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Meth Withdrawal and Detoxification

When meth is used for a number of times even though they are intended to be recreational uses, the brain starts to develop dependence. Now that brain and body have become dependent on the drug, discontinuation of usage or a decrease in the amounts being used can result into painful symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. The brain wants the drug to be supplied in order to function normally. Withdrawal symptoms can last for as long as body does not clear itself of any remains of the drug accumulated in the body. So there are serious withdrawal symptoms associated with meth addiction.

Meth Withdrawal and Detoxification

Table of Contents:

  • 1.Withdrawal Symptoms of Meth
  • 2.How Long Do the Symptoms Last?
  • 3.Medications Used to Ease Withdrawal Process
  • 4.Can Meth Withdrawal prove to be Fatal?
  • 5.Meth Detoxification

Withdrawal Symptoms of Meth:

Meth is one of the most difficult drugs to quit because of the extremely painful symptoms associated with meth withdrawal. They body and mind fail to function in the absence of drug. The drug alters the structure and function of brain in such a way that it starts to think it cannot function without the presence of drug and to force the user to take the drug, produces very painful withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms usually start to appear within 24 hours of last dose. The symptoms may include:

  • Extreme depression
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability

The depression is often accompanied by suicidal tendencies. A number of other psychological problems are also experienced by the user such as:

  • Apathy
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness

Many addicts have reported that main reason for them relapsing was these symptoms. Extreme cravings can also cause the addicts to relapse but they generally disappear after a small period of time.

The psychotic symptoms produced by withdrawal include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusion

Development of depression and other psychotic symptoms are most important factors that cause a patient to relapse. The addict prefers to go back to taking the drug rather than enduring the pain.

How Long Do the Symptoms Last?

The effects produced by meth are fast appearing and fast vanishing. The drug has a short half life so it does not take much time for it to be removed from the system. Here is a withdrawal timeline for meth:

  • Days 1 to 3:
    Symptoms appear after spending 24 hours without drug. Shortly, they reach to their peak value and stay as such for 8 to 10 days. The symptoms may include depression, anxiety etc.
  • Days 4 to 10:
    From the 4th day, symptoms become more complex. Carvings start to kick in making it very hard for the addict to resist the drug. Addicts experience anxiety, paranoia, mood swings and hallucinations.
  • Days 11 to 30:
    During this period, it becomes very difficult to fall asleep and the addict becomes insomniac with continuing depression and cravings. This time is very crucial because most of the addicts fail to avoid the cravings successfully and relapse.
  • Day 30 and onwards:
    After successfully spending a month away from drug, withdrawal symptoms start to ease down. Depression can continue even after this period especially for addicts who have been using the drug for a long period of time.

It can be quite hard to resist carvings during withdrawal. Therapy can help to successfully avoid cravings that may extend over a period of several months.

Medications Used to Ease Withdrawal Process:

Currently, there are no medications approved by FDA to ease withdrawal symptoms. However, different routine medications can be used to make process of withdrawal less painful. These medications include:

  • Bupropion: It is an antidepressant that has been found to be helpful with withdrawal symptoms. It can also help to reduce cravings.
  • Modafinil: It is a mild stimulant drug that is used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy. In case of meth withdrawal, it has been found beneficial for the treatment of irregular sleep patterns and insomnia. It is also used for increasing energy levels and concentrating abilities.
  • Paroxetine: It is a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor and studies suggest that it can decrease carvings during withdrawal.
  • Mirtazapine: It is an atypical antidepressant that has been found to be helpful to prevent relapsing during withdrawal process.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressant drugs can be used to reduce depression during withdrawal but most of the antidepressants do not produce their effects until 2 to 4 weeks after initial usage so it is not s very practical approach.
  • Antipsychotic medications: Doctors use antipsychotic medications for the patients who develop psychotic symptoms during the process of recovery such as delusion, paranoia and hallucinations.

The use of these drugs should be strictly monitored by a medical professional because ironically, some of these drugs used to treat addiction are addictive themselves.

Can Meth Withdrawal prove to be Fatal?

Withdrawal symptoms can be highly painful and uncomfortable but it is very unlikely to die from withdrawal. It is recommended to seek professional help during the process of withdrawal to ensure safety and to avoid any complications. Under the medical supervision, any dangerous withdrawal symptoms are immediately treated.

Meth Detoxification:

Detoxification is the first step towards recovery. It is a natural process by which body gets rid of harmful compounds accumulated in the body due to years of drug abuse. Withdrawal symptoms are a significant part of detoxification process. Detox process can be pretty uncomfortable for chronic drug users. Symptoms such as anxiety and depression appear but these symptoms are indicative of the fact that body is clearing itself of harmful chemicals and is returning to natural state.

Dehydration is one of the most important side effect of withdrawal process. Extreme dehydration can even lead to death of the addict. It is preferable to go through detoxification under expert supervision to make the process less painful and safe. Addicts who seek professional help during detox are also less likely to relapse after recovery.


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