It might surprise you to learn that nearly 22% of the US population used illegal drugs in 2021. This includes various substances, such as marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines. Drug addiction is a serious issue that plagues our society, and methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs on the market.
For those looking to quit, it’s important to understand what you’ll experience when coming off of drugs. So, what does coming down from meth feel like? Let’s explore what you should know about the substance and what to expect when you break the habit.
How Does Meth Work?
Dopamine is a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure and reward. You might feel dopamine when scoring a goal in a soccer game, for instance. You could also feel dopamine when receiving good or exciting news.
Meth substantially increases the amount of dopamine in the human body. It provides short bursts of euphoria that quickly subside, leading to people taking repeated doses of the substance. Even small amounts of meth can have substantial effects.
People typically experience decreased appetite, faster breathing, and increased alertness. In rare cases, people might use meth as a performance-enhancing drug. For example, someone could use meth before a physical altercation to give themselves an edge.
How Is Meth Made?
Most of the methamphetamine in the United States is manufactured in Mexico. It’s then imported by criminal organizations.
This form of meth is highly potent and low in price, making addiction almost a guarantee. It’s possible to create meth in makeshift laboratories using a combination of toxic chemicals and over-the-counter ingredients.
Substances manufactured in this way are more dangerous and less potent. Unsafe manufacturing settings can also lead to explosions and house fires.
What Does Coming Down From Meth Feel Like?
Some people regularly use meth for years. The longer you’ve abused the substance, the more difficult it will be to stop.
Regardless, all users should prepare for certain scenarios when coming down. Let’s look at them in detail below.
In the beginning, you’ll experience what’s known as a “meth crash.” This is an acute form of withdrawal that can be difficult for many people to accommodate. The primary symptoms include hunger, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and intense meth cravings.
Sleep complications can also occur. People might sleep too much or be exhausted but unable to fall asleep. Slowed heart rate and depression are common, as well.
It’s not uncommon for people coming off meth to use other substances to help them cope. For example, a person who has difficulty sleeping could use alcohol or sedatives.
Unfortunately, this can lead to additional issues. It’s possible for them to develop addictions to their coping substances.
The comedown timeline will depend on multiple factors. It will be harder for long-term users to come off of the drug.
People who regularly use large amounts of meth will also find it difficult to stop using. General overall health plays a role, and unhealthy individuals might find it harder than someone in great shape.
Symptoms will gradually taper off in severity. It generally takes anywhere from several days to several weeks to fully come down from meth.
Due to the complications, coming off of meth by yourself is highly dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms could be so intense that they compel people to self-harm.
Some people even feel suicidal within the first few weeks after they quit. Medical detox is highly recommended for anyone coming off meth.
Complications of Meth Use
There are numerous complications of long-term meth use. These can quickly spiral out of control and lead to major issues with employment, health, and safety. Listed below are some of the most notable.
Meth users are known to get violent. Violence could be a result of someone else’s behavior, or it could occur unprovoked. For example, someone in the middle of a meth binge could destroy property around them for seemingly no reason.
Meth users are also fairly irritable, making physical altercations more likely if arguments ensue. Since meth is such a powerful stimulant, people who engage in episodic violence are highly dangerous.
Meth use can quickly lead to paranoia. The individual might feel everyone around them is plotting against them. They might also have a feeling of overwhelming dread.
In context, they could think something terrible is going to occur, but they don’t know what it is. They also don’t know when it will happen. Combined with the other complications on this list, paranoia can lead to dangerous or erratic behavior.
The more meth someone uses, the more difficulty they’ll have sleeping. Taking large doses of the drug will keep someone awake. When coming down from large doses, the withdrawal symptoms could prevent them from falling asleep.
It’s not uncommon for habitual meth users to stay awake for days at a time. They eventually fall asleep for a brief period after their body reaches total exhaustion. When they wake up, they often use meth to feel normal again.
Motor Skill Deficit
Ironically, meth can lead to poor motor skills despite making people more attentive during use. Abusing this drug can drastically impair cognitive function and make it difficult to perform fine movements. A meth addict might have trouble signing their name or opening a container.
Irritability is fairly common. As previously mentioned, meth users are prone to violent behavior.
They’re also more likely to get angry or irritated. Incidents that normally wouldn’t bother them could make them irrationally upset. A common example could be a meth user becoming infuriated at an unexpected knock on their door.
Prolonged meth use causes a condition known as “meth mouth.” It’s characterized by the staining, rotting, and decaying of the user’s teeth.
This can lead to severe gum disease that causes teeth to eventually fall out. Meth mouth occurs for many reasons.
Meth slows salivary functions and increases sugar cravings. Saliva is crucial for keeping your mouth’s ecosystem balanced and preventing the growth of bacteria.
