With help and determination, meth addiction can be overcome. However, meth detox poses unique obstacles that are best handled with professional help. Arguably, the hardest part of quitting meth is the detox process. This process begins just after you decide to discontinue using meth and the hardest part of this is generally within the first 48 hours. This does not mean however that meth abuse detox should be avoided. The emotional effects can be devastating and should be addressed immediately through an established meth detox program. During the detox (or withdrawal) process an addict will likely experience anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness and intense cravings. While these will continue throughout the recovery process, these first couple days are generally the hardest to get through.
The full detoxification process can often take between 4 to 6 weeks. However, some users report physical cravings for up to a year after quitting, often intensifying at three month intervals. According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the special needs of an addict during meth detox include:
While meth withdrawal symptoms can be very intense, they are generally psychological in nature. The addict going through meth withdrawal during detox will experience anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, and intense cravings for the drug. These withdrawal symptoms can be addressed through the use of various vitamin supplements, talk therapy, rest, and a healthy nutritional program. While the actual symptoms associated with meth detox and withdrawal subside within three days, the addict will still experience periods of emotional upheaval and cravings for the drug. Due to the intense cravings associated with meth detox and withdrawal, treatment should take place at an inpatient addiction treatment center.
Why can't I do a meth detox at home? It is not recommended that you attempt to detox off of any drug, including meth, at home alone. Without the supervision of medical professionals, you may find yourself without assistance should you run into unexpected health complications. Also, too many who try to run their own meth detox find that the emotional hold of the drug is too much to combat alone. They end up using the drug again even when they don't want to, just to stop the deep depression that ensues in order to feel normal again. When you undergo a meth detox at an accredited drug rehabilitation center, you significantly increase your chances of success due to the medical assistance on site and the emotional support and structure that is designed to keep you from relapsing.
The likelihood of relapse during meth detox increases with one's length and severity of use. Users must also deal with a strong psychological addiction which can be triggered by common sights, conversations, and thoughts. If not kept under control, these events can lead to quick relapse when accompanied by recurring physical cravings.
In the field of drug addiction recovery, meth users are often considered the hardest type of addicts to treat. Most do not suffer significant physical or psychological symptoms until they are firmly addicted. Then try to deny they have a problem for as long as they can because they do not want to give up something that makes them feel "so good."
Meth detox programs are designed to help meth users overcome their emotional addiction to this dangerous drug. Although meth abuse can have devastating effects on a person physically and emotionally, it is not physically addicting. This drug is a stimulant that relays messages of gratification to the brains pleasure center. With increased use, the brain begins to expect this feeling of pleasure and "needs" it to perform normal activities. Most people who use meth will need to attend a detox and treatment program. However, most users feel good while on this drug and continue to seek out that feeling as often as they can. In the end, only meth detox can eliminate this obsessive need.
At this time, the most effective treatment for meth addiction once the detox process has been completed is cognitive behavioral treatment. This approach of addiction treatment is designed to help modify the patient's thinking, expectancies, and behaviors, and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors.
Methamphetamine recovery support groups also appear to be effective adjuncts to behavioral drug rehab that can lead to long-term drug-free recovery. There are currently no particular pharmacological treatments for dependence on amphetamine or amphetamine-like drugs such as meth. The current pharmacological approach is borrowed from experience with treatment of cocaine dependence. Unfortunately, this approach has not met with much success since no single agent has proven effective in controlled clinical studies.
The nature of meth detox is different from quitting other hard drugs, such as heroin. Meth, also known as methamphetamine, may not be physically addictive, but detox is nevertheless a challenging process. Therefore, meth detox is safer and easier when done at a substance abuse treatment facility. Addicts who try to quit meth on their own will often fail because recovery is not as easy as just waking up one morning and saying "that's enough." Intense cravings can force meth users into searching for another fix, even when they've come to realize the drug is destroying their life.