The name crystal meth comes from methamphetamine, and crystal simply describes the form of the drug. Crystals can be crushed and snorted, smoked, or injected. Many people also opt for ingesting the drug, too. Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that causes rapid heartbeat and respiration, increased metabolism, wakefulness, a feeling of energy and euphoria. There is a fast-acting “rush” that is short-lived, but the effects of the drug can last for several hours.
While crystal meth doesn’t necessarily produce the type of physical dependence found with opiates, it is highly addictive. The chemical effects of the drug on the brain can cause long-term imbalances in the brain. The psychological addiction that is created with the use of the drug is powerful and hard to break as well.
Addiction to methamphetamines is so powerful that users will often lose their jobs, homes, custody of children and health in pursuit of the drug. They will continue to use despite legal consequences and will continue to use in the face of rapidly deteriorating health. Addiction goes beyond wanting – they start to genuinely need it. Eventually, using is not even about pleasure or feeling good after some time.
Crystal meth begins to produce physical and mental consequences fairly quickly. The stimulant nature of the drug causes wakefulness. It is common for meth users to stay awake for 24 hours or more, sometimes even going several days at a time without sleep. Dehydration and dry mouth are two other common symptoms, and a suppressed appetite is another. These effects can lead to a number of mental and physical problems that include but are not limited to:
Other physical consequences that can occur include heart, liver, and kidney problems from prolonged use. Respiratory problems are also a possibility for those who snort the drug. Crystal meth frequently contains highly toxic and unregulated ingredients that enter the system and poison organs, including the brain. Crystal meth use has been linked to increased risk of stroke, even years after use, increased risk of heart disease, and increased risks of dementia.
Though the drug itself won’t cause it, users are also at a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Besides risky sexual behavior being common among users due to lack of judgment, the use of shared needles can also lead to HIV transmission.
With such devastating consequences, it’s easy to see how this drug must have a powerful hold over those who are addicted. Quitting crystal meth isn’t easy, but it’s possible with help.
Not everyone who tries crystal meth will become addicted. However, addiction can be developed very quickly, after just a handful of times using it. The longer you use, the more difficult it is to quit. By the time you have started experiencing negative consequences, it is often too late — you’re hooked. If you aren’t sure whether you or a loved one need help, you should look out for:
Crystal meth is a dangerous drug, and even occasional use is unsafe and unhealthy. Trying to quit using and finding you can’t, or experiencing negative consequences due to crystal meth use are red flags. It’s important that you get the help you need as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait to hit a horrible bottom before taking control of the situation.
As it is with any drug, quitting crystal meth means cutting the brain’s supply of a chemical it has grown used to. Addiction comes from the brain literally needing that substance in order to function properly. Not giving it that substance will send it into disarray and trigger a chemical imbalance.
This general imbalance translates into what are called withdrawal symptoms, also called comedown symptoms. The way they start manifesting themselves, and their intensity depends on the level of addiction and dosage taken. In general, the symptoms most often reported by people experiencing them are:
These are not all experienced at once, and some people might not experience every single one. Their intensities will also vary, especially since they are related to the dosage being taken at the time of detox. Withdrawal can last somewhere between 1 to 4 weeks, and the symptoms can start in the first 24 hours of abstinence.
Although these symptoms can go on for a month, on average, people experience withdrawal syndrome for 14 days. They usually peak at 7-10 days after the last dose, and the most intense symptoms start at the beginning. This stage of detoxing from crystal meth is more or less divided into three different phases.
The first phase is called a “crash period”, due to a decline in energy as well as cognitive function. The nervous system will be going through a rough imbalance in the first 3-10 days. The second phase is intensified by the lack of the high the drug used to give, and it can last weeks. This is when the cravings start, and when the person might put themselves in risky situations. Finally, the last phase is when recovery is ideal, as the person’s health starts to improve.
24-72 hours: The person will start feeling general exhaustion, physically, and even mentally. This is when the nervous system is really affected, as symptoms range from anxiety to full-on panic. They can start experiencing suicidal thoughts, too. Some might even experience paranoia and hallucinations.
