Methamphetamine (often called simply “meth”) addiction is considered one of the most dangerous substance addictions. Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that 1.6 million Americans reported using meth in the last year. Statistics suggest the average age of first meth use is in one’s early 20s (ages 21 to 25), data from the NSDUH survey shows American youth as young as age 12 meet the diagnostic criteria for a meth use disorder. The same NSDUH survey indicates out of the 64,000 overdose-related deaths in 2016, nearly 8,000 were linked to methamphetamine use.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, or “meth,” is a highly addictive, powerful stimulant drug. With ongoing use, meth will have lasting effects on your central nervous system (CNS). Your CNS performs many of the most vital functions in your body. Comprised of your brain, spinal cord, and associated nerves, your CNS is responsible for all communication throughout the body, including sending vital messages to your lungs to maintain healthy breathing. 

Like its “parent drug” amphetamine, methamphetamine has several effects on all body systems, including increased activity, excitability, decreased appetite, and a feeling of euphoria or joy. However, illegally produced methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that much larger doses of the drug enter the brain, making it significantly more potent at equivalent doses.

Methamphetamine is also longer lasting and leads to substantially more harmful effects on the central nervous system, making it a drug with a high potential for misuse and addiction. Without comprehensive addiction treatment, a methamphetamine addiction can lead to life-long, irreversible impacts on vital body systems.

Does Meth Cause Withdrawal?

When you use meth repeatedly, physical dependence on the effects of the drug develops. In time, your body believes it needs meth to function. As a result, when you try to stop or reduce how much you use meth, you will experience methamphetamine withdrawal. Some symptoms of meth withdrawal appear quickly, usually within 24 hours after your last use. These are called acute withdrawal symptoms, and they typically begin to fade within seven to fourteen days.

In some instances, it is possible to experience extended or protracted withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal occurs when withdrawal symptoms last for two to three weeks beyond the acute withdrawal phase. Protracted withdrawal symptoms are typically milder than those experienced during acute withdrawal; however, they can be equally unpleasant.

Because meth withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and challenging to manage, overcoming an addiction to methamphetamine can lead to dangerous complications when attempted “cold turkey” or without the help of a professional methamphetamine addiction treatment center. It is essential to begin your journey to sobriety with detox in a safe and supported treatment environment, like Grand Falls Recovery Center.

What are the Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal?

Although withdrawing from most stimulant drugs does not (typically) involve physically life-threatening symptoms, the symptoms that accompany withdrawal can be unpleasant and, in some cases, produce seizures. Methamphetamine withdrawal also increases the risk of overdose in the event of a relapse. As noted above, meth withdrawal occurs in two stages, acute and protracted withdrawal. Each type of withdrawal has common symptoms.

During acute meth withdrawal, many people experience anxiety, reduced energy, chills, problems with regular sleep, fatigue, weight changes, mood changes, dehydration, thinking and memory challenges, and cravings. Cravings, mood changes, and difficulties with sleep also occur during protracted withdrawal. However, this withdrawal stage is also accompanied by other, sometimes more severe, and intense symptoms, including depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, and seizures.

Are There Meth Detox Programs in Missouri?

Although not as potentially life-threatening as the journey to overcoming other addictions, quitting methamphetamines is not without challenges. Most people who stop or reduce the amount of meth they use will experience withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be painful and difficult to manage without support and guidance from a professional detox program. If you, or a loved one, are ready to put struggles with methamphetamine addiction in the past and are looking for help to successfully and safely get sober, reach out to a member of our admissions team at our meth detox program in Missouri. Let us help you take the first steps on a journey towards a life of health, wellness, and freedom from methamphetamine.

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