Methamphetamine, or “meth,” can wreak havoc on the lives of those struggling with addiction. The first step in confronting meth addiction is detox, which is the process of ridding the body of an addictive substance. Detoxing from meth can mean experiencing some pretty tough withdrawal symptoms, but the benefits of overcoming meth addiction far outweigh the negative side effects of detox.
Meth Detox Symptoms
Symptoms of meth detox can include:
- intense cravings
“Symptoms begin around 24 hours after the last dose. Fatigue may set in first, followed by overwhelming feelings of depression,” Stacey Henson, ACSW, LCSW, of The Recovery Village in Orlando, Florida, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “Meth suppresses both appetite and sleep. During initial withdrawal, people may spend most of their time catching up on food and sleep.”
Meth detox can take about 50 hours, Henson says. Withdrawal symptoms can persist for two weeks or even months for more experienced users, according to a study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
How Treatment Helps
While there are no drugs that have been proven effective in removing meth from the body, drugs targeting withdrawal symptoms could help with getting through detox and maintaining long term sobriety.
Treating meth withdrawal symptoms might include medications like Modafinil, a narcolepsy drug that helps regulate sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. “In fact, Modafinil 's moderate stimulant effects...may aid with the cravings and erratic sleep cycles associated with [methamphetamine] withdrawal,” Vikram Tarugu, MD, CEO of Detox of South Florida, says.
Modafinil has also shown promise in alleviating the cognitive effects of meth use, such as memory loss and difficulty processing ideas. A study from The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found the drug could help with meth addiction treatment when combined with therapy.
Bupropion, commonly referred to by the brand name Wellbutrin, is an antidepressant that has also helped people quit smoking. Long-term meth use can cause a dopamine deficiency. Bupropion could help with meth withdrawal by regulating dopamine, the brain chemical messenger that stimulates pleasure and focus.
Fluoxetine, most commonly known as Prozac, is an antidepressant that is also prescribed for anxiety. The drug has shown promise with meth withdrawal in trials with mice, and it might help some people, according to Dr. Tarugu. “Fluoxetine can benefit people suffering by helping them resolve heart problems and relieve all other depressive symptoms,” Tarugu says.
Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.
Undergoing detox in a treatment facility not only provides medical supervision but also a safer environment away from drugs. “Being in a detox facility also provides a level of support and an opportunity to be out of the environment where use was happening,” Henson says.
Detox might be a difficult first step to getting clean, but considering the effects of meth use, it’s definitely worth it. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.