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A meth addiction can be a devastating thing. The dependence can find its way into so many aspects of an addict’s life. It can be very hard to function normally with a severe addiction. As a result, relationships with family and friends will fall apart. Work and income will also suffer. Everything becomes about fueling the meth addiction.

It can be hard to kick a meth addiction. Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be rather brutal. However, some people are able to make a tough decision – the right decision – to quit and beat their addiction.

Methamphetamine detox can be a long and difficult process. Depending on how long a person has been on meth, the withdrawal can range from a few days to many weeks. Even for the most dedicated individuals, it can be enough to break their spirit.

This is why medical rehabilitation programs exist. If you or someone close to you has been wondering how to quit meth or how to detox from meth, this article is for you. We are going to talk about the meth detox process, and how to make methamphetamine withdrawal treatment as tolerable as possible for the person trying to improve their life.

What is meth withdrawal?

When an individual who has been using meth for a long time stops, they begin to experience uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms are known as withdrawal symptoms. All addictive substances will have withdrawal symptoms when stopped. However, for meth, these symptoms can be very intense.

Before methamphetamine detox can begin, meth withdrawal symptoms are usually present. Good meth detox will help to alleviate these unpleasant manifestations. 

Symptoms and signs of meth withdrawal

Depending on the severity of the meth addiction, withdrawal symptoms may vary. 

When considering meth withdrawal stages, there are two phases. There is an acute phase, lasting seven to ten days. This is followed by the subacute phase, which persists for at least two weeks thereafter.

Symptoms of meth withdrawal are divided according to the phases in the table below:

Acute Phase Subacute Phase 
Clinical Features
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite (particularly for carbohydrates) 
  • Excessive sleeping
  • A sense of unease (dysphoria) 
  • Craving meth 
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Fatigue
  • Depression 
  • Craving meth
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Vivid nightmares

Possible side effects of meth use and withdrawal

Methamphetamines make significant alterations to the brain chemistry. The side effects of meth withdrawal in some patients may be significant as a result.

This can include cardiac issues. Arrhythmias, essentially irregular beating of the heart, can occur. This can prevent effective pumping of blood to the other parts of the body. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is a risk in patients quitting stimulants. 

In severe cases, there can be brain problems. Seizures can occur during the detox period, which can be very distressing to the patient if left without medical support. There can also be cases of intracranial bleeds. As such, head complaints should be taken very seriously. Ultimately, death may occur.

There is also the possibility of these patients shifting their addiction to another substance. 

An infographic showing the side effects of meth addiction which can also occur with meth withdrawal symptoms.

What is meth detox and what does it consist of?

Meth detox, or meth detoxification for full, is the process of weaning an individual off of methamphetamines. The concept behind a detox from meth is to gradually clear the system of the drug and its dependence on it. 

The meth detox process consists of three stages:

1. Evaluation: 

This step occurs when an individual is admitted to a facility for detox. The doctor in charge of the patient assesses their health status. Numerous laboratory investigations are done to find them. The patient will also be screened for drugs in their system. Not only does this give a complete idea of the drugs they might be dependent on, but the levels used. The patient will be questioned to check if they have any co-existing physical health conditions and mental illnesses. These can alter the methods used in detox, if present. This phase does not take long and is mostly dependent on the time it takes to process tests.

2. Stabilization: 

At this stage of the meth detox process, the efforts to detoxify begin. The patient will likely be experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of meth by now. Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can be brutal.  The goal of detox is to remove the physical dependence of the patient. This is while keeping the patient as relaxed as possible. Medication is always required to make the patient more comfortable. Communication is important at this stage. The patient will be frequently communicated with. This allows them to remain aware of their progress and expectations. Loved ones can also visit to provide moral support. Several other forms of therapy are used to manage the patient during this time. This includes psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. This phase takes up a significant part of the time for detox.

3. Guiding Patient into Treatment: 

The patient’s physical dependency will calm. As withdrawal symptoms also settle, the final stage begins. The focus is placed on the psychological aspects of treatment and how the patient will be eased into this stage of treatment. Detox is followed by rehab, which involves helping the patient both psychologically and socially for a return to normal life. Rehab is a long process which is the final stage of detox.

Contact us to learn whether we could help for your case of meth addiction >>>

Doctor at a detox clinic interviews a meth addict and assesses health before meth detox and meth withdrawal treatment.

How long does meth detox take? 

Embarking on the journey of detox is not a short one. It takes a lot of willpower, patience and support. The length of drug detox depends on the drug abused, the dosage regularly taken, and the duration of the drug use.

Methamphetamine detox can take up to 14 days, due to the highly addictive nature of the substance. This period will be used in 3 ways. 

What happens after detox?

Once a patient has successfully completed their meth detox, it’s a cause for celebration. However, the journey to getting better isn’t over yet. Detox is just one step, and rehab and treatment following detox are still very important. Without following the patient up, there is a high risk of them returning to their addiction.

Once detox is successfully completed, the patient’s body is free of the offending drug. However, the effects of the substance don’t leave as quick. Long-term use of the drug alters brain chemistry and other bodily functions. These changes will be slow to return to normal, and cravings will be frequent. It is important to follow the patient up during this vulnerable period.

Rehab involves the use of therapy and medication to help the patient return to a state close to normal functioning. There’s no general regimen when it comes to rehab, and this is why experienced doctors are necessary. They assess the patient and determine whether they need behavioural therapy or medications.

Rehab takes a very psychosocial approach to things. It addresses the social issues that led to and fueled the addiction. It also addresses the psychological and social consequences of the addiction. Most importantly here, includes relationships with family and friends. 

Rehab can be done as an outpatient or as an inpatient. Inpatient rehab tends to be more effective as the patient is within the facility, monitored by the doctors, as well as can not obtain meth. Outpatient rehab is more flexible for the patient, but there is a higher risk for relapse.

After rehab, the patient may still need to attend therapy sessions or take medication. Therapy and support groups are great ways for addicts to stay meth-free.

How to get started for your meth detox

If you, or someone you love, is struggling with a meth addiction, then it’s not the end of the world. Even the very worst of addictions can be managed. If your goal is to take you closer to recovery, with each day a step closer to a normal life, you should know that withdrawal from meth is achievable in most cases, and we can help you with that.

Contact our medical team to learn how to get started with your detox >>>

Published on October 15, 2020
by Dr Vorobjev Clinic team

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