Crystal Meth Detox
Methamphetamine or “meth” is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant drug. It comes in the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting, crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water.
Crystal meth can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Most often, the drug is smoked for quick and easy access. Once in the user’s system, crystal meth causes three effects: euphoria, increased energy, and a decreased appetite. Crystal meth is an attractive drug to many people because of the intensity and longevity of the drug’s effects. Additionally, the drug is one of the most widely available and relatively affordable compared to similar drugs, such as cocaine.
Crystal meth is one of the most addictive substances in the country, accounting for more than half a million regular users in the United States. Even more devastating is that the drug affects the lives of people as young as 12 years old, and more than 13 million people in the country have tried crystal meth.
The intense effects of crystal meth reinforce use, and many people report being addicted after their first time trying the drug. Like other substances, crystal meth puts a person into a never-ending cycle of use to avoid the symptoms of non-use and withdrawal.
Common street names for the drug are as follows:
The Meth Experience
A person who uses meth experiences the following:
- An initial rush of heightened energy that lasts up to 30 minutes.
- Enhanced confidence that lasts four to 16 hours.
- Hyperactivity for three to 15 days, during which the user ingests more meth to maintain the high.
- “Tweaking,” the most dangerous stage that occurs when the effects of the drug begin to decline.
- One to three days of utter exhaustion as the body begins to shut down from the heightened energy of previous stages.
- “Meth hangover” that lasts two to 14 days that reinforce use.
Signs of Crystal Meth Use
A person on crystal meth perceives a heightened level of energy and overall well-being, but other signs are noted by those around the person, such as the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Irritability and aggressive behaviors
- Inability to sleep
- Paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations
- Signs of heightened energy, such as hyperactivity, rapid and continuous talking, and obsessive behaviors
- Life-threatening effects, such as convulsions
Effects of Long-Term Crystal Meth Use
Long-term, chronic use of crystal meth causes permanent damage to the body and brain, such as the following:
- Chronic high blood pressure and heart rate
- Increased risk for strokes and cardiovascular conditions
- Damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs
- Permanent damage to the brain, including problems with memory and processing conceptual information
- Difficulty managing moods and emotions
- Tooth decay, a condition known as “meth mouth”
- Psychosis, depression, and other psychological issues
One of the most unfortunate effects of long-term use, though, is that the brain is no longer able to process dopamine as effectively. Dopamine is a natural brain chemical responsible for creating feelings of pleasure.
The rush of crystal meth occurs because the drug rapidly releases large volumes of dopamine that must be processed by specific receptors.
Over time, the constant stress placed on the receptors causes irreversible damage. The damage to the receptors is often permanent, so the person may experience only minimal feelings of pleasure and reward.
Crystal Meth Detox: Symptoms and Timeline
Detoxification is meant to help you stop using the drug as safely and quickly as possible. It also helps relieve the withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe. Because of the chance of complications with detox and withdrawal from crystal meth, medical supervision is highly recommended to ensure one’s safety, well-being, and success.
Detox from crystal meth normally does not result in physical symptoms, but the medical team can administer medications should physical symptoms appear. The emotional symptoms, though, can be severe, which is why many people fail to stop on their own. The medical staff closely monitors the detox process and intervenes as needed.
Symptoms Related to Crystal Meth Detox
The most common symptoms of crystal meth detox are as follows:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Decreased sexual pleasure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased appetite
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Paranoia and suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive and irritable behavior
Meth withdrawal follows a predictable timeline. Symptoms typically begin within 24 hours after the last dose. They reach their peak after 7 to 10 days of abstinence. After 14 to 20 days, they disappear. Although detox symptoms are uncomfortable and often dangerous, they can be managed at a medical detox center.
Once the drug is completely out of your system, a medical professional will assist you in preparing for treatment. The treatment goal is to help you live a healthy life. Treatment may also include addressing underlying issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or bipolar disorder. Addiction is often a result of a mood disorder or trauma.
Crystal Meth Detox in Washington State
The goal of medical detox at Free by the Sea is to help the person feel as comfortable as possible. While the symptoms cannot be completely eliminated, the effects can be managed and minimized. Our medical team may treat the emotional effects with anti-depressant medications or anti-anxiety medications. In some cases, the medications are prescribed long after the person leaves treatment to restore the chemical balance of the brain.
Client-centered care respectful of individual needs and concerns is the foundation of our approach. We adhere to evidence-based practices that are focused on successful outcomes for long term recovery. Treatment programs at Free by the Sea:
- Residential—If you have a severe addiction and can not live a normal life without drugs, or if you have relapsed after an outpatient program, then you need the structure and control of a residential program.
- Intensive outpatient care—Intensive outpatient care is the middle ground between residential and outpatient. It allows patients to be gradually re-introduced into societal roles.
- Outpatient care—This is designed for individuals who need to live at home due to school or work obligations and have the support of family and friends.
- Partial hospitalization program—This allows patients to recover at home while going to the treatment center during the week.
Meth addiction treatment is very complicated, and needs are different for each patient. Mental health disorders frequently present with present among meth abusers. This makes the need for dual diagnosis treatment more important.
A common problem is that meth users tend to receive misdiagnoses. Providers need to determine whether the mental health issue is a result of drugs and the severity and duration of any mental health issues. Often, prolonged detox is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Because every patient is unique, we have a range of therapies and treatment programs that will be designed to meet your specific needs. Your treatment therapist will prescribe one or more of these commonly used, but very effective therapies among others.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—addresses the learning channels elemental to drug addiction. Patients work with a counselor to develop strategies to help cope with the reality of situations. Studies have shown CBT to be effective at reducing meth use after only a few sessions.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—is a type of CBT that may be used to treat suicidal and other destructive behaviors. It focuses on the emotional and social aspects.
Group therapy—is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time.
Family therapy—highlights the need to involve the family, friends, and peers in understanding addiction and recovery.
Trauma therapy—is focused on helping people who have had damaging things happen to them. Addiction is often rooted in trauma and the efforts to self-soothe.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, but Serving the Nation
We have excellent relationships with detox facilities in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding areas, and will assist you with detox placement should you or your loved one require this service before entering our drug addiction treatment program.
Serving the Nation, based in the Pacific Northwest, Free by the Sea is a beautiful campus, located on the Long Beach Peninsula in Ocean Park, WA.
Free by the Sea has a community of dedicated professionals, committed to providing care to all individuals with dignity and respect. Our staff includes Certified Substance Abuse Counselors and licensed Mental Health Therapists.
Client-centered care respectful of individual needs and concerns is the foundation of our approach. We adhere to evidence-based practices that are focused on successful outcomes for long term recovery.
Contact Free by the Sea
Crystal meth use is often driven by emotional issues and inadequate coping skills that lead to destructive behaviors.
Free by the Sea offers rehab programs to help you overcome your addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. Our rehab services teach you healthier ways to face the challenges of life and ultimately achieve your own personal success.
Contact us today to learn more about our services or to speak with one of our addiction counselors. We are available 24 hours a day, 7days a week.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed of seeking help. Whether it’s for yourself or someone close to you, it will take patience, kindness, and courage to reach out. But it won’t get better on its own.