When to seek medical attention for meth withdrawal
When you should seek emergency or medical help during meth withdrawal? Basically, serious symptoms of meth withdrawal include suicidal thoughts, severe depression, or even psychosis. A review of problematic symptoms and protocol for their treatment here. Then, we invite your questions about medical attention during meth withdrawal at the end.
Fierce meth withdrawal symptoms may require professional help
Because of the erratic and serious nature of meth withdrawal symptoms (including the distinct possibility of extreme depression), recovery from meth addiction usually requires professional help. Meth addiction, which can happen quickly and powerfully, is difficult to overcome alone. The chances of relapse are significantly higher for a meth addict who does not seek medical, psychological, emotional and spiritual help. So, what can happen during meth withdrawal to put you or a loved one in danger?
At first, in a stage professionals call the crash, feelings of hopelessness and panic arise, and the body needs the nutrition it has been lacking during a crystal binge. The principle need during this phase of meth withdrawal is to fulfill the need to sleep and eat. As withdrawal continues, a meth addict may continue to feel completely exhausted in every sense of the word, and suicidal thoughts may occur. It is these symptoms of dysphoria (the opposite of feeling high) that can provoke dangerous thoughts, behaviors, or actions.
In many cases, withdrawal symptoms may lessen within a week or two, but not always, even if you go cold turkey off meth. Sometimes even after a few weeks after an addict has given up the use of meth, withdrawal symptoms can continue to crop up. An untreated addict will tested to give in to meth cravings in order to feel better rather than endure a severe or lengthy withdrawal period. With professional help, however, people withdrawing from meth can learn to cope with symptoms and then begin to build a foundation for recovery.
Medical reasons for meth withdrawal symptoms
Excessive use of any drug or alcohol, particularly crystal methamphetamine, will affect the way the brain and body function. The brain chemistry actually changes, and vitamin deficiency occurs after repeated use of meth. A medical explanation for one of the strongest meth withdrawal symptoms: depression-is the sudden drop in dopamine levels, which results in the inability to feel pleasure. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which spikes with the use of crystal methamphetamine. When meth suddenly stops coming into the system, the pleasure factor also stops. The resulting dark mood, which is the extreme opposite of the sensations that have occurred under the influence of meth, can be a factor in relapse for meth users who try to recover without professional medical and therapeutic help.
Extended meth use also can damage serotonin neutrons. Serotonin levels can affect anger, mood, sexuality, sleep and appetite. Serious damage to serotonin neutrons has the potential to cause brain damage and limit cognitive functions. The effects of meth on dopamine and serotonin are still under study; however, the complexity of the issue is further evidence of the need for professional intervention in recovering from meth addiction.
Meth withdrawal symptoms might include psychotic breaks
In more severe cases, people recovering from meth addiction can experience a psychotic break. The psychotic symptoms include hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations range from auditory (one hears voices) or visual (one sees things that do not exist), to tactile (one feels as if bugs are crawling on the skin) sensations. Delusions are false beliefs, such as exaggerated sense of importance or fear of persecution.
Other psychotic symptoms may be paranoia or obsessions. With paranoia, a person becomes overly suspicious of others and believes that people are watching him. Obsessive or compulsive behavior might be something like repetitively washing one’s hands. These symptoms are particularly difficult, if not life-threatening, to handle without proper medical and psychological care.
The importance of medical help during meth withdrawal
For these reasons, it is extremely important that you seek medical supervision during meth withdrawal. You need not go through meth withdrawal alone. And it can actually be dangerous to quit meth on your own. Not only for yourself, but for those around you. Furthermore, you may benefit from short term prescription of antidepressant or anti-psychotic medications.
Where can you go for help? Doctors, psychologist, and psychiatrists can provide you with assessments for addiction AND can help refer you to specialist centers for withdrawal. Detox clinics trained in protocols for withdrawal can help ease the process with psychological and emotional support. IF you are looking for a continuum of care, you can look into short or long term residential rehab centers with detox clinics. This way, you can transition from detox directly into addiction treatment more easily.
Questions about emergency meth withdrawal
Do you still have questions about when to seek medical help for meth withdrawal? Please ask us in the section below. We do our best to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt reply.
Photo credit: Darko Stojanovic