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Article Summary

How To Stop Using Meth

If you are trying to look for information on how to stop using meth, no doubt you will come across some scary horror stories and statistics about how serious your addiction is and how difficult and problematic it can be to stop.

One study, for instance, reported that meth users have a relapse rate of about 88%. This shows that only a few of them in the study were able to get off the drug without going back to their former self-destructive abuse patterns.

Luckily, there are recovery programs that you can rely on to effectively stop using this drug and lead a life free of addiction. In this guide, you will learn more about these programs, how they work, and why you need to find the best one depending on your particular needs and preferences.

Improving Your Chances Of Recovery

As an active meth user, you might assume that you just need to undergo detoxification to finally quit the drug. However, you should know that detox is only designed to get rid of the effects of meth in your system. It will, therefore, do nothing to actively address most of the psychological triggers that are responsible for your self-destructive patterns of drug use and addiction.

To this end, you need to start looking for professional treatment to help you stop using meth. This will be best accomplished when you check into a drug rehabilitation facility.

Recovering from crystal meth abuse will depend on your ability to learn and adopt new, strong, and healthy ways to prevent a relapse - which is characterized by going back to your former habits and behaviors of active use.

Today, many rehabilitation and treatment facilities are designed to provide a wide range of treatments and therapies that you can count on when you need help recovering from your meth addiction. By checking into one of these facilities, you will be able to learn more positive behaviors that could help you avoid picking up meth and starting to use it again.

Additionally, therapy will help you identify the triggers that compel you to use meth - including the situations, environments, places, and people that you commonly associated with the drug.

Once you recognize these high risk situations, you will be better able to use your newly adopted recovery skills and knowledge and avoid meth indefinitely. This could be your secret to full recovery and staying clean forever.

About Meth

If you are addicted to crystal meth and have started thinking about how you can quit, it is imperative that you get help from a recommended treatment program. When the program is highly structured and tailored to you personally, it may help you manage your severe cravings.

Also known as crank, speed, and ice, crystal meth is a powerful stimulant can produce an intensely euphoric high. However, conversely, it produces a strong comedown when the drug starts to wear off. This is why you may feel the compulsion to binge on the drug.

The binge pattern of use may hasten your dependence on and addiction to meth. This is because of the relentless and adverse changes the drug tends to cause to the chemistry, structure, and functioning of the brain.

With time, the drug may depress certain areas of your brain, an effect that you will only be able to reverse when you re-introduce the drug to your system. This is why you might develop a pattern of constant drug abuse.

Recovery Options

When you start thinking about quitting meth, some of the recovery options that you can count on include:

a) 12 Step Programs

12 step programs like Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous use AA's (Alcoholics Anonymous) 12 steps to help patients achieve sobriety and maintain it. When you participate with such a program, therefore, you will take part in meetings that could benefit you. You will also receive ongoing support from the other members in the group.

b) Group Counseling

On the other hand, you may choose to go for group therapy. Group counselling covers most of the strategies that you would typically get from an one-on-one counseling session. Additionally, it will help you develop the social skills that could reinforce your sobriety over the long term.

c) Individual Therapy

Here, you will get the opportunity to attend counseling sessions with a trained meth addiction therapist or counselor. During the meetings, you will start building skills that could help you cope with your addiction. Additionally, the therapy might help you address most or all of the reasons why you use meth.

d) Inpatient Rehab Treatment

Through this mode of treatment, you will receive rehabilitation and treatment in a residential or hospital setting. It will provide you with access to medical care and mental health services.

Additionally, you may be required to participate in individual and group counseling sessions, as well as a variety of other approaches to treat your meth addiction and dependency.

e) Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Through an outpatient rehabilitation program, you get the opportunity to continue living at home and attending to your day-to-day responsibilities. At the same time, the program will require that you attend treatment a couple of times every day or every week.

Meth Withdrawal

Before you can fully recover from meth addiction, it is essential that you learn what will happen when you suddenly stop using this drug. In most cases, you will experience severe and adverse withdrawal symptoms.

These come about as a side effect to meth addiction. Although they are not life threatening, they may be so serious that you will be compelled to start abusing meth again.

Most people do experience profound episodes of anxiety and depression when they stop abusing the drug. This increases their risk of suicidal ideation and actions.

To this end, it is highly recommended that you check into a recovery center where you will receive addiction treatment and medically-managed detoxification. This may help minimize most of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you experience when you give up meth. As a direct result, it will reduce your urges for a relapse as well as ensure that you do not injure yourself.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms you are likely to suffer when you stop using meth include:

  • Bad dreams
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to feel happy or pleasurable
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Severe cravings for meth
  • Slowed movements
  • Slowed thoughts

At the moment, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved any drugs or medications to treat the withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who decide to quit meth. However, research is still underway and there may soon be drug options for managing withdrawal.

