Meth Addiction, Detox and Rehab: Quitting the Most Dangerous Drug on Earth

If you’re battling a meth addiction, it may feel as though there’s no way out. You may think that you’ll be stuck using the drug for the rest of your life. That’s the way drug dependence works, but we want you to know that it isn’t true. With the right treatment, you can recover, and it begins by going through detox and rehab.

It’s an awful feeling when it seems as though a drug is controlling your life. It’s possible that you’re not even sure what the dangers of meth really are. We’d like to provide you with that information.

Once you know the risks involved with using methamphetamine, it’s important to know where you can get help. We’d like to provide you with that information as well.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant drug. It usually appears as a white powder that tastes very bitter. However, in some cases it may come in pill form. On the street, it’s more often in the form of crystal meth. It looks like shards of glass or shiny rocks that have a blueish-white tint to them.

Chemically, methamphetamine is very similar to amphetamine, which is used to treat ADHD and other conditions.

There are a number of different ways people may use meth to get high. One of the most common ways is by smoking it. If the drug comes in a pill form, they may simply swallow the pill. It’s also possible to snort the powder or crush the crystals and snort them.

People who use this drug will find that they form a tolerance to it very quickly. This means that they continually need to increase their dosage to get the same effects of being high. When this happens, they’ll usually graduate to dissolving the powder in water or alcohol and inject it.

No matter how people use it, this is one of the most dangerous drugs on the face of the earth. It can quickly lead to an addiction, and it produces some terrifying side effects.

There are a lot of different street names people use when referring to meth. They include:

  • Beannies
  • Crystal
  • Glass
  • Ice
  • Tweak
  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Brown
  • Cinnamon
  • Chicken Feed
  • Yellow Powder
  • Blade
  • Quartz
  • Shards

The history of Methamphetamine is really quite interesting. It was first discovered in the year 1893. A form of meth, called dextromethamphetamine hydrochloride, has been approved by the FDA for treating ADHD and obesity. It’s actually approved for use in both children and in adults. Sold under the trade name, Desoxyn, this medication is very rarely prescribed. It remains a Schedule II drug in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act.

During World War II, the drug was sold in the form of a tablet under the name Pervitin. It was used by the Third Reich because it enhanced their performance during battle. It also allowed them to stay awake for longer periods of time. The military cut back on its use in 1940 because of the side effects the soldiers were suffering from.

Meth was also prescribed in the form of a pill named Obetrol in the 1950s. This drug was used to treat obesity, and it quickly became one of the most popular diet pills on the market. Eventually, the United States began to get stricter about its production and distribution.

Common Side Effects

As you may know, all drugs have side effects, although some are more serious than others. People who use meth often suffer because of its effects. However, the drug is so powerful that they’re not able to stop using it.

This is a highly potent drug that will have a formidable impact on both your mind and body. If you’re using it regularly, it’s very important to know what you can expect.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, and even in small doses, it can have quite an impact on the body. Also, you don’t need to take it for a very long period of time to suffer from many of its side effects.

If you’re using it regularly, you’re likely to experience some or even all of the following:

  • A rapid heart rate
  • An irregular heart beat
  • An increase in your blood pressure
  • An elevated body temperature
  • The onset of convulsions or seizures
  • An increase in your breathing rate
  • A decrease in your appetite, which can lead to weight loss
  • Severe dental problems

It’s important to know what happens to your brain once you start using meth. It travels through your bloodstream into your brain’s reward center. Once it’s there, it triggers the release of more dopamine into the body. Dopamine is the chemical that causes you to experience pleasure. In fact, even just one hit of meth can trigger the release of 1,200 units of dopamine. This is a rush that is about six times what the body is capable of doing on its own.

You can get more information about how the brain responds to meth here:

The initial rush when you use is over in a few minutes. However, the drug keeps acting in the brain, giving you a high that can last as long as 12 hours.

Meth acts on the central nervous system. You can begin experiencing serious brain effects after only using it just one time. Users partake of the drug purely for the rush of euphoria. They’re usually not aware of what the short and long-term effects of it will be. The effects of it on the brain can include:

  • Addiction and drug dependence
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in the brain’s function and structure
  • Problems in thinking
  • Difficulty with motor skills
  • Loss of memory
  • Aggressive and even violent behavior
  • Problems with mood

People who use meth will often get the sensation that there are bugs crawling under their skin. This will lead them to pick at their faces, arms and legs. The following video gives a sad depiction of this phenomenon in several addicts. It will allow you to see some before and after pictures of methamphetamine addiction.