Constant sugar consumption combined with a dry mouth is the perfect environment for bacterial growth. This can quickly lead to tooth decay.
People who use meth also frequently grind their teeth. They do so intensely, and this could cause cracking and breaking.
The chemicals in meth can also damage your enamel. All these factors combine to make meth use highly dangerous to one’s dental health.
Severe Weight Loss
Using meth dulls one’s appetite and increases their heart rate. Their body is essentially put into overdrive without getting sufficient fuel. This can cause people to quickly lose a substantial amount of weight.
For this reason, some people choose to use meth as a weight loss drug. While it can be highly effective for this purpose, the negatives strongly outweigh the benefits.
Signs of Meth Addiction
It’s crucial to understand the signs of crystal meth abuse. This is true for both oneself and their loved ones. The sooner you recognize symptoms, the sooner you can take action.
Someone might have an uncharacteristic amount of energy. In context, a person who is normally tired or lethargic could be attentive and highly active. This is often accompanied by a disregard for sleep.
Poor performance at work or school or also common. One of the primary signs of meth addiction is obsessively engaging in repetitive behavior.
Someone might chew their nails until it causes injury, for instance. Stealing money is also common, as people will often do anything to fund their habit. Another major sign of addiction is failing to stop abusing meth after trying.
Poor hygiene and meth addiction often go hand in hand. When someone frequently abuses this drug, they tend to neglect their physical appearance.
They might wear unwashed clothes and go out in public ungroomed. They might also appear to be much thinner than normal. Meth users sometimes pick at their skin, resulting in numerous scabs and sores.
Social withdrawal is the most common psychosocial symptom. This often results from experiencing paranoia.
Meth users often feel like they can’t trust anyone, leading them to isolate themselves. They might stay inside a single room for days while using meth.
Meth abusers have difficulty remembering basic details and new information. Someone who frequently abuses meth might have to ask someone’s name multiple times before they remember.
In extreme cases, addicts can hallucinate or believe information that isn’t true. All of these combine to create poor judgment, which can put someone’s safety at risk.
Finding the Best Treatment Option
Finding the right treatment option is crucial for getting your life back on track. Not all treatment facilities are created equal, though.
There are certain attributes to look for when making your decision. These will help you choose an option that’s safe and reliable.
What do other people have to say about their experiences? Were they happy with the results they got? Did they have issues with the facility’s staff?
There should be no shortage of positive feedback. A company’s reputation provides powerful insight into the results you’ll get, so don’t neglect it.
What treatment methods do they use? Some facilities offer different treatments than others.
It’s important to consider that some forms of addiction require medical treatment. Without this form of intervention, it can be difficult or impossible to fully eliminate dependency.
If they have trouble providing information about how they treat patients, explore other options. This is a red flag you shouldn’t overlook. It could lead to serious complications.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient
Inpatient programs require the individual to remain at the treatment facility for the duration of their treatment. These are often more intensive and include regular detailed assessments.
In contrast, outpatient programs allow the individual to leave the facility. These aren’t always ideal, as people could be tempted to engage in harmful behaviors without accountability.
Inpatient programs are often best for overcoming meth addiction. The temptation to use is often too great for people to get the best results through outpatient programs. All it takes is a single incident to spiral back into addictive behavior.
It’s essential to assess a treatment facility’s cost before choosing one. No matter how good their programs are, you could have difficulty getting the right treatment if you can’t afford it. Ask what types of insurance coverage they accept.
Most reputable facilities accept a wide range of insurance options. Don’t be afraid to continue searching for a facility that can meet your needs.
If you don’t have conventional insurance, one of the greatest opportunities you have is leveraging the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).
To get the best results, you should choose somewhere you feel comfortable. Some facilities are set up to look and feel like resorts. Environments like these can help you relax as you detox.
Keep in mind that the cost of a facility and its amenities are often correlated. You may have to pay a large amount to get the luxury experience you desire.
This isn’t to say that barebones facilities can’t be effective. At the end of the day, you should prioritize locations that have professional staff and use effective treatment options. To assess how comfortable you’ll be, take a tour of the facility before making your decision.
If you plan to enroll in an inpatient program, investigate where you’ll be staying. Poor-quality locations can make inpatient programs uncomfortable and ineffective. With enough due diligence, you’ll find the right location for your needs.
Take Action ASAP
If you suffer from meth addiction, it’s crucial to seek treatment as soon as possible. This will ensure you get your life back on track. The details in this guide will help you prepare for what coming down from meth feels like.
Purpose Healing Center is proud to serve as Arizona’s leader in alcohol and substance abuse treatment. We offer individualized inpatient and outpatient programs that can put you on the fast track to recovery. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.