Overcoming meth addiction can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. When people try to do a meth detox on their own, they’ll often experience the initial withdrawal stages which can cause them to return to their old habits.
In public discourse, the opioid epidemic is prevalent, but in Atlanta and surrounding counties in Georgia, meth use has been on the rise for several years.
The good news is that there’s a safer, more systematic approach to beating a meth addiction.
In this article we’re going to cover:
-The withdrawal timeline & symptoms
-The prescription drug detox process
-3 things to look for in a meth detox program
-How to know when someone needs help with addiction
-And the next steps you can take
The 3 Phases of Meth Withdrawal
The first 3–10 days of withdrawal is the “crash” period. This period includes a sharp decline in energy and cognitive function. Depression is common during this phase. In some cases, people will experience hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. Cravings are typically low at this time because a person usually spends a lot of time sleeping during the crash phase.
The second phase begins with intense cravings. Having gotten through the initial crash, many people in the early stages of recovery start to desire the intense high that meth provides. Due to the euphoria that the drug offers, consumption is a continuous temptation. Many people feel powerless after they stop using the drug, and will seek to use it again to regain the feeling. This phase can last up to 10 weeks and often includes depression and insomnia.
The third stage of meth withdrawal is when meth cravings begin to fade, becoming less frequent and less potent, forming an ideal opportunity to begin recovery. It is best to maintain in an environment where you are safe and have others around to help hold you accountable. This phase can last for 30 weeks and, in some cases, much longer. As a general rule, the longer it has been since you have used meth, the easier it will be for you to stay sober.
Now for the Good News
The good news is that there is a safe way to recover, and avoid relapses moving forward. A meth detox program backed by medical treatment, in a safe environment, supported by a caring community can help you get your life back on track. And with aftercare programs designed to mend relationships, rebuild finances, and feel whole again, it is possible to build a bright future.
A full recovery is possible, and it’s never too soon to start a meth detox program.
The Meth Detox Process
At Atlanta Detox Center the meth detox program is designed to keep patients comfortable and cared for throughout the entire process.
Here’s what to expect:
Step 1 — The patient gets a psychological and physical assessment, gets their lab work done, and receives a personalized treatment plan. The patient is then shown to their room which has a comfy Tempurpedic bed, flatscreen television, and there will be plenty of meals and snacks available—everything to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Step 2 — The patient is administered medical treatment by our certified professionals to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms. The medication helps to reduce the typical stresses and pains that come with a meth detox, which also helps curb their urge to use again. The patient will have 24/7 access to staff who will regularly monitor and provide medication as needed.
Step 3 — Upon completion of the initial meth detox the patient is then guided through a therapy program to help ensure ongoing recovery. Depending on the patient’s unique needs, they might need one or a combination of therapies. Some examples are recreational therapy, expressive, group, trauma, motivational, family, cognitive behavioral therapy, aftercare, and even case management for issues like bad credit, helping with a criminal record, or finding employment.
The meth detox, combined with the aftercare program, is all about setting the patient up for long-term recovery.
What to Expect During Meth Detox
During detoxification from meth, you may:
-Receive muscle relaxants or benzodiazepines to help your with tension and/or anxiety.
-Receive intravenous (IV) fluids / electrolyte repletion.
-The stimulant properties of meth can lead to dehydration and muscle spasms.
-Be prescribed medication to treat insomnia.
-You may experience restlessness and sleep disturbances for up to several weeks.
-You can expect to feel fatigued as your body becomes used to the absence of meth, so get plenty of rest during detox.
3 Things to Look for in a Meth Detox Program
Three of the biggest challenges to recovery are:
Many people struggling with addiction fear the pain and discomfort during the withdrawal period of a meth detox
The anticipation of being judged or looked down upon keeps them from reaching out for help
And the thought of repairing all the damage that has been done—bruised relationships, damaged credit, tarnished public records—can give people a sense of, “This is impossible, so why bother.”
It all comes down to confidence and comfort.
If the person doesn’t feel confident they can actually recover, they’re not likely to try to beat their addiction. And if they do try, if the person is feeling discomfort—either from the aches and pains of the withdrawal, or the perceived shame and guilt from their peers—they’re setting themselves up for failure.
When choosing a meth detox program, here are the three important things to look for:
Withdrawal can be uncomfortable and in some cases dangerous. And while nobody should self-administer a medical detox, they also shouldn’t attempt beating the painful withdrawal stages without medical assistance. A successful meth detox program should be supervised by dedicated professionals at every step, monitoring vital signs, administering medication as needed, and guiding you through the first steps to recovery.
Nobody wants to be surrounded by people who are constantly trying to “fix” them. You want to be around people who are just like you, who understand you and what you’re going through. One of the keys to a successful recovery is being part of a community of people who’ve been in your shoes and come out clean on the other side. These people can show you the exact steps you need to take to get back on track (and stay there).
A personalized, long-term plan
The problem with one-size-fits-all detox programs is that each person is unique. People have different backgrounds, emotional hurdles, and financial situations. They also have different tolerances, triggers, and physical and psychological needs. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness roughly half of all people struggling with addiction also have unique mental circumstances that can affect the treatment methods and the duration they need for recovery.
When choosing a meth detox program you should look for one that takes the time to assess your personal circumstances. Make sure the program asks about and takes into consideration the substances you’ve been using, the dosage and duration of use, and your full medical history, and uses that information to create a personal plan designed only for you.
With these three things, you can feel confident that your personal meth detox program will get you where you’re going. And you’ll know that you will get there comfortably with the proper medical treatment, and with the support of people who genuinely care about you.
How to Know When Someone Needs Help with Meth Addiction
It’s common to see signs of:
-Twitching, facial tics, jerky movements
-Noticeable and sudden weight loss
-Rapid eye movement
-Burns, particularly on the lips or fingers
-Erratic sleeping patterns
-Outbursts or mood swings
-Extreme weight loss
Another telling symptom of meth use is “tweaking” – a period of anxiety and insomnia that can last for 3 to 15 days. Tweaking occurs at the end of a drug binge when a person using meth can’t achieve a rush or high any longer. Tweaking can cause psychological side effects, such as paranoia, irritability, and confusion due to the desperation to use again. Tweaking from meth can also cause people to experience hallucinations and become prone to violent behavior.
Another sign that someone is using meth is the crash phase. During this period, the body is deprived of the dopamine that meth was previously supplying and causes extreme exhaustion. A crash can last anywhere from 1 to 3 days and is characterized by long periods of sleep, intense drug cravings, and depression.