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What Does Recovery from Meth Look Like?

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Meth-related substance use disorders (SUD) are rising in the United States, with a 22% increase in self-reported use between 2015 and 2019.

November 30 is National Meth Awareness Day. It strives to bring attention to the adverse effects of meth-related SUDs, promote awareness around prevention, and show that recovery from meth use is possible.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a meth addiction, you have options. Many treatment centers offer programs to help you detox and recover from meth. You can have your life back.

How Does Meth Work?

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that affects your central nervous system. It can be used in many forms, including smoking, snorting, pills, and injections. 

Regardless of how you use it, meth increases the dopamine you naturally have in your brain. The fast releases of dopamine, also known as the feel-good hormone, make meth highly addictive. 

The high from meth both starts and fades quickly, which often leads to a pattern of frequent use.

Meth Addiction: Symptoms and Side Effects

Dependency on meth can happen rapidly due to the fast-acting nature of the drug. You must know what to look for to determine whether you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction.

The most common symptoms of meth-related SUD include:

  • Physical symptoms – Weight loss, rotting teeth, increased acne or itchiness, seizures, insomnia
  • Mood-based symptoms – Anxiety, panic, restlessness, aggression, depression, violent mood swings
  • Behavioral symptoms – Risk-taking, increased sexual activity, violence, loss of control, stealing, withdrawal
  • Psychological symptoms – Confusion, memory loss, paranoia, disorganization, hallucinations, psychosis

These are only examples of some of the noticeable signs of meth addiction. Prolonged meth use can have other effects on your health that may be less visible to others.

The short-term or immediate effects of meth include:

  • Intense rush or euphoria
  • Increased heart rate
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Changes in appetite

The long-term effects of meth include:

  • Organ damage – liver, kidney, and lungs
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Changes in brain structure and function
  • Death
  • Loss of interpersonal relationships
  • Unemployment
  • Domestic violence

Meth can have severe consequences in every area of your life. Some of the effects listed above can be permanent or take a long time to heal. Addiction can cost you your health, loved ones, career, and much more. 

When you’re in the throes of a meth-related SUD, it can feel like there’s no way out. The good news is that you can recover from meth, and many people have done so. With patience and commitment, you can break the cycle.

5 Stages of Meth Recovery

Recovery always starts with a decision: your decision to take the next step. Once you’ve chosen to begin your healing journey, you will likely experience a sequence of phases typical to most people’s recovery from meth.

The five stages of meth recovery are:

1. Withdrawal

The inevitable first stage of recovery from any substance is withdrawal. Withdrawal usually takes place over the first two weeks of recovery and can be both difficult and painful.

Typical symptoms of withdrawal might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Appetite changes
  • Anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations

You should always undergo withdrawal in a safe environment, like a recovery center. Withdrawing alone can be dangerous. Having trained professionals to monitor you will keep you safe and prevent relapse.

2. Honeymoon

Once you’ve successfully pushed through the withdrawal phase, you’ll start to notice positive physical and psychological changes. Your cravings may fade, you’ll feel stronger, and your moods will be more stable.

The honeymoon phase can be dangerous because many people believe they’ve successfully recovered by this point. If you leave your program during the honeymoon, you have a high chance of relapsing–the recovery process is not yet over.

3. The Wall

The wall is a complicated stage of recovery when relapse is highly likely. The positive feelings that came during the honeymoon will start to wear off. Many people will feel irritable, have low energy, experience insomnia, or have difficulty concentrating.

This stage can last for one or two months. It’s a normal part of the process, but it can feel challenging. Many people may believe the symptoms that occur during this period will be permanent, which can lead to relapse.

Whether you’ve made it to this point in your recovery or you’re looking ahead, know that the Wall is only temporary. If you stay committed, you’ll move on to the subsequent recovery phase.

4. Adjustment

After about four months, you arrive at the adjustment stage. Your risk of relapse goes down significantly, and you are through the worst of it.

Emerging on the other side of the Wall is a significant accomplishment. You may feel empowered and optimistic, ready to take on your new life.

5. Resolution

The final stage of recovery from a meth-related SUD is resolution: six months of sobriety. By this point, you’ve transitioned from actively detoxing and learning to live without meth to focusing on building your life back up.

Resolution is the final stage of initial recovery. While recovery is a lifelong process, reaching the resolution stage is a milestone achievement, and you should be proud of yourself.

How to Avoid Relapse During Meth Recovery

Relapse is a common challenge every person in recovery must face. Relapse is likely in the early stages of recovery, but it can happen anytime. 

Typical causes of relapse may be:

  • Stress
  • Cravings or withdrawal symptoms
  • Social or environmental pressures
  • Negative emotions
  • Holidays or celebrations

If you want to avoid relapse, there are several precautions you can take:

  • Knowing your triggers and planning your response
  • Stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness
  • Avoiding places or people who may influence you negatively
  • Committing to your treatment long-term
  • Adopting a new hobby

Recovery is different for everyone, meaning your triggers and the steps you take to work with them will be unique to you. Be patient with yourself, and remember that significant changes like these take time.

Start Your Recovery From Meth Today

If you’re ready to start your recovery from meth, Jackson House Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers is here for you. We specialize in recovery from many SUDs, including meth addiction. Reach out today and learn how we can help.

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