What Is Crystal Meth?
Like crack cocaine, it is smoked and gives the user an intense high followed by an extremely severe comedown. Meth use can generate a high lasting for anything between four to twelve hours when you are not in control.
Methamphetamine is a Class A drug so it is illegal to be in possession of it, whether it is for your own use or not. Possession of the drug can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years.
Crystal Meth use can result in:
- Dramatic fluctuations in energy levels
- A sense of euphoria
- Increased sex drive
- Hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating)
Risks (What Crystal Meth Does To Your Body)
- Severe Psychosis
- Anxiety, panic symptoms
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Potential brain damage
Physical Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Unlike the withdrawal process from other drugs, crystal meth users typically do not experience intense physical symptoms.
In contrast, it is the mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms, as the brain readjusts, that present the greatest risk of relapse in crystal meth recovery.
Nevertheless, since dopamine also plays a role in regulating brain pathways involved in movement, those in withdrawal may suffer from shakes, and minor involuntary movements such as jerking or twitching.
Methamphetamine use puts the body in a state of fight/flight or stress-alert for long periods of time. Accompanying this are usually physical symptoms of:
- Lowered body temperature
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Pale complexion
As a result, when withdrawing or detoxing, many recovering users will experience tiredness, lethargy and fatigue for several weeks during the withdrawal process, along with increased appetite and better metabolism, as the body reverses the previous adjustments made during heavy usage. Dehydration can occur rapidly during detox as the body adjusts and requires greater hydration as it restores neurological balance.
What Crystal Meth Does To Your Face
Minor skin eruptions like acne etc can intensify during detox or withdrawal due to fluctuations in neurotransmitters, and as a result, hormone levels in the body.
Psychological Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
How Crystal Meth Affects The Brain
When the brain consistently experiences an excess of dopamine, it automatically adjusts to this by depleting the number of neuro-receptors (receptor points for this particular brain chemical).
As a result, when someone undertakes detox or crystal meth withdrawal, the brain is under-equipped with receptor sites to process any dopamine that is present, resulting in even more deficit of dopamine than normal.
This results in a version of a condition known medically as Anhedonia – an inability to experience pleasure. That is, until the brain begins to heal, and adjusts once again to the new level of dopamine present in the brain by increasing receptor site numbers once more.
Other psychological meth withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Ongoing anxiety, often for long periods after initial detox is complete
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline
- Day 1 -10 – Acute withdrawal. During this initial stage of the meth withdrawal process, individuals will experience an initial crash (also known as a come down) from dopamine highs as the brain and nervous system begin to recalibrate to the deficit of free dopamine available in the system.
This results in acute depression, and low mood. The most acute phase of this will be around days 2-4, when the last of the remaining drug is processed by the body. This phase can also see additional psychological meth withdrawal symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations, in more severe cases.
If undertaking meth withdrawal and detox in a controlled clinic setting, it’s possible that an anti-depressant may be prescribed at this stage to help alleviate depressive symptoms, depending on specifics.
- Day 10 – 28 – Rebalancing. During this stage, mood swings, depression and other mental/emotional symptoms like hopelessness/helplessness will likely persist, but at a reducing level.
Energy levels should begin to improve towards the end of this phase as neurotransmitter levels increase and neuro-receptor numbers are replenished.
- Day 28+ – Stabilising. Usually at this stage most of the physical and chemical detox is already complete.
Remaining psychological elements of meth withdrawal, whilst not gone altogether, should be much easier to manage. Residual symptoms may last for several weeks.
Any symptom-management medication is now usually reducing over time, as overseen by medical professionals. Sleep, energy, and mood, should all be improving as time continues throughout this stage.
Crystal Meth Treatment: Detox > Rehab > Aftercare
Are You Ready Psychologically To Detox?
Before detoxing or withdrawing from Crystal Meth, it’s tempting to consider your readiness for detox, based only on how you feel physically at that time.
But consider how prepared you are for the process, both physically *and* emotionally.
What supports do you have in place, after you stop using?
Is it realistic to expect that life’s issues will be gone, after you’ve detoxed?
What help will you have to deal with life’s practical issues and problems that have arisen whilst you’ve been using?
Are you ready to accept that problems you had, before entering active addiction, are likely to have gotten worse during that time?
In many cases, simply being made aware of these elements – and setting your own expectation, that these elements exist and will come up during recovery, in itself helps to reduce the stress associated with them.
Are You Ready Physically To Detox?
Consider how you normally react when your body and mind are under stress. What issues are likely to surface? How could you plan in advance to alleviate those, now?
Should you decide to detox in a rehab clinic, these are excellent points to remember for any initial conversations with staff, during your admission.
Detoxing from Crystal Meth means completing withdrawal with medical assistance and supervision, usually within a rehab clinic or medical facility.
This can help alleviate the more severe withdrawal symptoms, by getting support during the initial phases of withdrawal.
Most facilities willing to tailor a detox programme to the individual will be in the private sector. In this way, a private clinic is usually structured and set up in a way that is more supportive to individual needs, followed by planned therapeutic help following detox.
Whilst Crystal Meth is of course highly physically addictive, most continue using not only as a result of physical addiction, but also psychological addiction.
