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  • Dec
    05

    Meth Addiction Detoxification

    Meth Addiction Detoxification

    Every year, thousands of people find themselves addicted to methamphetamine. This dangerous substance has shown significant growth in popularity because it is inexpensive to purchase or produce, and it has many desirable effects.

    However, it has devastating consequences, leading many people to look for meth addiction detoxification.

    Stages of Meth Addiction

    People suffering from methamphetamine abuse and addiction will find themselves trapped in a repetitive cycle. This cycle consists of several distinct parts that feed one another, furthering the addiction and substance abuse.

    The Rush - This is the desired high that provides a rush of energy and pleasurable feelings, but it only lasts for a few minutes before leaving behind feelings of lethargy, boredom, and anxiety. This, in turn, leads you want more meth in order to return to the feeling of being high.

    Binge - Tolerance to meth builds very quickly, making it impossible to get the same experience of being high again and again. In this situation meth addicts often begin using frequent and heavy doses to try and achieve and maintain their euphoric feelings.

    Tweaking - According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, tweaking occurs when a meth addict has been on a binge and has not slept in 3 to 5 days. The addict becomes paranoid, aggressive, and frustrated. From this point, they will either find a way to get more meth and go on another binge, or fall into the next part of the meth addiction cycle, the crash.

    Crash - Crashing occurs when enough time passes after dosing on meth that withdrawal begins. Once these symptoms start, most meth addicts will use again, restarting the cycle.

    All of these parts make up the very dangerous cycle of meth addiction. Once this cycle begins, it progressively gets worse until one of two things happens.

    Either you get the help you need to remove the drug from your system and end your meth abuse, or you will overdose, which is often fatal. These are the only possible outcomes to meth addiction.

    What is Meth Detoxification?

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, detoxification is the process of allowing the body to remove a substance of abuse, while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. This also requires dealing with any medical or psychological complications that arise as part of the process. When you use this process to remove methamphetamine, you are undergoing meth detoxification.

    Stages of Meth Detoxification

    Heroin withdrawal is considered to be the standard on which all other withdrawal syndromes are compared. This is because heroin withdrawal is, by far, the most severe. However, that does not mean that detoxing from meth is easy. There are several stages of methamphetamine detoxification and withdrawal.

    Stage One: This lasts for 24 to 48 hours after initially stopping meth use. Its characteristics include:

    • Paranoia
    • Anxiety
    • Intense Cravings
    • Tactile, Auditory, and Visual Hallucinations
    • Depression
    • Anger
    • Aggression
    • Violent Thoughts
    • Sleeplessness
    • Joint Pain

    Stage Two: This begins some time during the first week and lasts around two weeks. Some symptoms fade, while others become more pronounced. There are also some new symptoms added. The symptoms of this stage include:

    • Severe Depression
    • Suicidal Thoughts
    • Extreme Fatigue and Need for Sleep
    • Ravenous Appetite
    • Weight Gain
    • Lingering Paranoia and Anxiety
    • Slowly Diminishing Cravings
    • The Inability to Feel Pleasure or Happiness

    Stage Three - This stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. During this time many of the withdrawal symptoms fade away. However, it is not uncommon for cravings, anxiety, and the inability to feel pleasure to remain something you struggle with for a long time.

    Each of these stages has their own special horrors that make stopping meth use and remaining abstinent extremely difficult. This highlights the need for true meth addiction treatment as well as detoxification.

    How is Detox Different from Meth Addiction Treatment?

    At this point you may be somewhat confused. It is a common misconception that detoxification is treatment. However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, detoxification is only the first step in the process that constitutes substance abuse treatment and recovery. The other parts include:

    • Behavioral Therapies and Counseling
    • Support Services
    • Relapse Prevention
    • Continuing Care

    All of these different parts are necessary to affect real recovery from meth addiction. This is why treatment must include them.

    Methods of Meth Detoxification and Treatment

    Once you understand the need for meth detoxification and treatment, you need to know what methods there are of achieving these things. The only real method for detoxifying from meth is to let it run its course.

    For this reason, detoxification is best done in a medical setting to ensure that any complications that may arise can be properly dealt with. This can be in an inpatient treatment facility or hospital. Treating meth addiction is more complicated.

    According to Harvard Medical School, behavioral therapies are the best and most widely used method available for meth addiction treatment. The individual therapies used may include:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Motivational Interviewing
    • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
    • Aversion Therapy
    • Community Reinforcement
    • Contingency Management
    • The Matrix Model

    All of these methods are effective in treating meth addiction. Though there are currently no medications currently approved for meth addiction treatment, there are several undergoing clinical trials that may be effective. These are:

    • Disulfiram
    • Baclofen
    • Topiramate
    • Modafinil

    These medications may do several things, such as replacing meth as a maintenance medication, reducing cravings, or providing consequences for relapse. Again, these medications are not yet approved and not readily available.

    There is scientific evidence that it may be possible to create a vaccine that prevents meth abuse and addiction entirely. However, this occurrence is far down the road into the future. Until that time, you must take advantage of the treatment methods available to you, not the least of which is meth addiction detoxification.

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