Meth comedowns are notoriously difficult to endure, and include symptoms like:
It’s usually in this comedown phase that users understandably promise themselves they’ll never do meth again. But often the discomfort and fear of withdrawals is too great, and the lure of using again too easy an escape.
Methamphetamine is an incredibly powerful and addictive central nervous system stimulant. Also known as crystal, ice, blue and speed, meth is chemically very similar to amphetamines – ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall.
Meth plagues cities across the US – in some areas, even more so than opioids. Recent figures from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that over 14.7 million people in the US – that’s over 5 percent of the population – have experimented with it at least once.
Because of its aggravating energetic effects, meth is a major contributor to violent crime. It tears families and communities apart as they struggle with incarceration, unemployment, child abuse and other resulting problems. Meth-related overdoses are on the rise due to the frequent inclusion of fentanyl – a lethally potent synthetic opioid – by street dealers, often unbeknownst to its users.
Meth works by dramatically shooting up the amount of dopamine in the brain, which is involved in movement, motivation and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. With recurrent use, your brain becomes rewired to believe that it needs meth. Meth hits your bloodstream instantly and its high is long-lasting: the duration can last for up to 12 hours or more. Cocaine, by comparison, last for about 30 minutes. Its immediacy, intensity and duration are major factors in its addictiveness. Even the ritual of smoking can become part of the experience of addiction for some.
Meth has terrible physical, psychological and social consequences. Its numerous effects include:
When the presence of meth in the blood reaches a toxic level, it can cause an overdose. Meth overdose usually involves extreme hyperthermia, as the drug causes drastic elevations in body temperature.
Long-term effects of meth abuse include:
Meth also puts you at increased risk for transmissible diseases like hepatitis and HIV, as a result of intravenous drug use and lowered inhibitions around high-risk behavior. New research also shows meth users may be at increased risk for Parkinson’s disease due to continual disruptions to the nervous system. It can also cause personality changes over time.
Because meth is so intense and long-lasting, users often binge for long periods of time, continuing to use every time they start to come down. This can last for several days, during which users often give up eating and sleeping entirely.
Needless to say, when the time to come off of a days-long binge finally arrives, the effects are harrowing. The subsequent crash can entail extreme restlessness, anxiety and physical discomfort that prevents users from sleeping even when they’re beyond exhausted. This is the most depressing aspect of meth addiction, and where thoughts of self-harm and suicide are most likely to occur. Meth psychosis also tends to occur in this stage.
Using meth continually over long periods of time creates changes in your brain chemistry that can cause you to hallucinate, either while you’re high or when you’re coming down. These often involve delusional trains of thought, seeing, hearing and feeling things that aren’t there and paranoid or aggressive behavior. One common hallucination is the feeling that bugs are crawling under your skin. These “meth mites” and ensuing scratching are responsible for the sores that often appear on meth users’ skin.
Heavy or chronic meth use can also trigger schizophrenia, as it works by affecting the same neurotransmitter that influences schizophrenic and psychotic reactions. The likelihood of meth psychosis depends on several factors, including the amount, frequency and length of use. Co-occurring issues like mental health concerns, addictions to other substances and a history of sexual abuse are also factors.
At The Sanctuary, we don’t just believe in treating your mind. We understand the complexities of your mind, body, soul and spirit, and the relationship between all aspects of self. Taking this comprehensive approach to healing helps you move beyond the cycle of recovery and relapse, and into being recovered.
We offer a life-transforming program that goes far beyond just managing symptoms into true, lasting healing. Contrary to popular belief, you can reach a place within yourself where you’re no longer defined by addiction.
We combine science and shamanic wisdom into a four-part healing journey that incorporates psychotherapy, psychiatry, medicine, body work, spirituality, energy medicine, nutrition, movement therapy and wisdom teachings. Each of our clients receives two private therapy sessions every day, and our small, intimate setting means you always have access to support when you need it.
Here, you don’t have to be defined by your past – you can be defined by who you are and who you’re becoming.
Call us at (877) 710-3385 to learn how.