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Crystal Meth Detox

Crystal meth detox should be medically supervised. We review common treatments used during crystal meth detox. Plus,

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Medical Detoxification: The Essential Step To Quitting

To get off of meth, you must first rid the body from all traces of the drug. Whether this is your first time in detox –  or if you’ve been through it before – the symptoms of withdrawal should be supervised and managed by a professional. In fact, the medical supervision of detoxification can help address severe symptoms of withdrawal, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts

Medical detox is an initial phase of recovery that people often underestimate. Instead, some people try to quit crystal meth use by themselves thinking that this is something they can tackle alone. Often, they come face-to-face with terrifying withdrawal consequences which keep pushing them deeper into addiction. Unable to succeed on their own, meth users may continue to take crystal meth…even if it’s to avoid the extremely uncomfortable withdrawal consequences.

So what is the safest way to quit crystal meth? What can you expect from a medically guided detox? We review these questions here. Then, we reveal how you can successfully detox from crystal meth and prevent or avoid severe consequences. At the end, we welcome your questions and comments on crystal meth detox. We try to respond to all real-life questions with a personal response!

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Symptoms Of Crystal Meth Detox

People who abuse crystal meth are likely to experience a variety of intense and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they quit the drug. Often, these symptoms will manifest when you’re ready for your next dose. Typically, withdrawal from meth lasts from 1 to 2 weeks, up to a month or more (in some extreme cases). Usually, symptoms peak in intensity around Day 3 and Day 7, and will vary in intensity of the course of the first month of acute withdrawal. The ups and downs can be exhausting. Just when you think you’re getting better, you’ll be hit with another withdrawal symptom.

The most common withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth include:

  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Depression
  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Intense cravings
  • Nightmares and troubled sleeping
  • Psychosis
  • Slowed cognition and movement
  • Suicidal ideation or behavior
  • Unintentional and repetitive movements

Crystal Meth Detox Structure: The Three Essential Components

A medically guided detox is performed by trained professionals who follow the standard three-step protocol of:

STEP 1: Evaluation, during which doctors have to determine the levels of crystal meth in the bloodstream by testing. Main goals of evaluation include measuring the concentration of crystal meth in the blood and screening for other, co-occurring mental health disorders. This is because meth users can be diagnosed with some form of underlying depression, anxiety, or mood disorder. During evaluation, patients work with an addiction specialist to  determine the course of treatment. They develop treatment goals together.  The evaluation serves as the basis for the addiction treatment plan once people finish detox successfully.

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STEP 2: Stabilization includes the medical and psychosocial processes of assisting people through withdrawal in order to achieve a medically stable and drug-free state. This is usually done with the assistance of medications such as anti-psychotic or antidepressant medicines. Stabilization includes introducing patients to the next steps in recovery, which will often include rehab. During this phase, doctors recommend an active involvement of the family members to support the person to proceed to further addiction treatment.

STEP 3: Fostering a person’s entry into treatment involves preparing people for entry into addiction treatment by talking about the deeper issues behind drug use. Meth is an extremely addictive drug. And most people who develop physical dependence on crystal meth also become mentally, or psychologically, dependent on it, as well. Doctors, nurses, and support staff will discuss with you the importance of working on what drives you to use meth. They will support you medically and emotionally throughout the detox process.

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What Treatments are Used in Crystal Meth Detox?

Different treatments are available during meth detox. Comprehensive assessment is essential for determining the most appropriate and potentially effective treatment intervention for the user. Plus, assessment is an evolving process that identifies problems as they emerge. So, you can expect a number of “check-ins”, talks, and interviews during a typical medical detox.

Here’s a description of some common modalities used to treat meth problems:

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Examination and testing – Before a person proceeds to the actual process of detoxification medical staff at the facility run some blood tests, and check a person’s overall physical, mental and emotional state. It is important that the one who’s entering detox has made the decision to go throughout this process fully aware of and accepting the terms and procedures. The process of evaluation is some sort of a preparation before a person undergoes the actual detox.

