Methamphetamines affect the whole body, physically and mentally. While it is possible to quit meth cold turkey (without help or a formal treatment plan), the effects of withdrawal can be very difficult to cope with and may lead to relapse. Cessation of methamphetamine use should be explored more thoroughly to decide whether it is safe for a person to quit in this way and what to expect during withdrawal.
The cold turkey method of quitting drugs or alcohol results in the individual giving up substances suddenly. Extreme withdrawal symptoms usually occur rapidly due to the body’s dependence on the drug. A person who quits meth cold turkey may have difficulty acting in a rational way and experience episodes of depression and psychosis which can resolve within 1 week. Cravings for meth may also be present and last for up to 5 weeks. If completed successfully, a person who quits meth cold turkey can continue psychological treatment to better understand the underlying reasons for using in the first place.
Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
A person who quits meth cold turkey experiences symptoms very different from other types of drugs. Withdrawal can result in some of the following symptoms:
- Severe depression
- Altered brain chemistry
- Neurotransmitters affected (which control joy)
- Lack of pleasurable feelings or experience of pleasure (“anhedonia”)
The chance of relapse for an individual who quits meth cold turkey are very high because the person does not like the way he or she feels. To be successful at quitting meth, an individual should seek support from others who understand the process or medical professionals trained in treating acute psychological symptoms. Quitting by oneself without help can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and eventually relapse due to symptoms of severe mood disorders.
Risks of Meth Withdrawal
Methamphetamine by itself does not cause many symptoms of physical dependence but psychological withdrawal symptoms may be present and severe. An individual coming off meth can feel extremely depressed for some time. The brain will crave meth to feel high or better again. Some of the following are risks associated with quitting meth cold turkey:
- Extreme drug craving
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Psychotic symptoms
- Relapse potential goes way up
- Suicidal ideation
Alternatives to Quitting Cold Turkey
Quitting meth cold turkey is not for every individual. Tapering doses of the drug can help minimize the severity and intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Trying to quit in any fashion is a difficult, but not impossible, venture. Some key elements to being successful in quitting meth for good should include:
- Positive emotional support
- Supportive medical interventions during acute detox and withdrawal
- Ongoing psychiatric care with antidepressant drug therapy for recovery
- Longer treatment than traditional alcohol/drug treatment programs
- Modified expectations and behaviors about dealing with life after meth
- Finding meetings and people to support moving beyond addiction
Quitting methamphetamines is possible with the right tools and support. Hired Power can help you on your journey to recovery. Call today at 800-910-9299 for information on how we can help you quit meth.