Over the past decade, methamphetamines have gained popularity for their euphoric and energetic properties. It’s no surprise that meth addiction is also on the rise. Many people have only seen the damaging effects on popular TV shows. When it hits home, however, it has the potential to tear lives apart. Learn how Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville works to help individuals piece things back together with our meth addiction treatment center.
What Does Meth Addiction Look Like?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a central nervous stimulant that users can smoke, snort or inject. Like any drug, it’s important to notice the warning signs of meth addiction before your loved one’s life spirals out of control.
If you believe your friend, spouse, or other family member is abusing meth, ask yourself these questions?
- Do they always seem active, attentive, and talkative?
- Do you notice any changes in appearance, included rapid weight loss, increased skin rashes, or decaying teeth?
- Does the person complain about crawling skin?
- Do they have irrational and often violent mood swings?
Answering “yes” to even a couple of those questions could be the sign of a significant problem that requires professional treatment at a rehabilitation center.
You’re Empowered to Help Your Loved One Change
Like other forms of drug addiction, meth addiction recovery isn’t going to happen overnight. Convincing your loved one to seek meth addiction treatment is the first step. However, taking your loved one into professional help may be easier said than done. In fact, if you’re too demanding or confrontational, it could push him or her deeper into the cycle of addiction. Instead of beating your loved one up, reinforce the fact that you’re there to provide support.
Once they decide to enter a meth addiction treatment center, it’s important to remain active as their support network. Moreover, your support can make all the difference in their confidence during recovery. Without this vital support, they’re more likely to lose focus on the challenge of sobriety.
Meth Withdrawal and Detox: The First Step to Recovery
Meth withdrawal is an uncomfortable process that starts immediately after a person stops taking methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. It includes a predictable set of symptoms that wear off as the body gradually detoxifies.
According to meth users, withdrawal causes severe emotional and physical symptoms. They agree that nothing is harder than coming down from a binge on meth. The depression, anxiety, and craving for meth can be extremely strong. If a withdrawal is not done in a safe and secure detox center, most addicts will return to the drug as soon as possible.
Meth withdrawal consists of two parts. Withdrawal is most intense during the first 24 hours after last using meth and becomes less intense over the following week. Often, there is a “subacute” phase that lasts another couple of weeks.
The second part is less intense and lasts for about another two or three weeks. Meth users can experience withdrawal symptoms for months. This is known as “post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).
Other factors play a part in the duration and intensity of meth withdrawal. They are:
- The person’s mental health before and during meth use.
- The person’s history of other drug use, including alcohol.
- How long the person has been using meth.
- How much meth the person has been using.
- The quality of the meth being used.
- How dependent on meth the person is.
- The age of the person. Older people typically experience worse symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
Typical symptoms include:
- Fatigue—People are likely to be very inactive, tired, and sleepy, especially during the first week of withdrawal. Fatigue usually peaks around the fifth day of withdrawal, and it is not unusual for the person to sleep an average of 11 hours a day.
- Vivid dreams—It is normal for a person to have vivid dreams during this period. They will typically subside during the first week.
- Increased appetite—People often lose their appetite while on meth. That changes during withdrawal. During this time, people will usually have a strong craving for carbohydrates– sugary or starchy food. This is common at the beginning of withdrawal and usually lasts into the second or third weeks.
- Anxiety—People going through meth withdrawal commonly have anxiety disorders. Studies show that the rates of anxiety disorders among those who use meth are estimated to be as high as 30%.
- Depression—Having a low, flat, or depressed mood is also normal while going through withdrawal. It will be gone by the end of the third week for most people. However, it may continue for several people.
- Psychosis—This can be a symptom of meth withdrawal and is comprised primarily of hallucinations: seeing, hearing, and feeling things that aren’t there. Psychosis also involves delusions–ideas that seem true but in reality, are not.
- Cravings for meth—People who are withdrawing from meth experience strong cravings to use more. This is common when withdrawing from addictive substances.
Timeline for Meth Withdrawal
- Crash or Come-down—The body is completely without energy for the first one or two days and may sleep continually.
- Depression—The person continues to be tired but with feelings of paranoia and depression. This decreases after about 10 days. Often, the person becomes so depressed that he will use again rather than seek recovery.
- Sub-acute Withdrawal—This is also called the “Persistent Symptoms Period”. There may be sleep or appetite problems. Bradycardia (abnormally slow heartbeat) may be present for several weeks after the last meth use causing fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or confusion
- Post-acute Withdrawal—Even though acute withdrawal has passed, PAWS can occur months after recovery. It is a temporary condition often triggered by people or places that remind the person of using and lasts a few days.
A Warning: Why Medical Detox May be Necessary
Even though symptoms usually subside after the first week of withdrawal, dealing with symptoms such as psychosis on your own can have serious consequences. It is best to go through detox and withdrawal from meth with the supervision of trained professionals. If you are having severe symptoms, you need to go to a medically-managed detox center. Antipsychotic drugs may need to be prescribed to treat psychiatric symptoms.
Consequences of Methamphetamine Addiction
Studies of chronic methamphetamine users showed severe structural and functional changes in the areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. This might explain the emotional and cognitive problems observed in meth users.
Research with primates showed that the brain structures involved in decision-making and habitual behaviors account for the decline in mental flexibility. These changes in brain structure and function might account for meth addiction being so difficult to treat, and with such a significant chance or relapse.
Some of the neural effects of chronic use seem to be at least partially reversible. Biochemical markers for nerve damage in the brain return to normal after a year or more of abstinence from the meth. However, meth use increases the risk of stroke, which causes irreversible damage to the brain.
Long-term meth users also suffer physical effects, including weight loss, tooth decay and loss (meth mouth), and skin sores. A combination of poor nutrition and dental hygiene, as well as dry mouth and teeth grinding, may be to blame for dental problems.
Skin sores are the effect of picking and scratching the skin to get rid of insects that are imagined to be crawling underneath.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Recovery from any substance use disorder is hard work. Meth, with its ability to produce a temporary euphoria, is an extremely challenging recovery. Staying drug-free is a life-long job that requires professional, experienced guidance.
There are no FDA-approved medications that specifically treat meth addiction. A physician experienced in addictions can prescribe medications to treat symptoms of withdrawal such as depression, anxiety, or drug cravings. The physical consequences of meth abuse, such as heart damage, can also be managed with medication.
Without support and treatment, meth addicts can experience severe health effects and even death from their use. Over 10,000 deaths were determined to be caused by methamphetamine use in 2017.
How CVRC Promotes Lasting Change with a Meth Addiction Treatment Center
Most rehab facilities offer treatment for a wide range of substances, including crystal meth. However, not all facilities have specific programming for these addictions.
For example, someone who is abusing cocaine can enter the same program as someone who is struggling with meth abuse. At CVRC, we offer drug-specific treatment programs that will address your specific concerns at our meth addiction treatment center.
At CVRC, we take a highly individualized approach in our meth addiction treatment program. Our intensive intake process will help us learn about your loved one’s addiction history and identify attainable treatment goals.
Reality-based therapy is an important complement to our strong, clinically-based treatment process. We’re not like other treatment facilities who take an institutionalized approach and make rehab feel like jail. We’ll put your loved one in a real-world living situation with same-sex roommates who are also struggling with addiction. Together, they’ll develop effective coping strategies and other beneficial skills needed to live life on life’s terms.
Don’t continue watching your loved one struggle with meth addiction. Crest View Recovery can give your loved one the tools to succeed in sobriety. Contact us today.