Drug addiction can have serious consequences not only on the person struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), but it can also have a ripple effect on their loved ones. It can destroy relationships, cause financial problems and contribute to poor mental health.
Ice is a particularly powerful and addictive drug, with severe mental and physical health consequences. If you or someone you love is struggling with Ice addiction, it is important to get support and help. Fortunately, there is a lot of help available in the US and substance abuse can be overcome.
Detoxing from Ice can be an uncomfortable experience, but with the correct medical supervision, it can be achieved from the comfort of your own home. Home detox can make the experience more comfortable, private, and allow you to be around loved ones through this difficult time.
What Is Ice?
Ice is another name used for Crystal Meth. It is a highly powerful stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. Other names for crystal meth include:
This is due to its appearance, which resembles small crystals or pieces of glass. Crystal meth is odorless and colorless. It is also incredibly dangerous and addictive.
Its chemistry is similar to methamphetamine which is sometimes used to help those with ADHD. Methamphetamine is currently a Schedule II drug, which means that it has limited medicinal use in the United States but has a high potential for drug abuse. Crystal meth, however, is not used as a form of legal treatment and it is manufactured illegally and taken recreationally.
Crystal meth is synthetic, meaning it is not derived naturally. It is created in illegal laboratories across the US and in other countries. It is made with a combination of over-the-counter medication, such as cough and cold medicine, and toxic substances that are available to buy such as antifreeze, battery acid, cleaners, and fuels.
What Are the Effects of Crystal Meth?
The effects of crystal meth are very powerful, which is what helps to make it such an addictive drug. Once taken, it will give the user intense feelings of euphoria because it floods the body with dopamine. Dopamine is the body’s chemical that promotes feelings of pleasure and happiness.
This euphoric feeling is much longer-lasting than other drugs with similar effects, such as cocaine. Taking crystal meth can produce feelings of euphoria for up to twelve hours.
It also boosts libido and sexual pleasure and makes the user feel self-confident. It can also give the person on crystal meth a feeling of being invincible, being very alert, and having a more focused concentration.
There are many negative consequences of crystal meth use. These include:
- Changes to brain function and parts of the brain in charge of memory and emotion
- Aggression or violent behavior
- Severe depression
- Skin sores, as a result of compulsive skin picking
- Obsessive and repetitive behaviors
Meth mouth is the name given to the unpleasant side effect of rotting and decaying teeth. This is due to some of the acids which can be present in crystal meth such as battery acid, hydrochloric acid, and drain cleaner. Tooth decay caused by meth mouth can also happen because those with a meth addiction will often neglect dental hygiene, grind their teeth whilst high, have a dry mouth, and drink sugary drinks.
How Is Crystal Meth Taken?
It is common for someone taking crystal meth to smoke it through a glass pipe. It can also be swallowed, snorted, inserted through the anus, or injected.
Injecting crystal meth is especially dangerous as it puts you at risk of various other health complications and diseases.
What Are the Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?
Stopping taking crystal meth can produce a series of intense withdrawal symptoms, making the risk of relapse high. Crystal meth withdrawal results in both physical symptoms and psychological symptoms. Each person’s withdrawal will be unique to them, but some common withdrawal symptoms to expect include:
- Mood swings
- Intense cravings
- Symptoms similar to flu
- Extreme fatigue and excessive sleepiness
- Depressive symptoms
Some more serious side effects associated with withdrawing from crystal meth include the following symptoms of withdrawal:
- Severe depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Risk of overdose on relapse
- Self-harm as a consequence of depressive thoughts
It is important to have the correct support system in place when going through detox due to the mental health effects that withdrawal can incur. Many people will go through meth binges in order to alleviate the intense withdrawal symptoms, which is incredibly dangerous.
What Is the Withdrawal Process?
The withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth are mainly psychological and emotional. Unlike drugs such as alcohol where the physical withdrawal symptoms are very dangerous, the physical symptoms from meth withdrawal are uncomfortable but generally not life-threatening. The life-threatening effects usually come from a desire to cause physical harm to yourself due to feelings of depression and emotional instability.
As the body gradually gets used to not having crystal meth present in the system, the withdrawal symptoms will start to ease. The timeline for crystal meth withdrawal is generally divided into two.
The first stage consists of initial crystal meth withdrawal symptoms which begin developing in the first twenty-four hours. The first twenty-four to forty-eight hours are generally the toughest period of crystal meth withdrawal, in which you will experience a ‘crash’. Going through this initial withdrawal, which lasts around a week, you might experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. You will also experience a lack of energy and your mental health will decline. Due to the water lost from sweating, it is important to stay hydrated in this phase.
During the second phase, your symptoms will generally begin to ease and it lasts for another two to three weeks. Unfortunately, some people develop what is known as Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). This is where withdrawal symptoms last for months after they have last used meth.
What Is the Detox Process for an At-Home Detox?
There are two options when it comes to crystal meth detox. You can either choose to do it at a detox center or at home.
For many people, detoxing at a center will be recommended, however, there are benefits of doing an at-home detox. These include:
- Family member’s or loved one’s support
- Providing privacy
- A sense of comfort and familiarity
- Generally less expensive
Due to the serious emotional instability and mental health consequences that can result from crystal meth withdrawal, it is vital to go through an at-home detox under the guidance of licensed medical professionals. Do not attempt this alone; the psychological effects can be incredibly serious and it is vital that you are correctly supported.
During a home detox, a medical professional will monitor and support you in the meth withdrawal process. A medically supervised detox will give you the safest experience and reduce your chance of relapse.
You will be assessed by a doctor so as to establish your current and past mental and physical health so that you can be given a personalized detox plan. Although no medications have been approved to make the detox faster, you may be given certain medications to ease some of the crystal meth withdrawal symptoms.
A detox will last roughly two weeks, but the timeline and intensity can vary slightly depending on factors such as age and length of addiction. A health professional will check up on you to make sure that there are no medical complications and give you support.
What Can I Expect From Further Meth Addiction Treatment?
Going through detox either at home or at a detox facility is just the first step in recovery. The next stage is treating the psychological symptoms and the root cause of the addiction.
Fortunately, addiction treatment options are available in order to help tackle your crystal meth addiction and begin recovery. After detox, it is generally advised, especially for long-term meth users or those with health conditions, to attend a treatment facility for at least one month. In your rehab program, you will get immersive twenty-four-hour support from health professionals, providing you with medical care and psychological support. This helps to control your meth cravings so you don’t relapse and promotes long-term recovery.
For those with a shorter-term crystal meth addiction, outpatient rehab could be an option. Outpatient programs allow you to continue your responsibilities in life whilst also receiving support. Treatment involves addressing the psychological reasons for addiction, and someone receiving treatment will attend counseling or therapy. They may attend group therapy, individual therapy, and 12-step support groups.
The recovery journey may feel intimidating, but deciding to embark on it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Undergoing detox at home will mean that a family member or friend can support you through this difficult time. It also allows you to continue with your life and is more cost-effective.
Before deciding to undergo an at-home meth detox, speak to your doctor to establish whether this is a safe option for you. Crystal meth abuse is something that can be overcome, and with the valuable advice and support from health professionals, it can be achieved from your own home.