What’s the Difference Between Abuse and Addiction?

There is a difference between abuse and addiction, although they’re often used to mean the same thing. For someone who is abusing meth, any use of it at all is considered to be abuse. There may be some people who are able to use it one time and never touch it again. However, those individuals are usually few and far between.

Once you have formed an addiction to meth, you feel as though you have to use it frequently. You may feel the need to use every single day, without fail. It becomes something that you’re obsessed with, and you can’t think about anything else. It’s not difficult at all to become addicted.

Some experts argue that it is possible to form an addiction to meth after just one use of it. Others indicate that one of the key defining factors in drug dependence is frequency. One thing is for sure – the type of drug being consumed is a major indicator about how long it takes to get addicted.

Any drug that results in a rapid rise and fall of chemicals in the brain is much more likely to lead to addiction. Also, if you’re smoking a drug, that makes it much more potent because it can get to the brain faster.

The first time a person uses methamphetamine, they’re likely to enjoy the euphoric rush they experience. That alone could lead them to try it again and again. Even if they don’t get addicted the first time, it will probably happen very quickly afterwards.

It’s common for people to live in denial regarding their addictions. They tend to believe that no drug controls them; they control the drug. As noble as that sounds, it’s very possible to be addicted to a substance and not realize it.

In your situation, it’s important for you to find out if you’re an addict. You may want to begin by looking at some of the more common signs of meth addiction. They include:

  • Your blood pressure changes rapidly.
  • You constantly have a headache.
  • You struggle with dry mouth.
  • You’re hyperactive and restless.
  • You may have developed anorexia.
  • You tend to feel numb emotionally and physically.
  • You engage in obsessive behaviors.
  • Your pupils are dilated.
  • Your face is flushed.

If you’re still not sure, try taking a meth addiction quiz. This can give you some helpful information. It can also tell you whether or not you need to consider getting treatment.

You may also find it helpful to talk with a professional about your use of this drug. Many treatment centers offer free phone assessments strictly for this reason.

Methamphetamine Abuse Statistics in the U.S.

Many people believe that this is a drug problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Meth is still a widely used drug, and its use is growing in many parts of the United States.

Meth Detox Information
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2012:
  • There were about 1.2 million people who reported using it in the last year.
  • That works out to be about 0.4% of the population.
  • 440,000 people said that they had used it within the last month.
  • That’s about 0.2% of the population.
  • That year, there were 133,000 people who had tried it for the first time.
  • The average age of people who were new users was 19.7 years old.
  • However, there are individuals as young as 12 who use it.
  • That includes about 1% of eighth, tenth and twelfth graders who had all tried it during the last year.
  • In 2011, the drug accounted for about 103,000 emergency room visits.
  • It was the fourth most commonly mentioned illicit drug during ER visits.
  • Only about 5.6% of people who were addicted received treatment during 2011.
  • The drug ranked first in drug related treatment admissions in many cities during 2012.

Clearly, meth is a major problem. Most users probably don’t realize how dangerous it is, or they believe that they’re immune to its effects. It’s common for people to believe, that could never happen to me. The fact is that no one is immune, and if you’re using this drug, you’re putting your life at risk.

How Hard is it to Recover From a Meth Addiction?

It is extremely hard to recover from this addiction if you’re attempting it on your own. However, people will often have a desire to avoid any type of professional help and try quitting alone first. When they do, they usually quickly realize that it’s just not possible.

Meth has a physical and psychological hold on you. Your brain believes that you need it in order to survive. Your body will react when you stop taking it, making you feel sick. Both your brain and your body are likely to pull you back in, which could lead to a fatal overdose if you relapse.

When you stop using meth, you’re going to encounter withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. However, it’s very common for people to experience them at all levels of severity. They’ll usually begin by being very mild, and then get worse as time goes on.

Some of the meth withdrawal symptoms you might experience include:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleepiness and fatigue
  • Cravings for meth
  • An increase in your appetite, and a craving for carbs
  • Depression
  • Symptoms of psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Withdrawal is your body’s way of reacting once you stop taking this drug. Over time, it’s gotten used to it and it adjusted. It will need to adjust again once you stop it, and that can take a while to happen.

It can take quite some time to get through methamphetamine withdrawal. It’s even worse when you attempt to quit using it on your own without professional help.

Symptoms will usually start within a few hours of your last dose of the drug. At first, they should be mild, but then they will increase in severity. You’re likely to experience depression, paranoia and exhaustion for the first three days. Some people even experience suicidal thoughts because their depression becomes so severe.

