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We might have heard about methamphetamine (meth) from the news or the TV program Breaking Bad, but what do we really know about it?
Meth is a stimulant drug used and abused throughout the United States. A 2019 survey found that about 1.9 million U.S. adults used methamphetamine in the previous month.
Users snort, smoke, inject, and even try to eat meth. The chronic use of meth can lead to potentially irreversible brain damage and permanent memory problems.
With repeated use of this substance, people might become tolerant, or accustomed to its effects. They could also become addicted.
If a person who is addicted to meth tries to stop abruptly, they might experience withdrawal symptoms that could make it difficult to quit. They might use more drugs to stop their pain or discomfort.
But using meth can cause overdoses, so it’s important to be familiar with meth overdose symptoms.
Given the dangers of meth, you might want to stop using the drug. If you’re wondering how to get meth out of your system safely and comfortably, we can answer your questions and help you find experienced professional assistance.
At-home detox methods
People might want to detox so they can pass a drug test for meth. They might choose to remove drugs from their bodies, or detox, at home. They believe that an at-home detox is more confidential and inexpensive, an alternative to receiving care at a center.
But detox is a procedure that can produce a number of outcomes, many of them negative. If a person undergoes an at-home detox, they should speak with medical professionals because complications can arise when people withdraw from meth or other substances.
Detox procedures are different for different people. People might wonder, How long does meth withdrawal last?, and the answer depends on the severity of a person’s addiction, their overall health, and other factors. Doing certain things might help people detox at home on their own, but in many instances, these practices simply aren’t safe.
Increasing fluid intake
Using meth may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. A person detoxing from meth needs to increase their fluid intake in order to prevent dehydration. Drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade can help restore an electrolyte imbalance.
Water provides nutrients and removes waste from the body. An increase in fluids can help to dilute meth and other substances so people can excrete them through urinating or sweating.
Drinking water, sports drinks, and other beverages – and eating soups and other foods with high water contents – are all ways to flush toxic substances out of the body when people are coming down from meth.
Despite the benefits of water and fluids, people still need to be careful. If people drink too much water and it doesn’t contain electrolytes, the excess water can dilute the amount of sodium in their bodies, a condition known as hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia can cause dizziness, confusion, cramping muscles, nausea, headaches, and even seizures, comas, and death. These symptoms are similar to many of the symptoms of dehydration, so doctors urge people to monitor whether they’re consuming too little or too much water and other fluids.
Otherwise healthy people can develop the condition. A seventeen-year-old high school athlete who competed in football and track died after drinking two gallons of water and two gallons of a sports drink. After drinking the beverages, he suffered from cramps and confusion. Although he was transported to a hospital by helicopter, relatives said that he died from massive brain swelling.
Using fiber, supplements, or laxatives
Although we might not talk about it, it’s a fact – most of us get constipated from time to time.
Incorporating more fluids and fiber into our diets can help us relieve that constipation. When people can’t go, they can’t remove toxins from their bodies that are found in fecal matter.
Eating a high fiber diet can help a person excrete meth and other substances through fecal matter. People mainly excrete meth through their urine, but they also can eliminate it through their feces and sweat.
Using laxatives is another way some people remove toxins. Foods and beverages that contain natural laxatives include water, fresh fruits, vegetables, oats, chia seeds, coffee, prunes, and whole grains.
Food- and drink-based natural laxatives are safer options than using over-the-counter laxatives, which can produce serious side effects. Over-the-counter products are not safe for long-term use and can lead to dependency and decreased bowel function.
Stimulant drugs such as meth can reduce a person’s appetite and can lead to poor nutrition and weight loss. Therefore, people in detox and treatment sometimes take vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamins A and C, different B vitamins, and zinc to aid in the recovery process.
Caution is needed when using fiber, laxatives, or supplements, however. People who are recovering from a meth addiction might be dehydrated or malnourished. If they use laxatives or fiber, it could make them use the bathroom frequently, which could dehydrate them even further.
While people who are detoxing want to eliminate toxins, they don’t want to eliminate everything. But by using laxatives, they could be flushing out meth as well as valuable nutrients.
Some laxatives are known as stool softeners because they soften fecal matter and promote bowel movements. Depending on the type, they can be taken rectally or orally, but people should use them with caution.
That’s because in 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that laxatives containing sodium phosphate have been linked to 13 deaths. If people use a laxative but fail to have a bowel movement, the laxatives may dehydrate them and/or affect the electrolyte levels in their blood.
Due to these risks, the FDA recommends that people who have health conditions should talk with doctors or other medical professionals if they’re considering using laxatives. Professionals at rehab centers can determine whether people should use laxatives, supplements, or medications, and will monitor them if they do.
Exercising and sweating out toxins
Did you know that just two hours after using it, meth can be detected in your sweat?
Since you can eliminate the drug by sweating, some people exercise intensely to remove meth and other toxins from their systems. Other people stimulate sweat production through steam baths, saunas, or massages.