Withdrawal Timeline

DSM-5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) reports that these withdrawal symptoms may start anywhere from a couple of hours to several days after your most recent dose of meth. However, there is no telling how long your withdrawal will last. In most cases, it will depend on the following:

  • How often you used the drug
  • The amount of meth you abused
  • The duration of your meth addiction
  • Your body's physiology
  • Your health

Quitting Cold Turkey

If you suddenly stop using meth, you may suffer severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This may lead to a relapse. It is for this exact reason that you are advised never to try quitting cold turkey.

In fact, if you are already addicted to meth, you may continue using it if only to hold off the onset of its withdrawal. This is why it is so important that you go for addiction treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility.

Treatment will provide you with supportive care, medically supervised detoxification, and a variety of other therapies to minimize any discomfort you experience as you withdraw from meth addiction.

Helping An Addict Quit

If your loved one is addicted to meth, you might feel powerless and unable to help them. However, you do not have to give in to this feeling. With the right communication skills, you may even be able to help them seek treatment.

Today, there are programs designed to teach loved ones how to stop making excuses and enabling the addict among them. After you stop covering and lying for them, you will finally be able to allow them to face the true consequences of their addiction. It is at this point that growth and healing starts.

Consider the following while approaching anyone you know who is addicted to meth:

a) Do:

  • Approach them in a caring and loving manner, free of anger and judgement
  • Approach them when they have already tried quitting because this is the best time to get them to acknowledge their problem with meth use
  • Encourage them to attend rehab, especially after you have established a kind and respectful environment
  • Make mental notes of their positive qualities, and continue reminding yourself of these qualities when they do or say hurtful things while under the influence of the drug

b) Don't:

However, you should never:

  • Approach them when you are feeling angry about their actions and behavior; this may only cause them to push you away and start becoming defensive
  • Blame them for their addiction
  • Degrade them, since this will compound any shame they might already be feeling
  • Have any heartfelt conversation with them when they are still high on meth; they might not be mentally able to take your words seriously or even remember what you talked about

When you approach a meth addict, you should ensure that you express your care and concern while encouraging them to seek treatment. You might also want to reassure them that you will always be there for them - at every step of their recovery journey. If possible, talk about how you are going to provide support to them irrespective of the outcomes.

Why Quit Meth

When you quit meth, you may recover your physical and mental health. Additionally, you will be able to escape the long term problems and consequences commonly associated with addiction to this drugs.

In fact, you may see some improvements almost immediately. However, others may take a bit of time before they become more apparent. Consider the following benefits:

  • Ability to rebuild broken connections with family and friends
  • Improved financial status because you won't have to spend your money on meth
  • Improved skin and teeth
  • Lowered risk of suffering a heart attack
  • Reduced risk of getting arrest for violent behavior and/or drug possession
  • Return to a healthy body weight

Tips To Help You Quit

It is difficult to quit meth without getting outside help. This is because of the severe cravings, suicidal ideation and actions, and depressive symptoms that may arise when you decide to stop using this drug - all of which might compound and cause you to relapse.

This is why it is highly recommended that you get professional help by checking into an addiction rehabilitation facility. You might also want to talk to your doctor and discuss your addiction.

Additionally, there are other steps you can take to improve the chances of meth recovery. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Building a solid support system of family and friends who can help you maintain your sobriety after you complete your treatment for crystal meth addiction and dependence
  • Changing your number and deleting your dealer's number
  • Ensuring that you seek active medical help for any problems related to your intravenous drug use - that is if you were injecting the drug with others (including collapsed veins, Hepatitis, HIV, and abscesses)
  • Getting rid of all paraphernalia that you used to associate with meth use, including needles and pipes
  • Identifying and addressing the main reasons why you started abusing meth in the first place
  • Seeking appropriate dental care because most users tend to develop meth mouth
  • Traveling away from home to receive treatment for addiction to enable you escape the triggers and environment that might cause you to relapse

As far as possible, never try quitting on your own. Instead, you may want to surround yourself with family and friends who you are sure will be able to support you and encourage you until you recover fully.

Luckily, there are many different treatment options available that you can also count on to help you in this journey. Therefore, you should educate yourself as soon as you can before you decide on the option that is likely to work best for you.

On Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine is commonly known as crystal meth. It belongs to a broader class of addictive substances referred to as psychostimulants. In the recent past, the drug has been dominating media headlines on account of its addictive nature and potentially destructive effects and consequences for users, over and above its negative impact and connotations on communities and families.

The synthetically manufactured chemical structure of this drug is similar to other amphetamines. However, it is even more potent as a stimulant of the CNS (central nervous system).

As such, the rush or high that meth elicits will create a rewarding and happy sense of deep euphoria and well-being. It does this by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feel-good emotions. Therefore, even if you only use this drug once, you may find yourself repeating your use to replicate these happy effects.

By why is it hard to break your addiction to meth after you start using? One of the reasons might be because of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that crystal meth will release inside your brain.

Dopamine is the pleasure chemical of the body. As such, it plays a crucial role in motor functions, pleasurable feelings, and personal motivation. When this chemical is released, it causes most of the rewarding effects that cause drugs like meth to be so addictive.