Pharmacotherapy – To this date, there is no standard pharmacotherapy treatment for the management of crystal meth withdrawal or dependence. Medications such as antidepressants, dopamine agonists, and antagonists are being tested and used in some clinics. In other cases, doctors prescribe medications for meth detox, which include:

  1. Anxiolytics and Sedative Hypnotics-(Valium) for short-term anxiety relief
  2. Antipsychotics-(haloperidol/phenothiazine) for short-term management of symptoms of psychosis
  3. Antidepressants-(SSRIs) to ease the symptoms of depression
  4. OTC Pain Medications-(acetaminophen) to relieve aches and bodily pains

Psychological interventions – Evidence indicates that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), along with relapse prevention is the most effective treatment for crystal meth problems. The approach to working with regular methamphetamine users includes a combination of interventions, such as motivational interviewing techniques in conjunction with cognitive behavioral interventions. CBT interventions have been found to be most likely to guard against relapse and are considered best practice for crystal meth users. A stepped care approach to the provision of CBT interventions, moving from the least to the most intensive, has been shown to be effective in better matching treatment to the client’s needs and readiness to change.

Alternative treatment – There is little scientific evidence to suggest that the use of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or herbal medicines, are of benefit to the management of crystal meth addiction and withdrawal. Scientists say there is certainly a need for further research in this area to establish heather alternative therapies are beneficial, as some detox clinics have incorporated them as complementary to the tradition methods to help reduce symptoms of withdrawal.

NOTE HERE: Detoxification, in and of itself, does not signify an end to treatment of drug problems. Quite the opposite, detox it is the first and most important step on a person’s journey to sobriety. To quit crystal meth for good, detox is essential. But long-term sobriety requires that you work on all the other aspects that drive the drug use. Only by resolving inner issues can you grow out of the habitual pattern.

Crystal Meth Detox Methods: Which One Is Safest?

Absolutely anyone can quit crystal methamphetamine and take control over his/her life. With the right motivation, care, and support  you can find the type of treatment that fits your needs and expectations. Treatment typically consists of detoxification and therapy/counseling. There’s also the option of detoxing at home. But, what’s better for you? What can you expect?

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1. Medically guided crystal meth detox – Detox clinics can monitor a person’s state, especially if a crystal meth user is also dependent on alcohol or other drugs. The medical team at professional treatment center will provide a supportive environment and treat co-occurring medical health problems.

At a good detox clinic, you can expect the medical staff to:

  • Observe clinical signs of toxicity.
  • Monitor vital signs.
  • Provide calm and tranquility to the patient.
  • Sedate the patient if necessary (but never to the point of unconsciousness).
  • Make regular check-ups and promote hydration.

If someone is a heavy crystal meth addict, conditions such as strong psychotic symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and extreme withdrawal symptoms require full medical assistance. Residential treatment options are a good idea, especially for users with a history of severe depression and severe psychosis, or users who previously have tried and failed to detox on their own.

2. Crystal meth detox at home (with doctor supervision) – This option can be tough and unpleasant. It is often NOT RECOMMENDED. Getting support and assistance during the withdrawal phase increases the odds of success. You can talk to your doctor or a local crystal meth addiction treatment provider to get an assessment of the level of dependence you’re experiencing and to make a plan for the detox period, prior to attempting the withdrawal. That way, if you decide to detox at home, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and know when to call for help, if needed.

NOTE HERE: Crystal meth abusers need residential or even hospital care to stay safe and abstinent.

Crystal Methamphetamine Detoxification Questions

Still have questions you didn’t find an answer to? We invite your inquiries and comments in the section below. The Addiction Blog team works hard to respond promptly and personally to you.

Reference Sources: North Dakota: Methamphetamine intoxication, detoxification, withdrawal and treatment
NCBI: Withdrawal symptoms in abstinent methamphetamine-dependent subjects
SAMHSA: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs: Methamphetamine Treatment
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: Treatment of methamphetamine use disorders: an update
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  1. My son is addicted to meth now I’m thinking about 3 maybe four years. Tomorrow he will be in jail for 2weeks just wondering how to help an about detox problem he is going thru right now.

    1. Hi Tracy. Although it is possible to withdraw from meth at home, most medical professionals recommend it to be done in a medical facility as an easier and safer option. It is even more recommended for long-time users like your son. Here you can find more info on treatment:
      Aslo, you can call the helpline on the website to speak with a trusted consultant who can help you find the best detox program for your son.

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