According to practitioners at the 13th International Symposium of The Institute for Functional Medicine, yoga, regular exercise, and lymphatic massage can flush toxins from tissues so the body can detoxify itself. They add that these practices also improve the flow of lymph, a bodily fluid that carries waste products.
In this view, exercise ensures that vital organs are healthy and can help circulate and eliminate meth and other toxins.
But people should be careful when exercising. If they’ve been addicted to meth or other drugs, their bodies might be weak and unable to handle the demands of physical fitness. If people are already dehydrated from detoxing, intense exercise could sap even more valuable fluids from their bodies.
Finally, if people are addicted to meth and are trying to detox, they might be more prone to addictions and compulsive behaviors in general. They might begin to compulsively exercise, and it may dominate their lives just as meth once did.
Experts are divided as to whether exercise addictions exist. Some say that people who exercise excessively share many traits with people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs since both groups:
- Suffer negative effects such as anxiety when they withdraw from certain activities or substances.
- Feel compelled to perform activities or use substances at higher levels because they’ve become tolerant to them.
- Find it difficult to stop using substances or performing activities, even if they’ve vowed to stop.
- Spend long stretches of time exercising or using drugs or alcohol instead of engaging in other activities they once enjoyed.
- Continue using substances or exercising despite the problems these behaviors have caused and are causing in their lives.
If people work out too much, they can hurt their muscles. They can also develop rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo), a condition in which the kidneys can’t filter exercise-related cellular material from the blood. This can lead to permanent kidney damage, disability, and even death.
Exchanging excessive exercise for meth, then, could be trading one addiction or compulsion for another. Professional assistance can help people detox from meth and determine why people use it instead of encouraging additional dangerous dependencies.
Adding Niacin (vitamin B3)
Some people use niacin (vitamin B3) to remove toxins from their cells.
When people receive the right amount of niacin, it can serve as an antioxidant, which means it protects against cell damage and possibly disease. Niacin can also build and fix our DNA, help create fats, control cholesterol, and convert nutrients into the energy our bodies need.
Too much niacin, though, can cause:
- Memory loss.
Detoxing from niacin can also cause those effects, so improperly using it can double your trouble.
One man discovered firsthand the dangers of using niacin as a do-it-yourself withdrawal tool. Eager to pass a job-related drug test, he consumed 5,500 milligrams of niacin within a 12-hour period. The safe amount of niacin for men is 16 milligrams a day.
He sought emergency treatment because he experienced diarrhea, vomiting, heart palpitations, flushing in the face, and aches and pains in his muscles. The man also had too much lactic acid in his bloodstream as well as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Medical professionals gave the man an infusion of dextrose and saline to treat his hypoglycemia and admitted him to a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) and then a medical unit for observation. While he recovered and left the hospital, medical professionals recommended that he receive outpatient assistance to follow up after his treatment.
Even otherwise helpful nutrients such as niacin can be hazardous if people use them in the wrong amounts for the wrong purposes.
Why Detoxing at Home is Dangerous
Since removing methamphetamine from their bodies at home on their own can be dangerous, people should consider supervised medical detox to get meth out of their systems.
Individuals can seek help from inpatient or outpatient treatment centers. At inpatient or residential facilities, people recovering from meth addiction live temporarily in treatment centers and receive experienced supervision for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. In outpatient programs, recovering individuals receive assistance at centers but live at home or other off-site locations.
In both inpatient and outpatient programs, people who are addicted to meth can detox with the support of trained medical professionals who will monitor their clients’ withdrawal symptoms to ensure a safer and more comfortable withdrawal process.
Although there is currently no government-approved medication to treat meth addiction, treatment centers and programs might prescribe benzodiazepine drugs (benzos) such as Valium and Ativan to combat anxiety and other side effects. They also employ mental health counselors to provide a wide range of behavioral therapies.
Trained assistance is crucial to a safe, successful detox. People might try to flush meth from their systems while they’re alone at home.
By incorporating extra water, laxatives, or niacin, or exercise, they might succeed in removing this methamphetamine. But this success could be temporary because they might remove other things from their bodies, things that are vital to their health.
Their at-home detoxes might cause conditions that could threaten – or end – their lives.
Finding Treatment for Addiction
A devastating disease, an addiction to meth can kill. Such addiction affects more than just the person with the condition.
People who are suffering from a meth addiction deserve the best care available. Determining how to taper from meth may be difficult for a person to do alone. If you or a loved one is suffering from a meth addiction, a high-quality rehabilitation clinic can provide detox, treatment, and additional lifesaving assistance.
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- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Meth Abuse Statistics
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Can You Eat Meth? | Ingesting Meth Orally
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Meth Addiction and Abuse
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Signs of Meth Overdose
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Body?
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Methamphetamine Withdrawal | Symptoms, Timelines, & Treatments
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- hsph.harvard.edu – Niacin – Vitamin B3
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- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Beating the Urine Drug Test – A Case Report on Niacin Toxicity
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – How to Choose an Inpatient Drug Rehab
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Dangers of Crystal Meth | Meth Death
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Meth Withdrawal Timeline & Detox Symptoms
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Addiction Treatment Options
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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