Week 1: At this point, they might start having strong cravings for the drug. With everything they’ve experienced so far, feelings of hopelessness are common. All of the physical or mental symptoms start causing poor concentration, pains, and headaches. Additionally, because of how it affects metabolism, some people might gain weight rapidly. Insomnia is also often experienced at this point.
Week 2: The mood swings and mental feelings might continue at this point, becoming intense at times. Depression is also still commonly reported.
Week 3-4: Now is when the mood swings begin to improve, as well as the person’s energy levels. Sleeping and eating habits might also start to become balanced.
In some cases, people might experience what is called acute withdrawal syndrome. This means that the person’s timeline will be different from the one above. Symptoms might last for months, even without any drug abuse for a long time.
Many people might try to quit cold turkey – abruptly, and on their own. While that might be possible, it might also come with many risks. Along with the symptoms mentioned, people going through meth withdrawal often experience dehydration to a dangerous degree. That alone can put the person in a perilous scenario without proper medical attention.
The main issue isn’t just the symptoms themselves, but the environment the person is in. Experiencing hallucinations and paranoia can lead the person to do risky things and put themselves in danger. A lot of those symptoms can be too intense and cannot be managed with home remedies or over-the-counter medication.
When it comes to crystal meth, the cravings can get quite severe. That, paired with the intense comedown symptoms, can lead the person to relapse in the middle of the process. Resisting these cravings can require more than just self-control and willpower. And once a person has started to quit, trying some again might make the body go into shock.
These issues are the reason why medically-assisted detox can be safer and much more beneficial. Having access to medical care and support can provide the patient with medication for pain management. And not just that, the medical team can help the patient learn how to better deal with their symptoms.
In a controlled environment, patients will not have access to crystal meth and won’t have a chance to relapse. By being properly supervised, professionals can intervene in case of any serious issues arising from detox. The patient will be less likely to put themselves in danger, too, and will be properly taken care of.
Many centers will rely on medication to address the symptoms brought on by crystal meth abstinence. There are different types and purposes for the ones most commonly used, which usually are:
The drugs used in the treatment are not specifically made for meth abstinence, but they can help without causing serious side effects. Some of them, however, can only be bought with a prescription.
Antidepressants have been proven effective in addressing the depressive swings triggered by abstinence. Bupropion is one of the most commonly prescribed since it also reduces symptoms of withdrawal. It seems to help lessen the cravings, being more fitting for mild to moderate disorders.
Doctors might also recommend using mild stimulants like Provigil to help with insomnia. They also help with concentration and improving energy levels as well. Another commonly prescribed drug is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but they aren’t always as effective.
There are other drugs used during treatment, like Remeron. It is also an antidepressant with properties that act on serotonin as well as norepinephrine. Not only does it address the mental health-related issues of withdrawal, but it also helps prevent relapse.
The habit of using is one of the hardest to break. Especially when you are in an environment surrounded by people who use, and where drugs are readily available. Often, the most important thing to do is to get away from that environment and into a healthy, supportive one. People who are surrounded by support are far more likely to succeed.
People need proper medical and psychiatric care to overcome addiction. Detoxing is not enough to truly get rid of an addiction, as there are other factors that cause it. Once that is done, a patient needs to start substance abuse treatment, therapy, relapse prevention sessions, and counseling.
Coastal Detox Center is located on Florida’s beautiful Treasure Coast. Our state-of-the-art 12,500 square foot facility offers luxurious amenities, recreational facilities, and attentive, nurturing staff. Throughout your stay, you will be supported while you receive top-notch medical care that allows you to sail through detox.
In addition, you will have access to holistic treatments and therapies such as massage, chiropractic, biofeedback, and more. You will have a chance to rest and recuperate in peaceful surroundings and enjoy delicious, chef-prepared meals.
If you are ready to make a change in your life, contact us today. You can schedule a tour of our facilities and ask any questions you might have. Our team will be glad to give you any information you need and help you make an informed decision.