Meth is one of the most dangerous, destructive, and addictive drugs running in our society today. It has been known to turn otherwise sane and happy couples into fugitives who move from one sleazy hotel to another, students into drug-crazed fiends, and daughters into thieves. Its impact on families and communities is hard to calculate, but the impact is dramatic. The drug’s addictive pull is notoriously difficult to resist and detox from meth can be very difficult.
Here, we will look at some of the facets of meth detox:
• Chemistry of Detox
• Symptoms of Detox
• Mental/Emotional Problems
• After Detox
Chemistry of Detox
To understand the nature of meth dependence, it’s important to see what chemicals are involved. When a user gets high, the brain releases a large volume of dopamine, which results in the euphoria the addict seeks. Over time, as use increases, the dopamine centers will become reliant on the meth. Thus, when an addict ceases use, the brain has a hard time knowing when to release dopamine. So, ordinary activities that used to elicit a dopamine release, such as sex, eating a delicious meal, or seeing a beloved friend will no longer result in a sensation of pleasure, or joy.
Symptoms of Detox
This can make meth detox and addiction recovery a very long and arduous process. The initial detox process can be difficult. Addicts are known to experience difficulty with sleep once their drug of choice is removed. They may feel depressed and anxious. Others will feel a great need to sleep all of the time. Since the drug has been keeping them awake for days on end, they are often unable to remain awake for more than a few hours at a time. With a little hard work, a meth addict can overcome these sleep problems in a short time.
Mentally, the addict may be suffering from paranoia and other delusions. Further, once the drug is removed, the addict may begin to feel shame and remorse for past behavior. Many have resorted to crimes and activities that they never thought they were capable of. Shame can be a prime motivator for an addict to return to his life of drugs and debauchery. When addicts work with counselors and with a community of others seeking recovery, they can learn to put their shame aside.
Once the initial detox period has passed, the addict then faces a long period in which he or she may have to live without normal dopamine responses. Cognitive and emotional issues will need to be sorted out as well. These things often cannot be addressed in a simple thirty-day rehab program and a longer-term facility or a sober house may be needed before the patient can resume a fully normal life.