By the fourth day, you should begin to feel better. Some of your symptoms may go away, while others might appear. You could start to have aches and pains throughout your body. You may become irritable, and you’ll still have significant cravings.

By the second week, you should be improving even more. You may still feel depressed and have a difficult time sleeping at night. Cravings may persist, but they should be less severe.

Weeks three and four should welcome you with an increase in your energy levels. Your appetite may be improving and your mood may be stabilizing. Of course, there is always the risk of rebound withdrawal symptoms. These can occur for months or even years after you quit, and they can be severe.

While you’ll physically recover from your addiction to meth, you’re likely to experience triggers for a long time. This is a great video that explains how they work:

Virtually anything can serve as a trigger for you. When you use drugs, your brain automatically associates so many things with your drug use. Some examples of this include:

  • Visiting the areas where you used to purchase drugs or use them.
  • Getting into an argument with someone you love.
  • Sitting on the furniture where you used to use.
  • Seeing objects that remind you of using. For instance, if you used to spread the powder out on a coffee table or book.
  • Spending time with the people you used to use with.

It’s important to stop the process that occurs once you’re triggered. After a trigger, you have a thought, and then a craving. If you’re not aware of what triggers you, you can easily suffer a relapse.

What Makes Professional Treatment the Best Approach to Recovery?

It’s incredibly important for you to go through professional treatment when you’re ready to recover. Detoxing is going to be vital for you as you begin the healing process. Also, rehab is going to help you by addressing the psychological part of your addiction.

There’s no need for you to go through your recovery on your own. Help is available to assist you every step of the way.

Why do You Need to Detox From Meth?

A meth detox is going to help you in several different ways. First, it’s going to make your withdrawal symptoms easier to bear. You may find that there are many symptoms that you won’t even experience at all. The ones that you do have may be less severe and simpler to manage.

Secondly, detoxing will allow you to avoid many potential complications that can come with meth withdrawal. For example, one of the symptoms is severe depression. You may still feel a bit down, but you might not be depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts.

Finally, when you detox, you’ll find that the entire process of recovery is much faster. You’ll feel better sooner than you would if you were to attempt quitting on your own.

There are a few different ways that meth addiction is treated during the detoxification process. You may be recommended for a medical detox. This will involve taking medications to help you through your withdrawal symptoms. You may be given something to help you with anxiety and/or depression. Your doctor may also prescribe you an anticonvulsant if they’re worried you may begin having seizures.

Holistic detox treatments are also a very important part of the process. You’ll work with a nutritionist to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. You may also begin exercising regularly. This will help your brain remember how to release dopamine so that you feel good. It will also assist in the process of flushing toxins out of your body.

You shouldn’t attempt an at-home drug detox if you’re addicted to meth. Remember, you’re using a very powerful and potent drug that can be dangerous if you stop it abruptly. Trying to detox at home could have disastrous consequences.

You can find a lot of different products that promise you a great outcome. However, none of them are FDA approved, and could even put your life at risk.

It’s vital to detox in a professional, medical setting where your condition can be monitored. That way, an emergency or complication can potentially be avoided. If there is a problem, you’ll be in a place where you can get help right away.

Is it Necessary to Attend Rehab Afterwards?

Once you’ve detoxed from meth, you’ll want to go on to a rehab facility. Many of them offer both of these services in the same place, which is very convenient.

A meth rehab is going to help you by working on the mental part of your addiction. You’ll learn more about what your triggers are, and you’ll make a plan to avoid them. You’ll work with a therapist who will determine the cause for your addiction, and treat it properly.

After detox, you’re likely to feel a lot better. However, your recovery isn’t finished. Please don’t skip this vital step.

Your therapist could determine that you suffer from a co-occurring disorder. This is a mental health condition that has contributed to your dependence on meth. They are very common, and about 50% of people with addictions suffer from them.

Dual diagnosis treatment will need to be implemented right away, if this is the case. This will ensure that both the addiction and the mental health issue are addressed. That will increase your likelihood of experiencing long-term recovery.

Amytal Addiction Treatment

Crystal Meth Dependence is Serious, But Help is Available

At Northpoint Washington, we know how serious an addiction methamphetamine is. We know the hopeless feeling that often goes along with realizing you’re an addict. This isn’t a road you need to walk down alone, and we’re here to help you.

It’s hard to come to terms with having an addiction and needing treatment. However, once you do, the next step is much easier. Our staff members are here to guide you through this process and we’re determined for you to succeed.

Do you have questions about meth addiction, detox and rehab that we didn’t answer? Please let us know by contacting us today.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

(888) 663-7106 Contact Us