Dealing with psychological cravings during withdrawal is one element to the process.
But understanding how you arrived in crystal meth addiction, and how it has become an ongoing issue in your life, is the only route to eradicating it altogether.
In other words, translating short term detox into long term recovery gains, means an honest therapeutic assessment, of how and why addiction to crystal meth has arisen in your life, the factors that led to it, the elements supporting it, and the triggers to avoid in future.
Only through the process of drug rehab, and this stark and brutally honest self-work, can individuals move beyond the cycle of using Crystal Meth to escape from every day life, and what that means.
Put aside for a moment, the fact that the addiction is to the substance of Crystal Meth itself.
Beyond fear of withdrawal symptoms, the driving psychological factors behind the addiction, are what keep people in active meth use over time. The issues here are of course different for each individual, and highly personal.
What are the underlying issues, people turn to Crystal Meth addiction, to cope with?
- For some, it may be a significant unresolved trauma, never dealt with.
- For others, a recurring trigger situation that it seems impossible to escape from.
- Or, a relationship that has addiction and dependence weaved into it’s fabric, and yet is difficult to break.
Getting help for these core factors, means that long after detox completes, the trigger situations and emotional baggage that kept the drug use in place are no longer there. Breaking the cycle of addiction, for good, becomes much more realistic, and much more achievable.
A rehab program in a residential setting should begin toward the end of the most acute detox symptoms, as soon as the individual is comfortable engaging in a therapeutic setting.
A Typical Rehab Programme Should Include:
- An individualised care plan that lays out a clear pathway and agreed goals for your treatment time.
- Structured therapy input, to help identify and address the reasons why someone is addicted to substance use in the first place.
- Assistance with detailed life analysis to help the individual understand how they arrived at this point – what elements of life supported the development of substance abuse and addiction, and which were voluntarily maintained.
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) that uses the framework of behaviour, thoughts and feelings, to understand in what ways addiction has benefitted the individual to this point.
- …and likewise, to understand better, how addiction has *not* benefitted someone – the very negative consequences attached.
- A programme of physical exercise and holistic therapy options to help sample a range of stress-reducing activities that can be used to assist with life’s issues, when they arise.
- 12 step recovery work, including one-to-one work which monitors your progress towards treatment goals.
- A structured plan for aftercare, that takes into account both the practical and emotional elements of your future life in recovery from substance use.
The insights gathered until this point in treatment, can then be used to structure an aftercare plan – a detailed look at what daily life will be like, in long term recovery.
An aftercare plan is essential for long term success. Yet even more important, is *following through* on the plan. Without persistent and determined action to stay on track, even the best plan in the world will falter.
This part of recovery from substance abuse emphasises more than any other – that addiction recovery means once again embracing responsibility in life- the good and the bad.
Those in successful long term recovery have followed through on supports, when needed. They’ve consistently attended aftercare groups, locally. They have engaged with a sponsor, and followed their advice.
In other words, they have made addiction recovery, a very active and ongoing part of their life’s structure.
A good clinic will help peer-review your plan, to make sure it will work in the real world. They’ll help you plan the structure of daily life in recovery, and what you’ll be seeing, hearing and feeling during that.
A simple plan, laid out step-by-step, is easier to follow, and therefore makes it more likely you’ll stick to it.
A reputable clinic will help you plan ahead in this way, for your own success, making it easier to visualise, and ultimately, achieve.
Abbeycare provide all of the above, as standard, in aftercare planning.
- Why is Crystal Meth highly addictive?
The crystallised form of Methamphetamine usually has a more sudden, and shorter-lasting chemical effect, which users experience as a euphoric high of greater intensity.
While the duration is short, the effects create significant and sudden imbalance in brain chemicals, leaving users feeling low and quickly seeking more of the drug to feel better.
- Is it possible to self-detox from using Meth?
Methamphetamine essentially hijacks several of the brain’s neurotransmitter systems and causes wild swings in levels of important chemicals which regulate multiple process in the body, including the production of other hormones.
This is why the effects of withdrawal are experienced so acutely, and are so dangerous to undertake alone.
Consider also, the unpredictable effects of withdrawal when interacting with pre-existing physical and mental health conditions, as well as the possibility of other drug use, and pre-existing prescribed medication.
For these reasons we strongly advise against attempting to detox alone.
- Is it possible to overdose from using Meth?
- What detox medication will I receive to help make Meth withdrawal more comfortable?
Prescribing professionals may advocate a number of medicines to alleviate the various withdrawal symptoms as they arise. This could include help to stabilise brain function, minimise psychological symptoms like depression, and alleviate physical cravings.
Our medical team oversee detox for all clients, and evaluate the needs of each, on an individual basis. Any/all medication required is entirely subject to their approval.
- I’m using other substances as well as Crystal Meth, can you help me detox?
Probably, yes. We have experience in working with multi-substance detox as well as co-occurring mental health issues, and can probably help.
For advice specific to your unique situation and usage, please ring our admissions team direct on 01603 513 091.
- How much does treatment cost?
- How do I book in for treatment?
To book for detox and treatment, call our admissions team direct on 01603 513 091. They can provide pricing, answer your questions, and arrange admission, usually in 24-48 hours, depending on specifics.