How To Quit Meth: Can You Quit Meth Without Help?
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Last Updated - 07/13/2021View our editorial policy
It can be difficult to stop meth use alone, but addiction rehabilitation centers can help make the recovery process easier, less dangerous and more effective.
Meth, short for methamphetamine, is a powerful and addictive drug. As a stimulant, it can cause sensations of heightened alertness, increased energy and euphoria. In addition to creating these sensations, meth releases a variety of pleasure-related chemicals in the brain. These pleasurable feelings may cause someone to seek out and continue using the drug, which can easily lead to addiction. Ending meth use can be difficult, but it’s easier with help.
Meth triggers the release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for the sensation of pleasure, and they are released in artificially high amounts when meth is used. This artificial sensation of pleasure is much stronger than normal feelings of pleasure; it can cause changes in the brain that make a person more likely to use meth again in the future. These effects are what causes addiction.
While statistics within the last year are not available, many experts have expressed concern that recreational drug use is rising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the stressors surrounding the pandemic are causing relapse rates to increase.
What Happens When You Quit Meth?
Quitting meth will be a different experience for everyone, as the process depends on how much meth was being used and for how long. After quitting meth, a person will usually experience a physical crash as their feelings of increased energy and stimulation wear off. Following this, withdrawal symptoms will occur that mainly affect mood and thoughts.
Meth Detox and Withdrawal
Meth is a stimulant that speeds up systems in the body and allows someone to have much more energy than they normally would. When meth wears off, a person will feel a very severe and deep fatigue. This is caused by a combination of expended energy and the absence of meth’s stimulating effects. Someone detoxing from meth will likely spend the majority of one to three days sleeping. This initial crash will eventually wear off as energy is restored.
Meth does cause some withdrawal symptoms, but unlike most other substances, meth causes very few physical symptoms. However, the psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal can be very difficult to overcome. Meth artificially increases levels of dopamine in the brain, and the brain responds to this by decreasing its sensitivity to dopamine over time. Dopamine levels will decrease back to normal when meth use stops, but the brain will still be less sensitive for some time. This causes dopamine to have less of an effect on the brain, causing anxiety, depression and other mood changes.
The anxiety and depression caused by meth withdrawal can be very severe; in extreme situations, it may cause someone to consider suicide. These negative emotions are chemically driven and will be almost impossible to control until brain chemistry normalizes. These symptoms can last for two to five weeks or even longer in some situations. Additional symptoms may include hallucinations and strong cravings for meth. These cravings can last for months.
Can Someone Quit Meth Without Help?
Quitting meth without help is less dangerous than with some other substances, but it is not normally recommended. There are several things you can do, and certain medications can help relieve the severe depression, anxiety and cravings caused by meth withdrawal.
Trying to quit without help will certainly make it harder to quit. The support of professional experts can provide a more encouraging environment for the moments of weakness that often accompany detox.
Techniques for Quitting Meth
There are many different techniques that can be used to quit meth. These include:
- Cold turkey: Quitting cold turkey means suddenly stopping meth use. This causes withdrawal symptoms to start suddenly, making it a harder way to quit.
- Taper: Tapering involves gradually stopping meth use. This helps a person ease into withdrawal and can make withdrawal symptoms less intense.
- At home: Similar to quitting cold turkey, this involves quitting completely by yourself. The method is cheap and usually unsuccessful, as the absence of medications and professional support often leads people to relapse within a few weeks.
- Detox center: Detox centers specialize in helping people detox from meth. They help patients through the initial step of stopping but do not provide services past the detox stage.
- Rehab: Rehab centers are the most well-rounded option. In addition to helping people through the withdrawal process, rehab facilities provide support in the weeks and months after by teaching strategies that help clients remain sober.
When thinking about quitting meth, it is tempting to stop after the first step of detox. However, many people who only attend detox end up relapsing weeks or months later. It is wise to consider a treatment option that is focused on long-term recovery. These programs can help you quit meth and learn strategies and approaches to avoid relapse after treatment.
What Makes a Person Quitting Meth Relapse?
Many things can contribute to a meth relapse. Cravings are an obvious factor, but the psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal can contrast vividly with how meth makes someone feel. Thinking about these feelings can be enough to push someone back into using meth.
It’s also important to consider the underlying problems that drive people to meth in the first place, as well as the habits and triggers that support meth use. For example, one person may use meth to escape from the realities of past abuse; they may be triggered into meth use whenever they feel rejected or inadequate. Another person may use meth in party situations to make themselves feel more socially competent; they may be triggered to use meth when they anticipate being at a social event.
The underlying psychological drivers are complex and often occur on a subconscious level, and they will be very different for each individual. This is why working with a professional therapist to identify triggers and subconscious drives is vital to long-term success.
Why Meth Addiction Treatment Is Highly Recommended
Recovery is more likely to be successful with the support of medical experts who are trained in helping people through the process. Professional addiction treatment provides what is called a therapeutic milieu — a supportive and inclusive environment that allows people to heal without fearing judgment. This includes behavioral therapies, peer support and other environmental considerations that help with treating addiction.
The mental health and addiction specialists who work in rehab centers also play a vital role in recovery, helping clients identify subconscious thoughts and beliefs that influence their behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of treatment used in rehab facilities, and the approach has a good record of success.
Finding the Right Meth Treatment
Trying to quit meth by yourself may seem like the easy option, but it’s difficult to achieve long-term success without professional support. The Recovery Village at Baptist Health has a strong record of helping those with meth addiction achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. Our caring representatives are here to make the admission process as easy as possible. Contact us today to learn how to get started on the road to your recovery.
Some frequently asked questions include:
How hard is it to quit meth?
Quitting meth causes a variety of difficult withdrawal symptoms, and staying sober can be especially hard. Achieving long-term recovery often requires the support of trained professionals.
How long does it take to detox from meth?
The time it takes to detox from meth varies significantly between individuals. It is difficult to create an average timeline.
Can you quit meth cold turkey?
Quitting meth cold turkey is usually not dangerous, but it is recommended that you talk to your doctor before ending meth use abruptly.
What percent of people quit meth without treatment?
Studies show that about 5% of people who quit meth by themselves are able to stop using meth and avoid relapse for at least five years.
Can your body recover after quitting meth?
The sooner you stop using meth and the longer you go without it, the better off your body will be. People can recover after quitting meth, but only your doctor can tell you if this is possible in your specific situation.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Methamphetamine Research Report: What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?” October 2019. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Streater, Sherneka. “As Florida Grapples With Opioid Addiction, Meth Emerges As Threat In Panhandle.” WFSU News, September 25, 2019. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Jack, Christine. “COVID-19 lockdown has changed how we use recreational drugs.” Massive Science, September 29, 2020. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Fritscher, Lisa. “What Is a Therapeutic Milieu?” Verywell Mind, February 24, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Wilkerson, May. “Why Do Meth Addicts Have Such a High Relapse Rate?” The Fix, August 2, 2012. Accessed November 17, 2020.