Crystal Meth Withdrawal
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine, a stimulant drug that has limited medical use for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and promoting weight loss. 5 However, crystal meth is an illegal drug that is made and sold for recreational use.
Effects of Crystal Meths
Crystal meth increases the release of dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that influences movement, motivation, and pleasure. The drug can boost energy and reduce the need for sleep. However, long-term use can lead to weight loss, dental problems, paranoia, violent behavior, and hallucinations. 1
Most mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, cause severe, uncomfortable, and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when an addict suddenly stops using them. Chronic abuse of the drug can lead to significant physiological dependence that, once established, gives rise to withdrawal symptoms when the person stops using it. The symptoms, particularly cravings, may tempt them to return to using the drug even though they are ready to quit.
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Crystal meth withdrawal effects have an average duration of between 1-2 weeks after the last dose. 4 However, the timeline of recovery varies from person to person. Some people experience symptoms for several months after the initial withdrawal phase. Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, fatigue depression, interrupted sleep patterns, psychosis, and strong cravings. 1, 2 People may also experience mild depression, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and irritability as a result of withdrawing from crystal meth.4
Additionally, people who come down from meth may lose touch with reality and become violent or aggressive. They can also become suicidal. 2
Treatment Methods and Options for Help
Medically supervised detox for crystal meth withdrawal symptoms is the first step of recovery from addiction. Once you have detoxed from crystal meth, you work with a team of substance abuse treatment professionals to identify the issues and triggers that led to crystal meth addiction.
You may participate in individual and group counseling that help you avoid crystal meth use by finding constructive and healthy ways of dealing with stress and pressure. This treatment is available at inpatient or outpatient rehab centers.
The other pieces of a traditional recovery program include inpatient or outpatient treatment and can vary in length and level of supervision. The right type of program for any given person will depend on factors such as how long they have used crystal meth, whether they have relapsed before, their support system (or lack thereof), and their insurance status.
No medications are approved to treat methamphetamine addiction or withdrawal. 1 But medical providers may prescribe medications for specific symptoms, such as Benadryl or trazodone for sleep, and antidepressants for users who become depressed during withdrawal.
Lastly, people in recovery from crystal methamphetamine are encouraged to continue counseling and therapy on a regular basis to reinforce the coping strategies that they learn during treatment. Often, support groups such as 12-step peer groups are also recommended to provide further encouragement during the long-term recovery process from meth addiction.
Are There Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?
Home remedies for crystal meth detox are not advised due to meth’s highly addictive nature and the high relapse rate for users of the drug. Drug rehabilitation programs can help people overcome a crystal meth addiction far more effectively. They can prevent access to the drug and teach techniques to manage cravings. These programs can also alleviate the intense discomfort during withdrawal and provide relief.
Additionally, users may become violent and psychotic when they come off meth. Other risks include severe depression, suicide, relapse, and overdose, and even seizures, in some cases. As a result, at-home detox or “quitting cold turkey” is not recommended.
. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Methamphetamine.
. Government of Canada. (2015). Methamphetamine.
. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). What Treatments Are Effective for People who Abuse Methamphetamine?
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. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). What is methamphetamine?
. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Methamphetamine overdose.
. McGregor, C., Srisurapanont, M., Jittiwutikarn, J., Laobhripatr, S., Wongtan, T., & White, J. M. (2005). The nature, time course and severity of methamphetamine withdrawal. Addiction, 100(9), 1320-1329.
. The Meth Project. (n.d.). Signs of Use.
. National Drug Intelligence Center. (2002). Information Bulletin: Crystal Methamphetamine.
. Australian Government Department of Health. (2014). Polydrug Use.