Meth is a common recreational drug. It is a stimulant, so you will feel more alert and awake when you take it. Meth also promotes higher physical activity, so you will end up feeling hyperactive.
The high you get from meth comes on quickly, but it goes away after just a short time. For this reason, many meth users take high doses of the drug or lots of doses in a short period to maximize the high.
The potent effects of meth make it highly addictive. If you happen to be addicted to this drug, you will need to go through meth detox. Read on to find out what you can expect from the procedure.
What is meth detox?
An addiction to meth warrants treatment. Formal rehab programs usually include meth detox as the first step in recovery. During detox, you will be assisted by medical professionals to rid your body of all traces of meth.
Detoxing from this drug will often lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These occur because your brain is thrown off balance as the drug disappears from your system. Once you have an addiction to meth, your brain becomes so used to the drug’s effects that even reducing your dose will give your brain a sort of “shock.” In other words, your brain will have trouble adjusting to the absence of the usual stimulation it got from meth.
The withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Muscle spasms and/or pain
- Appetite changes
- Strong cravings
- Psychotic behaviors
During detox, your doctor may prescribe a number of medications to help you manage any discomfort related to meth withdrawal. These may include:
- Pain relievers
- Sleeping pills
- Intravenous fluids
You will only need to take medicines when prescribed. This is usually when the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms becomes too much for you. Medications are also necessary if you experience potentially deadly conditions while detoxing.
Length of detox
Meth detox can last for 20 to 25 hours. In some cases, it can go on for up to 50 hours. During this time, it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms. Those are good signs that the body is readjusting so you can tolerate taking no meth at all.
Detox is often performed either in a hospital or a rehab center. Medical staff are always close by to supervise you. They provide 24/7 care and monitoring, so in case you experience intense discomfort or any emergencies arise, you will receive medical treatment right away.
Is meth detox painful?
Besides muscle pains and body aches, the detox process is not quite physically painful. But it does get uncomfortable, especially mentally, as your brain struggles to adjust to the waning stimulation that it used to get from meth.
The discomfort is temporary, though. Your body will accustom itself to function without meth as more of the drug leaves your system.
By the end of detox, physical symptoms such as body pain, increased appetite, and dehydration will go away. But the psychological symptoms may persist for a longer time.
What happens after detox?
Detox is only the first step of a comprehensive meth addiction recovery program. After you have completed detox, you will go through a set of behavioral therapies, which can last a few months.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), behavioral therapies are among the best treatments for meth addiction. These therapies ensure complete recovery from the psychological effects of the drug.
Here are a few of those therapies that are often used and have found much success.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
The goal of CBT is to uncover the root causes of meth use. Your therapist will help you explore the thoughts and beliefs that led you to the addiction. Then, your therapist will teach you how to change those thoughts and beliefs into healthy, realistic, and positive ones. With that, your behaviors will change. Eventually, you will no longer feel the need to take meth and can avoid it on your own.
Contingency management (CM)
CM uses a proven psychological technique known as operant conditioning. Here, you are given certain incentives for avoiding meth use, which encourages good behavior.
If you pass routine drug tests, you get rewards such as vouchers. The more consecutive drug tests turn out negative, the greater your rewards will be. However, if you fail a drug test, you get no incentives and go back to the lowest tier of rewards.
Your therapist will help educate members of your family on how best to help you in your recovery journey. In many cases, properly equipped family members are the best people to help you regain a sober lifestyle.
This is also known as “talk therapy.” As the name suggests, you will talk to a therapist about your drug problem as well as the concerns you have in life that led to meth use.
Talking about your problems can be therapeutic in itself. It allows you to release pent-up emotions, and afterwards you will feel better.
Your therapist will also help you pinpoint specific issues that cause emotional distress, which in turn led to drug use. Then, you and your therapist will devise healthy coping strategies to make you feel better without relying on drugs.
How long do behavioral therapies last?
Behavioral therapies can last a number of months, and it depends on how severe your meth addiction is. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment duration. The length of therapies can also be adjusted along the way depending on your response to them.
Generally, if you are in an inpatient meth rehab program, you will stay in a rehab facility for up to three months. There, you will get intensive treatment, which allows you to focus on building new habits that promote sobriety.
If you are in an outpatient program, it may also last up to three months or longer. Outpatient rehab does not give you an isolated environment, so you may need more time in therapy to recover fully.