Reaching Recovery: Demystifying Medically Supervised Meth Detox

One of the worst things about quitting meth is quitting meth.

While long-term life without meth is a terrifying proposition to some, for many, life beyond drugs seems like a promised land, a place of infinite possibility, hope, and salvation. The problem is that in order to get there, you actually have to stop taking meth and spend time in that liminal space of detoxification, that looming in-between place where recovery is born. And that can be terrifying, too.

Withdrawing from long-term meth use isn’t fun. If meth is the only drug you have been using, the detox process is unlikely to present serious or life-threatening physical health risks like those that can arise during alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal. However, meth detox is still an intense physical and emotional experience that can cause significant discomfort, functional impairment, and, most significantly, make you feel like you need to use again, not to get high, but just to have some semblance of normality. Because the stress of withdrawal is a significant factor in the high rate of relapse amongst meth addicts, medically supervised detox within a compassionate, safe environment can optimize your chances of successful recovery by providing clinically effective relief from withdrawal symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Most people who detox from meth want to sleep. And sleep. And sleep. This stage of the detox process makes normal social and occupational function difficult, if not impossible. As such, setting aside the time and space to detox free from the obligations of everyday life allows you go through this necessary process of somatic and emotional rejuvenation without competing external responsibilities. Although meth detox is typically not as physically traumatic as withdrawal from certain other types of drugs, there may still be uncomfortable and distressing physical effects upon discontinuation. The most common of these is voracious hunger, as detoxification reactivates your desire for food as your body seeks the nourishment it needs to replenish itself. Going through detox in a residential setting with professionally prepared meals ensures that your nutritional needs are met, to support restoration of physical health as your body begins to repair itself. Some people also experience muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and sleep disturbances, which can be addressed via clinically supervised use of non-addictive medications.

Profound Feelings of Depression

Part of the allure of meth is the explosion of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine it produces in your brain that is responsible for the feelings of elation, well-being, and happiness that meth is known for. In response, your brain’s natural chemical balance is disrupted and unable to compensate for the abrupt drop in neurotransmitter activity following meth discontinuation, leaving you in an extreme state of depression. In some cases, depressive symptoms can be severe enough to induce suicidal thoughts, and you may be particularly vulnerable to self-harm and relapse during this emotionally challenging phase.[1. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/1015/p1169.html] For long-term users, the damage to these vital and delicate brain functions may be extensive and strip you of the ability to experience normal levels of pleasure and happiness for a significant period of time. Medically supervised detox allows clinicians to address acute symptoms of depression through psychotropic medication and psychotherapy interventions that promote restoration of healthy neurotransmitter function and give you the tools to cope with feelings of despair, emptiness, and hopelessness throughout your recovery process.

Emotional, Cognitive, and Behavioral Disturbances

As your brain chemistry struggles to reach a state of equilibrium, you may experience a range of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral disturbances in addition to depression. Irritability, anxiety, paranoia and aggression are common, particularly in the early stage of the withdrawal process, and can be alleviated through the support of professional detox specialists who understand the complex neurochemical upheaval you are undergoing. For some, especially long-term users, psychosis can occur during meth detox, resulting in auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations or delusions which may be compounded by sleep disturbances. While these symptoms can be profoundly disorienting and frightening, in most cases psychosis resolves within a week of meth discontinuation.[2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071736/] Thoughtful and compassionately administered clinical interventions, including the use of antipsychotic drugs, can ease symptoms during this time, ensure safety, and reduce the traumatic effects of psychosis.

Meth Detox At Alta Mira

Alta Mira’s renowned addiction treatment program offers sophisticated medically supervised detox services to make the detoxification process as comfortable and positive as possible. Our expert Detox Specialists use their advanced knowledge of the withdrawal process to select the best methods available to address emotional and physical discomfort and provide continuous monitoring to ensure your safety. Within the private, serene surroundings of our beautiful San Francisco Bay estate you can experience the benefits of medically alleviated withdrawal symptoms in concert with human elements of compassion, caring, and kindness as you begin your journey towards sobriety. Here, you can receive the support your need to carry you through the first stages of healing and transformation of mind, body, and spirit. Once you are ready, you will be ideally positioned to join in the vibrant Alta Mira recovery community, to take the next steps to lasting recovery and finding true freedom from meth addiction.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive addiction treatment for people struggling with meth addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us for more information about how we can help you or your loved one on the journey toward recovery.

 

Image Source: Unsplash user Ales Krivec

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