Recovering From Meth Addiction — Everything You Need to Know

January 24, 2023

Meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet, both in terms of the impact it has on your health and how quickly it can devolve from recreational use to a full-blown addiction, which means that recovering from meth can be extremely difficult.

When people do meth, either by smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injecting, they experience an intense and elevated mood that involves hyper-focus, hyper-awareness, and an intense feeling of euphoria that can last for many hours (and sometimes days).

One of the drug’s most addictive qualities is the illusion that you can be high-functioning when you’re on it. However, that illusion is just one of the drug’s many effects, and the reality is that people using meth can rarely perform basic responsibilities.

The brain and body are not meant to function in this high-stress, hyper-aware mode, so prolonged use of the drug can result in severe physical and mental health issues that can take months and even years to recover from — if you ever recover at all.

Depending on how long meth has been abused, there may be some tooth decay, skin damage, and loss of brain function that won’t ever fully return, but in most cases, people who quit using meth can make full recoveries in all areas of their life.

At ASIC Recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is dedicated to helping individuals develop healthier habits and build a life in long term recovery.

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Here’s everything you need to know about recovering from meth addiction.

Quick Facts About Meth

All drugs are dangerous when used in excess, but meth is more dangerous than many other drugs in a few key ways:

The good news is that, for many meth users, it is possible to be yourself again once you quit, though it may take months or a couple of years to get back to your old self.

Detoxing From Meth

Fully detoxing from meth can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on how long you’ve been using, but most withdrawal symptoms will pass in a few weeks.

Immediate meth withdrawal symptoms include:

Long-term withdrawal symptoms include:

It’s important to speak with a doctor if you’re worried about what effects quitting may have on your body. Unlike other drugs, simply lowering the dosages until withdrawal symptoms are minimized may not be an option, and quitting cold turkey can have some nasty effects.

One of the main worries about meth withdrawals in the short term is dehydration. This will generally be worst in the first 24-48 hours, but if the body is hydrated properly, it could pass quicker. Some users experience hallucinations at this point, but not all.

As for the long-term risks, depression is top of the list. Due to the damage caused by prolonged drug use (which depletes serotonin and dopamine levels), it may be a while before you can experience pleasure like you once were able to.

Going to Rehab for Meth Addiction

If you find yourself completely powerless to overcome your addiction, and there’s no environment you can move to that can eliminate all the factors that contribute to your drug use, then you might find that admitting yourself to rehab is your best option.

The decision to go to rehab will not be an easy one. Going to rehab means leaving the comforts of your home, your drug or drugs of choice, and your life.

And when you get back, things may never be the same, mostly for the better, but even that can feel like a scary proposition sometimes.

However, once a drug has taken control over your life, significant, scary changes are the only viable option if you want to get it back. 

Rehabs are specifically designed to create environments that give addicts the greatest shot at overcoming their addiction. They remove all stressors, all triggers, all drugs except the ones that can aid in recovery, and provide a peaceful and relaxing environment to recuperate in.

Reasons Why Rehab May be the Right Move

Rehab isn’t for everyone, but there are tons of benefits to going — here are just a few.

Community

One of the greatest resources in rehab is providing people with an entire community who can help (and who are going through the same process). Most people who suffer from drug addiction suffer alone, but rehab provides a space where people can heal together.

Relationships

Rehab can save your relationships. Most people tend to distance themselves from others when they fall victim to drug addiction. However, joining rehab shows that you have a commitment to healing, which can be enough to bring people back into your life.

You will also meet plenty of people in rehab who are trying to change their lives too. It’s likely you’ll make some lifelong friends, friends who are living a healthy way of life and can replace toxic friends from your past.

Detoxing Safely

As mentioned, detoxing from amphetamines can pose serious health risks, especially for your mental health. By detoxing in a rehab facility, you will be able to recover with every available resource and significantly lower the risk of relapsing during the withdrawal period.

You’ll also have access, in some rehabs, to doctors or other medical professionals who can treat you if you struggle with hallucinations, psychosis, or some of the other more serious effects of meth use.

Learn Healthy Coping Habits

Rehab is a place where people learn healthy ways to cope with life’s difficulties. Drug addiction is often a way of dealing with emotional pain or stress. Rehab will show you a number of ways to alleviate or safely deal with these issues without using drugs.

Rehab Is Cheaper Than Addiction

Sure, rehab may have a higher up-front cost than a baggie of meth, but over time, three months of rehab will be far cheaper than a lifetime of drug use.

