You may think that a life without amphetamines is impossible considering how accustomed you may have become to having them. However, a life without amphetamines is possible. A drug-free lifestyle is achievable when you begin the detox process. A complete detoxification process can take anywhere from several days to a few weeks, so don’t be discouraged if changes are not felt immediately. At The Recovery Village, we offer the support and resources you need to make your detox possible and then continued to help you lead the way to your recovery.
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Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs
As withdrawal begins to run its course, you may notice some drastic changes in your behavior and in your state of mind. As the amphetamines exit your body, your brain chemistry changes immensely. Amphetamines are psychiatric drugs, which alter the chemical makeup of the brain. As your amphetamine addiction grew, your brain adapted to the drug’s presence and all of its chemical effects.
As you begin to wean off of the amphetamines, your brain can go into shock. Due to the fact that it is not used to functioning without the drugs, your brain may feel like it is not running properly. This feeling is one of the largest reasons why withdrawal can be such a difficult process because you are essentially reworking your brain. During withdrawal, you can face an abundance of side-effects.
- Common Physical Effects of Withdrawal:
Some of the physical effects that could be a part of your withdrawal are:
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness and blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Insomnia and restless sleep
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle tension or aches
- Common Emotional Effects of Withdrawal:
There are also some emotional effects that could accompany your withdrawal as well as:
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings
- Intense cravings
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams
The kinds of symptoms you experience and the severity of them will depend on many different factors, including:
- How long you have been using amphetamines
- The dosage of the amphetamines
- Physical health
- Psychological health
- Your chosen method of detoxification (such as tapering or quitting cold turkey)
Amphetamine Withdrawal Timeline
Individuals who decide to take the first step toward recovery should be proud of their decision, yet understand that they need to be patient during this process. Every person who misuses amphetamines can react differently to detoxification. With that in mind, our team at The Recovery Village will make sure that your treatment process is tailored specifically to you.
While it may take some people a few weeks to complete the detoxification process, it could take other people longer amounts of time. Everyone is different, but what matters most is that you are headed in the right direction, toward sobriety. To get a better idea of the process, let’s take a look at this typical timeline for a complete detox from amphetamine drugs:
- Days 1 - 3:
These first few days can be the toughest because your brain is beginning to try and function without the presence of amphetamines. During this time, you may experience restless sleep and exhaustion, as well as headaches and dizziness. Your brain is essentially craving amphetamines at this point since it’s used to having them in your system. You may also begin to feel irritable or depressed. In the most severe cases of withdrawal, people can experience paranoia, but that’s a rarer occurrence. It is important to keep in mind that your brain is going through some drastic changes, so patience is a must.
- Days 4 - 7:
At this point, it’s been almost a full week free of amphetamine use, and that’s something to be proud of. By now, the symptoms have a possibility of lessening in severity although cravings are likely to persist. Typically, by now, the worst part of amphetamine detox is over. You may still feel very fatigued, but you’re headed in the right direction.
- Days 8 - 14:
As you approach the end of your second week, you may begin to experience insomnia, and when sleep is a viable option, there’s a possibility of experiencing unpleasant dreams. The good news is that your hunger levels should return to normal after being suppressed by the amphetamines. You may continue to feel moody, but that means that your brain is continuing to work through the amphetamine withdrawal process.
- Days 15 - 28:
Throughout the end of your first month of detox, some symptoms from your second week can linger, such as having cravings. But at this point, the amphetamines should be completely out of your system.
It is important to remember that this is not a set timeline of how your amphetamine detox will progress. Instead, view this as a guide to help you understand the detox process better. Specific recovery times vary for each person. It all depends on your own individual situation and your own chemical makeup. Recovery is not a race, so be proud of yourself for working towards recovery.
Experiencing some setbacks is a common part of the recovery process. Do not give up. It may take you more than one round of amphetamine detox to enter and maintain recovery. This is more common if you attempted your first detox experience at home and without proper medical supervision. At-home detox presents a number of additional difficulties that you wouldn’t face at an accredited detox center. The Recovery Village offers inpatient treatment with 24-hour care by trained medical professionals to ensure your detox is safe, secure, and more likely to succeed. If an inpatient center is not an available choice for you, outpatient treatment is also an option that is available to you.
Another problem with attempting a detox at home is the fact that many people choose to do it cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey means suddenly stopping amphetamine intake, rather than gradually weaning off of the drug. This method can cause intense symptoms to appear sooner and be more detrimental to your detoxification process and overall recovery. To avoid any unnecessary setbacks, seek proper medical attention at a detox center closest to you for professional help.
On rare occasions, an unsupervised detox attempt can result in death, particularly when heroin or alcohol are also being misused. In addition to this risk, there could be an underlying mental illness that was masked by the presence of the drug. For example, the presence of depression can cause suicidal thoughts. To prevent these kinds of dangerous situations, it’s important to go undergo a medically-supervised amphetamine detox.
Amphetamine Withdrawal Medications
In some cases, doctors may recommend the use of pharmaceuticals to help you on your detox journey. Depending on the symptoms that accompany your amphetamine withdrawal, there are various medications that can be used to help alleviate those symptoms and allow you to focus on your detox. Some medications commonly used are:
- Antidepressants –
Depression is a common side effect during withdrawal. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant such as sertraline (Zoloft.)
- Anti-Anxiety Medications –
During withdrawal, you may experience high levels of anxiety. A benzodiazepine may be prescribed to regulate anxious feelings, but take these with caution as they have the potential to be addictive.
- Sleep Aids –
After the initial energy crash that follows the stop of amphetamine use, many people experience insomnia. Over-the-counter options, like melatonin, can be useful to you to help regulate your sleep schedule. Your doctor will work with you to establish what is best for you.
- Secondary Symptom Assistance –
In order to ensure your comfort, your medical team will seek to relieve the minor side effects that accompany the withdrawal process. They may use over-the-counter medications for nausea, headaches and body aches.
- Medications for Other Substance Addictions –
People who have an addiction to amphetamines can sometimes be addicted to other substances as well, meaning treatment medications need to be adjusted. Alcohol use disorder is a common co-occurring disorder. If you have this, your doctor may prescribe disulfiram. The medication isn’t harmful, it’s a deterrent. Opiate addiction is another condition that commonly occurs during amphetamine misuse. The opioid methadone can help people who struggle with addiction manage their cravings and avoid a setback in their recovery.
Amphetamine Detox: How to Safely Detox
To begin your amphetamine detox, you must first go through an evaluation. This step is critical in beginning your journey toward recovery. During this step, a medical professional will evaluate your symptoms and your usage of amphetamines to determine the proper detox and treatment plan.
After the evaluation is detoxification. This stage begins as soon as you stop misusing amphetamines. Your body begins to work hard in order to rid itself of the drug. There are several different detox programs available and it’s important to find one that’s right for you. Our staff at The Recovery Village is available to help you through the ups and downs of the detoxification process and to make it as comfortable as possible.
Once detoxification is complete, the process does not end. Continuing with aftercare is crucial to your success. While your body may be physically rid of amphetamines, your mind is still recovering. During this time it is pivotal to learn and embrace strong sober living tools that will help you resist the temptations of amphetamine usage.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.