Effects of Quitting Crystal Meth
When you stop using crystal meth, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms and side effects from crystal meth addiction are not typically life-threatening. However, some individuals may experience profound bouts of depression when quitting meth, placing them at increased risk of committing suicide.3
Medically managed detoxification and addiction treatment in a recovery center can help minimize uncomfortable side effects, reducing the urge to relapse and preventing injury to yourself.
- The inability to feel pleasure
- Bad dreams
- Reduced heart rate
- Slowed movements and thoughts
- Increased appetite
- Severe cravings 3
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medications for the treatment of crystal meth withdrawal symptoms. However, some medications are being researched. 4
Quitting Meth Timeline
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the most recent dose. 3
There’s no telling exactly how long these symptoms will last. It all depends on:
- Your body’s physiology and your general level of health.
- How often you used crystal meth.
- The length of your addiction.
- The amount of crystal meth you abused.
Quitting Meth Cold Turkey
Stopping suddenly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which can lead to relapse.
Quitting cold turkey is not recommended. Stopping crystal meth suddenly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which can lead you right back to using.
Often, people addicted to crystal meth will continue to use it to hold off the arrival of withdrawal symptoms. This is one reason why it’s important for many to seek crystal meth addiction treatment. Treatment can provide you with medically supervised detox and supportive care to minimize the discomfort experienced during detoxification and withdrawal.
How To Help A Meth Addict
You may be feeling powerless when it comes to helping your loved one overcome his or her crystal meth addiction. But you don’t have to feel that way. CRAFT, which stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training, is designed to help you develop healthy communication skills. 5
CRAFT teaches family members to stop making excuses for the crystal meth addict. Once they stop lying or covering for the individual – finally allowing their loved one to face the consequences of their actions – healing and growth can begin.
Do’s and Don’ts
The following are some suggestions for how to help a meth addict.
- Approach him or her in a loving and caring manner, free of judgment and anger.
- Try to approach your loved one when he or she is already trying to quit using crystal meth, since it’s often half the battle to get him or her to acknowledge the addiction.
- Make a mental note of his or her positive qualities and remind yourself of them when hurtful things are said or done under the influence.
- If a respectful and kind environment has formed, you should encourage him or her to attend rehab.
- Approach your loved one when you’re angry. This will only cause him or her to become defensive and push you away.
- Blame your loved one for his or her crystal meth addiction.
- Degrade your loved one – this will compound the shame he or she is already feeling.
- Have a heart-to-heart when he or she is high – they may not take the issue seriously, or remember the conversation at all.
When approaching your loved one, make sure you express concern and care, while encouraging treatment. Reassure him or her that you will be there every step of the way and provide support no matter what.
Benefits of Quitting Meth
Quitting methamphetamine can help you recover your mental and physical health as well as avoid any long-term consequences from addiction. Some improvements will be seen almost immediately, while others will take more time.
- Improve your teeth and skin.
- Return to a healthier body weight.
- Lower your risk of heart attack.
- Rebuild connections with your friends and family.
- Reduce your risk of arrest due to drug possession or violent behavior.
- Improve your financial situation by not spending any more money on the drug.
Tips for Quitting
It’s very difficult to quit using crystal meth on your own. The depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and severe cravings may increase your risk for relapse. That’s why it’s recommended that you seek professional help at a crystal meth rehab center or speak with your doctor about your addiction.
In addition, you can take some other steps to improve your chance of meth recovery:
- Build a support system of friends and family to help you stay sober once you complete your crystal meth treatment.
- Consider traveling for your treatment so you can escape your using environment and avoid triggers.
- Get rid of any paraphernalia associated with crystal meth use (pipe, needle).
- Delete your dealer’s phone number and change yours.
- Identify and address the reasons you started using in the first place.
- Make sure you seek medical assistance for any intravenous-related problems if you were injecting crystal meth (abscesses, HIV, hepatitis, collapsed veins).
- Seek the appropriate dental care, since many crystal meth users develop “meth mouth.”
Whatever you do, don’t try to quit crystal meth on your own. Surround yourself with friends and family who can support and encourage you. A number of treatment options are available. Educate yourself and decide which option works best for you.
Crystal Meth Recovery
Crystal meth – also known as ice, speed and crank – is a powerful stimulant drug capable of producing an intense, euphoric high. The effects wear off quickly, which is why crystal meth is commonly binged. 2
This pattern of use can hasten the development of dependence and addiction in users, due to the relentless changes in brain chemistry. Over time, meth depresses certain parts of the brain – effects that can only be fully reversed by re-introducing crystal meth.1
If you’re considering quitting crystal meth, recovery options include:
- 12-step programs: Narcotics Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous use the 12 steps created by Alcoholics Anonymous to help you achieve and maintain sobriety through regular meeting participation and ongoing support from other members.
- Inpatient rehab treatment: You attend treatment in a hospital or residential setting, where you have access to mental health services and medical care (if required), while regularly participating in group and individual counseling sessions and other addiction treatment approaches.
- Individual therapy: You attend one-on-one sessions with a counselor or therapist to work on building coping skills while addressing the reasons for your addiction.
- Outpatient rehab treatment: You can live at home while attending treatment a few times a week. This can be a viable, effective treatment option for those who have responsibilities at home, work or school.
- Group counseling: Group therapy covers many of the same strategies employed during one-on-one sessions in addition to helping you develop social skills to reinforce your newfound sobriety.
Find Help for Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction
If you’re ready to start the crystal meth recovery process or to help a loved one get help, you can prepare to speak with a treatment center admissions consultant by having the following pieces of information handy:
- How long you or your loved one has used meth
- How much meth you use, and how often
- Where you live
- You or your loved one’s age
- Your health insurance info
- Any other drugs being abused
- Any medical/psychiatric conditions
. University of Washington. “Methamphetamine Addiction Mechanism Discovered, Explains Why Cravings Last So Long.” ScienceDaily, April 10, 2008. sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080409120619.htm
. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug Facts: Methamphetamine. (2014). Retrieved December 21, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine
. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
. Kish, S. (2008). Pharmacologic mechanisms of crystal meth. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(13), 1679-1682. doi:10.1503/cmaj.071675
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