Amphetamines, including methamphetamine, or meth, are synthetic stimulants used because the body’s own energy chemicals (neurotransmitters) are released, the brain’s reward and reinforcement center is stimulated, and the effects last longer than those of other stimulants like cocaine, and at a lower price.
“I started shooting speed and I couldn’t keep getting $20 from my mom, you know. I had to either start selling it or start stealing stuff ‘cause I had a big habit. So I was stealing cars and I was jacking stereos and I would rip anybody off who gave me money just to get myself high. Incidentally, stealing the car was also a high.”
– 17-year-old recovering IV Meth user
Whether you snort, inject, orally ingest, or smoke meth, the drug is causing long-term and even permanent damage to your body and brain.
Your body’s creation of vital neurotransmitters is stunted; your brain chemistry is changed in a way that increases your physical craving for meth; serotonin fibers degenerate; and five different regions of the brain are subdued from meth use which inhibit the ability to make decisions.
It is time for meth detox and treatment.
Has prolonged meth addiction caused you to experience irritability, impaired memory, mental confusion, paranoia, anxiety, poor judgment, aggression, or hallucinations?
Your neurotransmitters are unbalanced, meaning you no longer naturally feel pleasure, pain, and other sensations properly.
Meth detox rids your system of the toxins whose buildup can lead to amphetamine psychosis. Psychosis causes the user to lose touch with reality completely, to experience hallucinations, and to develop schizophrenia or paranoid psychoses.
In a methamphetamine treatment program, the withdrawal symptoms are relieved with medication, when necessary.
Stabilization and treatment for malnourishment are important in the initial stage of detoxification.
Medications to lessen cravings, if applicable, are administered along with nutritional supplements, anti-depressants, and methadone when determined necessary by the meth detox team.
Initial assessment for the appropriateness of detoxification will determine the severity of your addiction. The type of meth treatment that’s right for each addict along with the setting best suited for that type of detox will be recommended.
Meth detox can be facilitated in the following ways:
- Office-based Opiate Addiction Treatment, or O-BOAT
- Meth detox is implemented in a qualified private medical practitioner’s office
- FDA approved the Drug Addiction Act of 2000
- legalized certain controlled substances that aid detoxification physicians can prescribe to opiate addicts
- Does not include on-site counseling, education, social interaction with other addicts, or other treatment services
- Social Model Detoxification
- Provided in a residential or outpatient capacity
- Programs are short-term, 7 to 28 days
- Facilities provide a safe and sober environment
- Non-medical, so no or little medical staff onsite
- Body and brain chemistry rebalancing
- Goal is to prepare you enter a full recovery program
- Checking into a medical hospital’s detoxification unit
- “White knuckling”
- An individual stops using meth on his or her own
- Suffer through withdrawal symptoms without medical monitoring
Withdrawal from methamphetamines can cause potentially fatal effects. Without medical supervision and the administration of proper medications to aid the process, you are putting your health in further jeopardy.
Once the substance is working its way out of your system and is not being used anymore, your body will fully metabolize the drug remnants and your brain chemistry will begin to normalize the disrupted neurotransmitter imbalance. Meth will be fully excreted in about a week, and within the next several months, the body can settle down and adjust its chemistry, back to the way it functioned before any meth use.
Your thinking processes will return, and you will have the ability to engage in and determine your own recovery.
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Jared Friedman is Quality Improvemnt Manager at Sovereign Health a leading methamphetamine treatment center offering meth detox and drug rehabilitation services.