Meth stays in the body for short periods of time while at the same time creating instant euphoria and energy. As a result of meth ingestion or abuse, the brain responds by flooding the body with pleasurable feelings. These feelings can be extremely powerful and alluring, driving individuals to continue meth use to maintain the same level of pleasure. The body can rapidly build a tolerance for the drug and increased amounts are taken to keep the pleasure center of the brain in overdrive.
When an individual uses meth the effects can last for up to 10 hours. As the body begins to rid itself of the drug, meth detox symptoms will begin to appear. The first signs of meth detox can be exhaustion as the body has been in overdrive for the better part of a day. Mentally, individuals will experience feelings of depression and lack of motivation. One of the more urgent side effects of meth detox is the lack of appetite. This is the reason that most meth users lose most of their body fat in a relatively short period of time. Not only is the body burning calories while the individual is high on meth, but as they begin to detoxify from methamphetamines there will be an almost complete lack of hunger.
Meth detox is a difficult process for most as the symptoms of withdrawal are mainly psychological and emotional, leading to a strong desire to seek out more of the drug. The actual detox from meth isn’t quite as severe as the opioid detox or alcohol detox. The first 24 hours without meth will begin the detox process with the detox symptoms peaking over the next week or 10 days. From day 14, the symptoms of meth detox will generally begin to lessen and disappear.
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Meth Detox Signs and Symptoms
Quite often meth detox symptoms are what keep a user hooked on the drug, especially since the detox symptoms can be very unpleasant. Meth detox can actually bring on new anxiety and depression issues in users going through withdrawal. The effects of mental health can be so severe that there is a real potential for mental illness that can lead to both suicidal ideation and other self-injury issues. The following are common detox symptoms:
- Increased Depression and/or anxiety
- Development of depression and/or anxiety
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Suicidal ideation
- Insatiable hunger
- Intense meth cravings
Methamphetamine is a very powerful stimulant drug that causes individuals who use is to feel more aware and involved within their world. The increase in energy that is experienced can cause a meth user to appear manic. Meth usually comes in powder form or as a tablet. Crystal Meth will look more like glass fragments with a bluish tint. When this drug is taken the effects last for up to eight hours if the dosing is high enough. Because of the way this drug interacts with brain neurotransmission the immediate detox or comedown effects are much like those of alcohol withdrawal. Meth can be inhaled, snorted, injected or taken orally as a pill. A Schedule II drug, meth is a substance that has a high potential for substance abuse and subsequent meth addiction. This abuse and dependence can have psychological and physical manifestations.
A Japanese scientist first developed Methamphetamine in the year 1893 to help soldiers fighting in World War II and those who needed to stay awake for extended periods of time. The energy created in individuals allowed for long periods of wakefulness and increased awareness, both beneficial for soldiers in battle situations. Unfortunately, the exploitation and misuse of meth exploded following the end of the war and created an epidemic across Asia reaching the west coast of America in the mid-1940’s. Methamphetamines are manufactured in drug labs across the United States for use in over-the-counter medications such as pseudoephedrine and other cold medications. The drug is also illegally produced in hidden, underground laboratories. In 1996, the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act was passed in Congress, which placed regulations on manufacturing and distribution of the drug.
Short-Term Effects of Meth
Methamphetamine affects brain function by stimulating naturally occurring dopamine, which manages body movements, psychological motivations, and pleasure-seeking triggers. Once meth is taken the effects are almost instantaneous and create feelings of pleasure that can quickly become an individual’s primary focus. The primary short-term effects of methamphetamine are the following:
- Increased respirations
- Loss of appetite
- Increased and irregular cardiac activity
- Sharp rise in blood pressure
- Sudden increase in resting body temperature
- Unusual surges in energy and awareness
Long-Term Effects of Meth
Meth abuse carries with it major health issues as the drug permanently alters natural brain chemistry and immune responses. Aside from an increase in the likelihood of contracting an infectious disease such as HIV and hepatitis B or C, the reduction in impulse control can lead to risky sexual behaviors. Because of its apparent ability to reduce the body’s ability to fight off infections and immune responses, certain disease processes like HIV can accelerate and intensify. The primary long-term effects of meth are the following:
- Loss of body fat
- Rotting of teeth and gum infections
- Open sores as a result of severe itching
- Increase in likelihood of violent outbursts
- Anxiety and Insomnia
- Paranoia and hallucinations
Meth Detox Medications
There are medications that can be used to help alleviate the side effects of methamphetamine detoxification, but none were developed specifically for meth addiction detox. There are three types of medications that can be used to help individuals go through meth withdrawal; antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines. The following are examples of these medication classes:
Bupropion: Sold under the brand names Wellbutrin and Aplencin, Bupropion is an antidepressant that also works to help curb meth use in individuals.
Dextroamphetamine: More commonly known as Dexedrine, this medication can help by both reducing meth cravings and treating the symptoms of meth detox.
Methylphenidate: This drug is an antipsychotic that is usually prescribed for the express treatment of narcolepsy or attention deficit disorders and has been shown in studies to help with withdrawal effects.
Modafinil: Stimulant medication also used for narcolepsy that has been shown to curb meth ingestion and use in individuals dealing with meth detoxification.