American addiction centers have been fighting an uphill battle to retain patients for the treatment of meth addiction. Crystal meth and other methamphetamines are potent chemicals that were first synthesized as a treatment to a variety of disorders. Because of the addictive nature of methamphetamines, and the severe side-effects, these drugs are strictly regulated. According to drugpolicy.org they are mostly outlawed in the US except for a few prescriptions for targeted disorders, such as Adderall for ADHD and Narcolepsy.
Crystal meth can run a gambit of severe health consequences. One study in the Journal of Forensic Science found that meth addiction was linked to enlarged hearts, coronary heart disease, “subarachnoid and intracranial hemorrhage,” and abnormalities in the liver and lungs. In addition, the majority of deaths related in the study (65%) were directly related to meth toxicity (overdose). Studies also found a correlation between HIV and meth use, possibly through high-risk sexual activity under the effects of the drug. While meth can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as smoking or snorting it, injecting meth can also increase the risk of HIV and other blood pathogens.
Coming off a meth addiction can be stressful, dangerous, and exhausting. Studies of meth withdrawal have found that the first day can be the most severe, with the effects slowly coming down throughout the following weeks. In the first 24 hours, paranoia and exhaustion are common. Depressed mood and other negative feelings can follow shortly after, and throughout the first week strong cravings can appear. As the symptoms slow down, normal, healthy feelings should return. In this final phase, it’s important to start building healthy habits, such as exercise, proper sleep schedules, and diet to further solidify on your returning health and build a foundation for a long-term recovery.
Medical detoxification is used to mitigate the intense withdrawal symptoms often associated with meth, cocaine, and other addictions. In this treatment, a substitute, such as methadone, is given to simulate these drugs and therefore reduce cravings and withdrawal. Patients are then slowly taken off the substitutes as their cravings are reduced.
Methadone is a much safer alternative to going cold-turkey from a serious chemical dependency, where withdrawal symptoms can be severe. However, the process still has its risks and needs to be professionally overseen, with proper dosages at different intervals of treatment and health personnel standing by.
In the case of pregnant women and mothers, children are often born with the chemical dependencies of their parents. In these cases, the mothers and their babies are often separated at birth and treated separately for a short while, as the babies will experience meth withdrawal. The symptoms of these meth addictions can include fever, crying, difficulty breathing, eating and more, and can last for the most part of a week where they will have to be monitored carefully in an infant ICU.
Because of the intense withdrawal symptoms, risk of comorbid diseases, such as heart disease and hemorrhage, and risk in withdrawal methods, it’s extremely recommended to seek professional help with any meth addiction and detoxification. Programs like Experience Recovery offer safe, healthy, and comforting solutions to families and individuals suffering with meth addiction.
If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.