Meth withdrawal runs through several stages. Hours after using meth, the user undergoes a “crash,” which begins with a rapid drop in mood, fatigue, and intense craving for meth.
This craving sometimes subsides within a few hours, and often followed by increased fatigue and need for sleep.
At this point, people who are not in treatment often use alcohol, anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives, opiates, or marijuana—just to get some sleep.
In treatment, these symptoms can be managed with electro-chemically balanced nutrition, certain natural supplements, exercise, and the occasional use of nonaddicting, mildly sedating medications, such as sedating mood-stabilizing antidepressants.
After the Crash
Once the methamphetamine user gets past the acute fatigue and need for sleep, most of the “crash” symptoms disappear.
The short- and long-term effects of meth usually depend on whether the drug was snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed (i.e., snorting damages nasal passages, smoking affects the lungs, etc).
Meth or methamphetamine, because of the severity and intensity of its abuse, often causes extreme side effects. It has been estimated that about 25% of female meth users and 10% percent of male users had experienced side effects severe enough to require a trip to a hospital’s emergency room. The reasons given for these hospital visits include “my heart stopped,” “I thought I was going to die,” and “I’m having a heart attack.”
A pronounced mental problem in meth withdrawal process is anhedonia—an inability to feel pleasure or enjoyment.
Methamphetamine experts say that the most common complaint of chronic meth users is boredom, because they don’t know the word anhedonia.
Think the opposite of a pleasure seeking heathen. The state can be described as an empty subjective existence, and during anhedonia the user may feel the pull toward meth-induced euphoria most strongly.
This is a major danger period during which many meth users return to the old cycle: high-crash-anhedonia-craving-use-high, and so on.
But during treatment, with abstinence and with medical and psychological support, the anhedonia disappears—usually within two to ten weeks.
Quality treatment programs also have the great advantage of protecting the meth user against “cues” or reminders of past euphoria that make return to meth tempting during the period of boredom.
Even after the worst is over, there can be moments of intense meth craving.
Meth users seem to have remarkably poor memories of the bad effects of their habit—physical, emotional, and social—and remarkably strong memories of the “highs.” The bad memories, which make returning to meth less appealing, do seem to return after the craving period is over. Part of the treatment is helping you learn to survive the craving and reinforce the reasons you needed to quit.
Compared to cravings for other chemicals, craving for meth seems more strongly linked to such influences as your mood, scenes, particular people or events, times of the year, problems with other people, or various objects associated with meth use.
For the majority of users, these craving associations are not glamorous: driving past an old nightspot, bumping into the neighborhood dealer, even watching an actor use meth in a movie can trigger craving. For this reason, therapy for meth dependence deals with techniques to reduce the power of these triggering factors.
Our staff is highly trained in the recovery-sensitive cognitive behavioral, and associated therapies necessary to getting you on a sustained road to recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.