Remember, you’re not just paying for the drugs — you’re paying for the secondary costs of drug use, such as fines, court costs, medical expenses, or damaged/destroyed property, just to name a few.

Recovering from Meth Addiction After You Leave Rehab

The good news about the meth recovery process is that, if you can stay sober, there is an incredibly high probability that you make a full recovery.

Here are a few ways you can help ensure your meth addiction remains in your past.

Get a New Social Circle

This part can be as difficult as quitting the drug, but if certain friends of yours are still using meth, or if they have a lifestyle that you find triggers your meth cravings, then you will need to leave them behind until the situation changes.

The good news is that there are millions of people trying to recover from meth, many of whom live right in your area. You’ll find these people at places like 12-step groups and SMART recovery groups. Forming a new social circle will be much easier than you think.

Join a 12-Step Fellowship

There are 12-step groups all over the country, and there’s likely one near you. 12-step groups (like Crystal Meth Anonymous) connect users with others who have been in their shoes and can take them through the 12 steps of recovery.

When you get a sponsor, their sole purpose is to take you through the 12 steps so that you can be free from addiction. However, along the way, it’s likely you’ll become good friends too, widening that social circle of healthy people in your life.

Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is one of the best tools out there for overcoming addiction and changing addictive and destructive behaviors.

CBT shows people the close connection between thought and behavior and teaches them healthy thought patterns that can change how they act and react.

CBT has helped many people overcome addiction by allowing them to take a step back and critically analyze their beliefs about drugs and the triggers that stimulate cravings.

People have what are called “automatic negative thoughts” that they never realize have impacted their actions in a significant way. 

Most of the time, automatic negative thoughts are not true or are only true because people have believed them for so long, and they can be quickly changed with the right guidance.

For example, most drug addicts will have the thought “Using helps me feel better about stressful events in my life, so it’s a form of self-care.” The thought might not be in so many words, but variations of it occur in nearly all users.

When applying CBT, that thought will be transformed into something like “Using only delays dealing with stressful events and can actually cause more stress down the road.” And with simple mindset changes like that, people can begin thinking about their addiction in a new light.

That’s just one of the countless new perspectives that CBT can offer you as you work to overcome the psychological component of addiction.

Try a Fresh Start

There are a number of reasons why moving cities or states won’t be feasible for everyone, but for those who can move, it’s actually a lot more common than you might think. Many people go to rehab in another state to get away from the people, places, and things that trigger them and end up staying in that state permanently.

Moving can be a great way for eliminating specific triggers, but it should not be thought of as a substitute for dealing with issues.

This step should be made toward the tail end of your recovery since moving can be an incredibly stressful experience, rife with psychological triggers that may bring cravings. 

Another reason why it’s good to use moving as a last and final step is because people too often believe that changing locations is enough to change their behavior — this is far from the truth.

If you move without reconciling the factors that contributed to your addiction, you are just packing your addiction in with your clothes and moving it right along with you. However, if you’ve tried everything to quit, even going to rehab locally, and you keep going back to the same people and places that trigger you, moving might be a good option.

Healthy Social Activities

Recreational sports leagues, group yoga, hiking with friends, rock climbing, and camping are just a few things you can do that can boost endorphins and create a strong sense of satisfaction after doing them. 

Recovering addicts often find that one of the most rewarding things they can do once they regain control over their life is to give back to the community that helped them recover. A lot of times, this comes in the form of becoming a sponsor in a 12-step group or just volunteering to help at local charities.

In the same way that finding a sponsor adds a level of accountability to your recovery, becoming a sponsor does the exact same thing. When you have people calling you regularly for help, you’re more likely to stay plugged into a group.

Similarly, when you’re regularly telling other people how to stay sober, it’s a good incentive to do the same things you’re telling them to do.

Finding Hobbies You Enjoy

The flip side of finding healthy social activities is finding hobbies that you can enjoy when you’re alone.

This can be any number of artistic endeavors such as painting, playing music, writing or journaling, and more. There are thousands upon thousands of hobbies you can pick up, and overcoming your addiction will give you both the free time and a little extra cash to explore as many as you’d like.

Recovering From Meth Is Possible… With a Little Help

Almost no one recovers from meth addiction on their own. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether that be by going to a 12-step group, going to rehab, or joining an IOP program, like we offer.

IOP at ASIC Recovery

Are you looking for addiction treatment in Texas? At ASIC recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is dedicated to helping you develop healthier coping skills and build a supportive recovery network.

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