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Meth Withdrawal and Treatment

Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Methamphetamine is highly addictive psychologically, and physically addictive as well. Symptoms of withdrawal from methamphetamines include drug craving as well as the following:

  • depression
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • aggression
  • hunger
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach cramps or pain
  • trembling
  • disturbed sleep
  • unusual fatigue or weakness

In addition, a 2004 report in the Archives of General Psychiatry tells of a study that found that there are similarities in the brains of people who have recently stopped abusing methamphetamine with people who suffer from mood disorders. Methamphetamine brain damage has been compared to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

The same report states that there is no particular medication to treat methamphetamine abuse or addiction. There is little research on the topic, but a growing number seeking treatment. In general, behavioral interventions have been found to be successful. A program of counseling combined with a medication to encourage sleep and reduce depression is being tested in Western Australia.

The process of withdrawal from any amphetamine is generally not life-threatening, but may resemble severe depression, and this may require specific treatment for the person’s safety.

However, since methamphetamine use can cause life-threatening symptoms, treatment may need to focus on directly involve addressing those, including possibly:

  • hyperthermia
  • convulsions
  • aggressiveness
  • strokes and heart attacks
  • respiratory distress
  • irregular heartbeat
  • severe anorexia
  • psychotic behavior
  • homicidal and/or suicidal thoughts
  • HIV, acquired from injection and increase of risky sexual behavior when using methamphetamines

In California, where methamphetamine use is the state’s number one drug problem, emergency room visits in which meth plays a role is undergoing a dramatic increase.

A less serious condition, “meth mouth”  –  a state of tooth decay resulting from poor hygiene while taking methamphetamines, lack of saliva, and craving for sugary, carbonated drinks – which characterizes many methamphetamine users, may also require attention.

Meth Withdrawal and Treatment Sources

  • whitehousedrugpolicy.gov
  • drugabusehelp.com
  • deadiversion.usdoj.gov
  • drugabuse.gov
  • nlm.nih.gov
  • emedicine.com
  • sciencedaily.com
  • uwa.edu.au
  • ca-cpi.org

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