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How To Detox from Meth

Maybe the only thing scarier for someone struggling with addiction than never being able to quit is the idea of living without getting high. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is that frustrating and confusing. Even more confusing for those of us who have family members, friends, or significant others addicted to drugs? More frequently, those addicted to opioids are beginning to turn to methamphetamine to help get through heroin withdrawals when treatment isn’t available.

A 2018 NPR article profiles the troubling side-effect of the opioid epidemic. In states like Ohio where the opioid epidemic has had some of the most devastating impacts, methamphetamine use has risen simultaneously. Overdoses involving meth more than doubled from 2010 to 2015, the amount of meth being trafficked across the United States-Mexico border nearly tripled from 2012 to 2017. With use on the rise, treatment availability and options are as necessary now as ever before.

Unfortunately, methamphetamine dependence can be even more challenging to treat than opioid addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, continued methamphetamine use can affect areas of the brain that control emotion and memory, even after someone has abstained from the drug for over a year. And unlike heroin or painkillers, there are not any medications that have been approved to treat methamphetamine addiction. Behavioral and experiential treatments are still the most effective treatments for long-term recovery.

First thing’s first, though. For someone addicted to meth, the first few days of abstinence are a crucial, and acutely painful, beginning of recovery. Withdrawals are similar to cocaine; however, meth has a much longer chemical half-life than cocaine. So, methamphetamine withdrawals can be more intense and last longer.

Is Meth Withdrawal Painful?

While pain is a relative threshold depending on the person, withdrawal from meth is definitely physically uncomfortable and psychologically painful. Peaking around day 3 and lasting up to 10 days, quitting cold turkey produces no physical symptoms (like heroin), but it does have mental and emotional effects, such as:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Memory Problems
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis

While emotionally and mentally agonizing and painful, after the detox period, many of these side-effects diminish if not completely disappear.

Where Should I Detox

While risks of heart attack, seizures, and death are possible as a result of an overdose, detoxification from meth does not carry life-threatening emergencies like alcohol and benzos withdrawal. It is true that many people detox from their homes; however, it can be difficult to remain clean without the proper support and resources. Treatment facilities can also help diagnose and treat any other medical needs that need urgent attention:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Tooth Decay
  • Blood-borne Diseases

While not all meth users have these serious medical issues, many chronic users are suffering from these physical ailments. Because meth is a stimulant, it suppresses appetites, increases heart rate, and produces dry mouth syndrome. These all contribute to severe weight loss, dehydration, and gum and tooth decay. Gingivitis and cavities can be very painful, and if not treated in time, they lead to tooth loss and other dental emergencies. Injecting methamphetamine puts the user at a much higher risk of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and STIs.

Detox and treatment facilities are recommended for helping someone detox from methamphetamine. Boardwalk Recovery is well-staffed with experienced medical personnel who help monitor hydration levels as well as doing blood work to rule out diseases. If you or your loved one is having dental problems as a result of their substance abuse, we have an extensive network of relationships with dentists who will work with you to map out the best course to regain the beautiful smile that drugs stole.

After the first week or so, the real treatment can begin. With the worst of the withdrawals over and a newfound sense of clarity from being clean of all drugs and alcohol, it is time to start learning how to enjoy life and strengthening the mind with behavioral therapy and experiential modalities. Call us today to learn more about our approach to treating methamphetamine addiction, what you can expect from treatment, and the hope that recovery is possible.

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