological problems.
Why Is Methamphetamine So Addictive?
Stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine force massive amounts of dopamine to flood the brain. A neurotransmitter involved in motivation, body movement, reinforcing rewarding behaviors and working memory, dopamine is heavily implicated in the development of meth addiction, compelling meth users to seek the experience of a meth high over and over again.
Excessive dopamine in the brain produces an intense, prolonged, euphoric sensation that is accompanied by feelings of invincibility and invulnerability. Abusing meth regularly makes the brain think that it needs to reduce the amount of dopamine. Consequently, when meth addicts come down from their high, they must deal with abnormally low dopamine levels and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms typically start to sicken addicts within 12 hours of the last time they used methamphetamine. Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Agitation, anxiety and panic
- Fatigue worsened by insomnia
- Irritability and mood swings
- Chills, aching joints, nausea, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms
- Pounding headaches
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
Depending on the severity of meth addiction, meth users may also suffer seizures and psychotic breaks with reality. Compounding these withdrawal symptoms is the constant, overpowering craving for the drug that meth addicts cannot fight on their own. Completing a medically supervised meth detox is the only safe and effective method of methamphetamine withdrawal.
Treating a Methamphetamine Addiction With Medical Detox
Although a standard pharmaceutical treatment plan does not exist for methamphetamine addiction, effective interventions such as amphetamine detox followed by cognitive behavioral therapy, learning coping skills and focusing on preventing relapse using evidence-based psychotherapeutic techniques can successfully help meth abusers achieve recovery.
Can You Detox from Meth Quickly?
Patients entering our medically supervised meth detox program are given the level of professional care, respect and compassion they need to complete this important stage of the recovery process. There is no easy way to detox from meth. How quickly a patient detoxes depends on multiple factors such as how long they have been abusing meth, their health at the time they enter our detox program and if they have been abusing other substances in addition to methamphetamine.
Doctors, psychiatrists and nurses specializing in substance addiction are available round the clock to give assessments and medical supervision to all patients who are detoxifying in our facility. Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, are provided to relieve symptoms of detoxification. Patients also begin intervention counseling during meth detox to help ease fears and to have questions answered regarding their concerns about an amphetamine detox.
At every phase of your recovery, FHE Health staff remain at your side to ensure you receive the support, special assistance and encouragement you need to complete the process of detoxification.
What Meth Addicts Fear the Most About Entering Detox
These are just a few of the concerns meth addicts may have about detox:
- Being separated from a familiar environment and away from quick and easy access to methamphetamine
- Feeling ashamed and guilty for finally admitting they are addicted and need to enter a meth detox program
- Failing to complete detox because they will be unable to tolerate withdrawal symptoms
- Having to talk to addiction counselors and peers in group sessions about their addiction and deepest feelings
All drug addicts are terrified at the thought of entering detox, especially if they have experienced the physical sickness of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, the psychological aspects of abstaining from meth are just as distressing to meth addicts as the physical ones. The level of anxiety at dealing with life without their safety net often prevents meth addicts from taking that first step towards recovery: completing a medically supervised meth detox program.
What Happens During Meth Detox?
We make sure everyone in our detox program is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Rest assured you will have 24-hour access to support counselors who can help you through episodes of self-doubt, cravings and the fear of losing control. An understanding staff member is always there to offer encouragement and unconditional support throughout the detox process.
Currently, no FDA-approved medications exist for treating meth or cocaine addictions. Medications are given to patients in meth detox to ease flu-like symptoms. Nutritional meals are provided as well.
Vital signs are monitored regularly. Medical issues commonly affecting meth addicts are addressed as soon as possible following a complete physical examination.
Some meth detox patients may be given bupropion, a drug approved by the FDA for treating major depressive disorders and nicotine addiction. Accumulating evidence indicates that bupropion given to patients while they are detoxifying may help significantly reduce cravings as well as depression.
Blood and urine tests determine when your body is completely free of methamphetamine. A clean blood/urine test means you have successfully completed medical detox and are ready for the next phase of your recovery.
Relapse Prevention Therapy After Detoxifying From Methamphetamine
Preventing relapse embraces a CBT approach that provides the patient with the skills necessary to identify, assimilate and control certain situations that could be potential triggers for reverting to drug use. The psychology of relapse examines the self-efficacy of a patient, the reality of their expectations, motivation and interpersonal factors and the availability of support services when needed. While a large portion of drug addiction treatment is devoted to the development of techniques to prevent relapse, FHE Health wants patients to understand they should never view relapsing as a negative action.
On the contrary, it is not uncommon for patients who have been clean for several months (or even years) to suddenly and inexplicably relapse. Instead of viewing relapse as a weakness on the part of the patient, we realize that a relapse may indicate several things are happening, such as a problem with the original treatment program or that the patient may have developed a co-occurring, psychological disorder that now needs addressing.
Advantages of a Supervised Meth Detox at FHE Health
A medically supervised meth detox is the safest, easiest method for ensuring your body and brain adjusts naturally to living without methamphetamine. In the same way your body and brain adjusted to meth’s negative impact on all physiological systems, a meth detox gently but thoroughly rewires your brain to function normally without meth. Alternately, going cold turkey without professional help is like shocking your body with a high-voltage wire, making the transition incredibly painful and intolerable.
Call FHE Health today if you or someone you know is addicted to meth. We can answer all your questions about the process of detoxifying from meth and help calm your fears about detox.