The surge in the activity of dopamine in the brain - combined with the relatively low cost of meth - makes anyone who tries using the drug highly susceptible to continued use, tolerance, dependency, and addiction.

This might be the reason why it is so hard to overcome your addiction to meth. Whether you have been using the drug over the short or the long term, the crash you will experience after you stop taking meth may feel unbearable.

After the rush that meth provides, and the high release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, you will experience a severe depletion in the activity of this neurotransmitter. This may leave you with high and intense cravings for the drug if only to replicate the high.

On the other hand, if you use meth over a long duration, it may alter your brain chemistry so drastically that even if you take high doses of the drug it will not release enough of the neurotransmitter for you to achieve the pleasurable effects that you are looking for.

Treating Meth Addiction

If you - or someone you know and love - have been struggling with meth addiction, know that there is some hope. In fact, it is highly possible that you will recover from your addiction. However, this may only happen when you undergo comprehensive treatment at the right facility.

The design of treatment tends to vary from one person to the other. However, there are some treatment approaches that are commonly used for this type of drug addiction. These approaches may include a combination of different behavioral treatment strategies, such as:

  • 12 step support groups
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management interventions (where you receive tangible rewards whenever you prove that you have maintained your sobriety)
  • Drug tests
  • Education for the family members and loved ones of the addict
  • One on one counseling sessions
  • Support and participation in activities not related to meth

Medication For Meth Addiction

As mentioned above, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications for treating meth addiction. However, there are supportive medications that might be used - alongside therapy, of course - to ease the intensity of your detox.

Detox typically includes a wide variety of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Intense desire to continue taking the drug

NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has made the development of medication for treating meth abuse and addiction a priority. Even now, the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network continue making great strides in its search for medications that could help users cope with meth withdrawal.

Even so, there are drugs that might help you in your efforts to recover from meth addiction. In fact, when you undergo professional detoxification, you may receive medical treatment to deal with the effects of your withdrawal symptoms arising from long term psychological withdrawal and short term detox.

Although meth cannot be used to treat its addiction, research shows that there are other drugs that might soon be approved by the Food and Drug Administration at some point in the future. This is because some of these drugs are proving useful in treating this form of addiction.

At the moment, trial studies are being performed on a variety of drugs that enhance and encourage the success of long term recovery from meth addiction. Still, more study is required to confirm that the efficacy of these drugs in treating addiction. Additionally, the response of each individual addict to certain medications might vary greatly.

That said, some of the drugs that are being studied include:

  • Buproprion: This drug may reduce your abuse of meth if you have been using it lightly
  • Mirtazapine: A recent study on MSM (when you have sex with other men) discovered that a combination of mirtazapine and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) may significantly reduce meth use
  • Modafinil: At the moment, modafinil still shows mixed results and indications. One study, for instance, suggested that modafinil in combination with CBT may reduce meth abuse; however, other studies have not shown great promise for this treatment
  • Naltrexone: Many studies are suggesting that naltrexone has a high potential for increasing meth abstinence and reducing its use and abuse
  • Topiramate: A recent study showed that topiramate may reduce meth abuse; however, total abstinence from crystal meth was not observed when combined with topiramate

Meth Treatment Facilities

Once you are ready to take an about turn from meth and stop using it, you may want to think about the kind of treatment you would like to receive. This decision could influence the chance that you could recover fully from your addiction.

Essentially, there are two main types of treatment for this type of addiction. They include:

a) Outpatient Treatment

This option is suited to people with a less severe addiction as well as those lacking co-existing mental health and medical complications. Most rehabilitation facilities provide outpatient treatment for meth addiction.

During treatment, you will be required to check in with a healthcare provider to receive therapy. However, you can still go home after the treatment and therapy sessions are completed.

b) Inpatient Treatment

Although the intense symptoms of acute withdrawal from stimulant use may only last for about a few days to several weeks, meth may create such changes in your brain that you will need prolonged care to fully recover from your addiction.

To this end, most users can benefit from checking into an inpatient rehab facility where they will receive constant monitoring and supervision as they undergo treatment for their addiction.

The inpatient program you will sign up for will provide you with an immersive environment of treatment, access to medical support and care when and as you require it, and supportive medications to negate the often unpleasant meth withdrawal symptoms. By so doing, it could potentially increase the likelihood that you will find long term healing and sobriety.

The main types of inpatient rehabilitation facilities for meth addiction include:

  • Luxury rehab facilities
  • Executive rehab facilities
  • Standard residential recovery programs

Concluding Thoughts

Over and above everything else, learning how to stop using meth may take some time and doing on your part. This is especially difficult if you are still using the drug and have to contend with episodes when you are not lucid enough to continue your research.

However, with the help of friends and family - as well as outside help from your doctor or from a former addict - you should be able to find the right place to get treatment for your addiction. With time and after you undergo detox and rehabilitation, you will eventually overcome your compulsive meth use and dependence, and get a fresh leash on life.

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