Recovery is always possible. No matter how long you have experienced methamphetamine addiction, we are here to help.
The stereotypical backwoods “meth labs” that seemed to be a staple on the nightly news in the 1990s have by and large been eradicated in the United States. They have been replaced, however, by massive, modern “super labs” run by cartels in Mexico and elsewhere that produce a purer, cheaper, and more addictive form of methamphetamine.
Today, there’s more meth on the streets of America than ever before and it remains a major public health issue. Approximately 1.6 million people in the U.S. reported using meth in the past 12 months, according to a recent study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The increased potency of mass-produced meth – up to twice as strong as the homemade version – is also contributing to a rise in overdose deaths.
As a powerful stimulant that affects the brain and central nervous system, meth produces feelings of euphoria, and increased energy, activity, and talkativeness, and a decreased appetite. It can also cause dangerous behavioral changes such as aggression and other erratic behaviors that put you and others at risk.
Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs being used today. It can be more harmful than other stimulants because it stays in your body longer. It can destroy the synapses in your brain’s pleasure center, making it difficult to experience pleasure without using the drug. And the physical toll that meth takes on your body can lead to a stroke or death.
According to a report published by the Foundation for a Drug Free World, people who use meth experience seven distinct stages:
1. The rush: During the body’s initial response to smoking or injecting meth, the user’s heartbeat, blood pressure, and metabolism increase dramatically. This can continue for up to 30 minutes.
2. The high: Someone using meth feels smarter and becomes more argumentative during this phase, which can last from four to 16 hours. Users may become aggressive, often interrupting others and finish their sentences, and may become laser-focused on a small task, such as repeatedly cleaning a window for hours.
3. The binge: After the initial effects begin to fade, meth addicts begin using again in an effort to maintain their high. This may go on for a few days or a couple of weeks, as the user keeps hyperactively smoking or injecting but with less and less effect, until eventually there no rush or high.
4. Tweaking: At the end of a binge, a meth user is in the most danger as they experience a phase called “tweaking,” when meth longer provides a rush or a high. Unable to find any relief, users often hallucinate insects are crawling underneath their skin. Users often scratch an area of their skin to bleeding, in an attempt to “get the bugs.”
Methamphetamine abusers may go without sleep for days at a time and have psychotic episodes, with hallucinations and paranoia making them hostile and dangerous to themselves and others.
5. Crashing: After an extended period of tweaking, the body finally shuts down and the user will sometimes sleep for days. Even the most active, violent users are almost lifeless during the crash, which can last for two to three days.
6. The hangover: Emerging from the crash, the user is starved, dehydrated and physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. This may last for a couple of days or a couple of weeks.
7. Withdrawal: When someone stops using meth, the effects are profound. Depression, a lack of energy, strong cravings, and suicidal thoughts are all symptoms of someone withdrawing from meth.
These symptoms are so intense that more than half of users go back to meth again unless they seek medical help for their addiction.
Even when someone attempts meth use, it may become the focal point of their life, overshadowing all other interests. Some other behavioral and physical symptoms of meth use include:
At our network of rehab centers in Florida, California, Colorado, and Texas, we conduct a thorough assessment of your physical and mental well-being before creating a personalized recovery plan to fit your individual needs. Most of our meth programs begin with detoxification, but we also incorporate much more into your treatment plan to ensure your long-term recovery success.
During detox, our staff provides 24/7 support to administer medications and manage your withdrawal symptoms. Depending on how long you’ve been using meth and the severity of your addiction, your withdrawal symptoms may range from mild to severe. It’s important that you go through detox in a clinical setting where we can keep you as comfortable and safe as possible
After detox, we begin working on how you will avoid addiction in the future by addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety that may contribute to your addiction. We provide you with skills to manage your cravings and show you how to develop healthy coping mechanisms, challenge irrational thinking and maintain sobriety even when facing situations that made you use drugs in the past.
When your rehab is complete, our team devises a plan for your post-recovery support. Aftercare plans include counseling and continuing addiction recovery treatment that helps you maintain your hard-earned sobriety for the long term.