Medical detox is considered to be the safest, most effective method of treating methamphetamine withdrawal. If a person is a meth user, detox can play a vital role in reducing unpleasant symptoms and preventing relapse while meth is being cleared from the body.
The duration of detox and withdrawal depends on several factors. These include the person’s “method of choice” when administering the drug, such as by smoking or injecting. The duration and intensity of use, as well as individual biological factors, also play a role.
On average, most meth is naturally cleared from the body in about 72 hours. Long-term or particularly heavy meth users may take longer to get it out of their system. Of note, most drug screens don’t detect meth after this time, but those that test using hair follicle samples can identify its presence for up to 90 days.
Meth has a half-life of about 12 hours, meaning that the concentration of a drug in a person’s body will be eliminated by 50% at that time. This also means that the effects will begin to wear off if they have not already.
At-Home Detox Methods
If a meth user is preparing for a drug test or legitimately trying to abstain, they will sometimes try to do this at home. This approach may include various methods as an attempt to expedite the process. These strategies are not clinically proven to help with meth withdrawal, however, and undergoing detox at home is strongly advised against for a number of reasons.
For one, and perhaps most importantly, meth withdrawal symptoms can be severe and highly uncomfortable. Although they are not generally thought to be life-threatening, there is always a risk for unknown adverse complications. Also, the onset of these symptoms often prompts the person to begin using again to reduce the unpleasant effects and feel better.
Secondly, an at-home detox does nothing to prevent a person from using again. Addiction is a chronic disease, and as such, should be addressed through long-term rehab programs that include therapy, counseling, and other means of support. Without professional treatment, people may not learn about the underlying causes of their addiction or develop the healthy coping skills they need to sustain sobriety for a prolonged period.
That said, there are a few ways that people who do opt to detox at home might find helpful. Keep in mind, however, that there is scientific research that shows these methods are consistently safe and effective.
Increasing Fluid Intake
One method is to increase fluid intake, especially water. Drinking an excessive amount of fluids can help to dilute the meth that is in a person’s body and increase urine output and the excretion of toxins. Some who do this also use herbal supplements or kits that claim they can help a person pass a drug test.
There are, of course, a couple of drawbacks to this approach. One, people who interpret drug test results can often identify if the urine has been diluted. This can happen by accident, but it’s usually intentional. In either case, the person will likely be required to come back and re-do the test again. And of course, there is no guarantee that this will actually work.
Two, it is possible to be overhydrated and develop a condition known as hyponatremia, which can be serious. When this occurs, the level of sodium in the bloodstream becomes low, and cells become waterlogged. This can further result in nausea, confusion, irritability, and lethargy. Death is rare but possible.
Eating Fiber or Taking Supplements or Laxatives
Another way a person might try to purge meth from the system is to excrete it through feces rather than, or in addition to, urine. Eating high fiber foods or taking fiber supplements can help facilitate this process. Laxatives could also be used on a short-term basis.
The main disadvantage of this is that the use of laxatives when there isn’t a medical problem constitutes substance abuse. Moreover, their use is not really necessary and interferes with normal bodily processes.
Abuse of laxatives can lead to severe stomach pain or cramping, as well as rectal bleeding and bloody stools. And once again, like dilution, a person who has to take a drug test should not be confident that this method will ensure a negative result.
The theory here is that intense exercise can help for a couple of different reasons. One, it will cause a person to sweat, perhaps profusely, which is another way to get meth and other substances out of a person’s system. Two, excessive exercise such as running or biking can encourage a person to drink more water, which can also help with the purge, as noted above.
As with these other methods, drawbacks include the fact that this may not be enough to pass a drug test if that is the person’s primary goal. Also, a person who is not used to that intensity of exercise could suffer from dehydration if they don’t drink enough water. They could also experience profound fatigue or other health complications that can be caused by putting way too much stress on one’s body.
Niacin is a b-vitamin that can be bought over-the-counter and is thought to help in flushing out bodily toxins. It is also said to benefit the central nervous system and metabolism.
It’s effectiveness at meth excretion notwithstanding, it’s important to know that niacin, especially when used in an excessive amount, is associated with certain unpleasant side effects. These include flushing, itchy rashes, and nausea and vomiting.
Not everyone who uses these methods does so in the hopes of passing a drug test. As noted, some people are legitimately motivated to recover from meth addiction and want as much help as they can in expediting the process. As a professional addiction treatment center, however, we can not stress enough how important it is to seek expert medical care and emotional support during this time.
Why Medical Detox Is Vital
By choosing to undergo medical detox, patients are ensuring their safety and improving their comfort. In an inpatient setting, persons are supervised around-the-clock and can be administered medications to ease many of the worst symptoms of withdrawal.
Complications can be addressed as they arise, and relapse is virtually impossible. In an outpatient environment, the above also applies, except that patients return to their homes rather than remain overnight in a facility.
Getting Treatment for Addiction
After detox, patients are urged to enroll in a comprehensive addiction treatment program, such as those offered by Midwood Addiction Treatment. Services include outpatient detox, psychotherapy, counseling, and much, much more.
Meth addiction is a devastating, lifelong disease, and those who suffer deserve to receive the very best care available. If you are struggling to stop using today, you owe it to yourself to make sure you never go back to using again.
Contact us today if you are ready to reclaim your life, free from the use of meth, other drugs, or alcohol!