Crystal Meth Withdrawals & Overdose

Crystal meth is a very dangerous drug. It is the crystallized form of methamphetamine, which in turn stimulates the central nervous system in a very powerful way. Crystal meth can be crushed and then snorted or it can also be dissolved and then injected. However, the most common way for people to use it is to heat it up and then smoke it. The resulting high is very rapid and can last for 12 hours.

Since 2002, the rate of crystal meth abuse has remained stable. In 2014, some 600,000 people in this country over the age of 12 reported that they had used methamphetamine. Most of them were over the age of 26. Furthermore, statistics show that 8.2% of all admissions to emergency rooms as a result of drug abuse in 2011 were related to meth. Because crystal meth is so strong and delivers a high so quickly, it is a very dangerous drug. It is also easy to abuse, with many people becoming dependent and addicted to it. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of overdose.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms are very strong and these often lead to people continuing to use the substance even if they notice many negative effects in their lives. Furthermore, the withdrawal symptoms have the potential to be dangerous, which is why detoxing should only be completed in a supportive, medically controlled environment. The most common withdrawal symptoms people experience with crystal meth are:

  • Sleep problems
  • Intense cravings for more meth
  • Profuse sweating, fever, and chills
  • Tremors and shaking
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Respiratory failure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death

Because these withdrawal symptoms are so severe, most people who attempt to detox on their own fail. The cravings become too strong to resist and they inevitably return to the drug. The danger is that they will then often also return to the dose they were using previously, which was much higher than normal as a result of tolerance. It is at this point that many people will overdose, resulting in possibly fatal consequences.

Most Common Symptoms of Crystal Meth Overdose

Two types of crystal meth overdoses are possible: acute and chronic. In an acute overdose, users take so much of the substance in one go that they overstimulate the nervous system to dangerous levels. This can result in various physical processes with the result that the nervous system becomes dysfunctional. In the case of chronic overdose, users start to develop a range of different medical and psychological problems that become worse over time.

When people experience an acute overdose, they will commonly show some very specific symptoms, including:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain in their chest
  • Heartbeat irregularities
  • A heart attack
  • Seizures
  • A stroke
  • Paranoia
  • Severe agitation
  • Kidney damage or kidney failure
  • Extremely high body temperature

These symptoms can be and often are life threatening. It is vital, therefore, that professional medical health is immediately sought if you believe that there is a case of crystal meth overdose in your family.

How a Crystal Meth Overdose Is Treated

The first thing you must do in order to seek treatment for a perceived crystal meth overdose is to call 911. The only way to make sure that patients are likely to survive and recover is by getting professional medical help. While you wait for the team to arrive, there are some things that you can do to keep them safe. These include:

  1. Holding the head back gently if they have a seizure so that they do not hurt themselves
  2. Applying cold compresses to the chest and face if they have an extremely high temperature in an effort to cool them down
  3. Removing all sharp objects and other dangers within the vicinity of the patients so that they do not hurt themselves or others if they become agitated or start to seize.

The likelihood of the patients not just surviving but recovering from a crystal meth overdose depends on how high the dosage was and how quickly they received medical attention. Once they arrive at hospital, the symptoms they are presented with will be treated first. They may:

  • Have their stomach pumped (gastric lavage)
  • Have their stomach contents absorbed through activated charcoal
  • Be provided with breathing support
  • Be administered intravenous fluids
  • Be administered medication for the treatment of the problems with the brain, muscle, kidneys, or heart.

Those who experience a life threatening crystal meth overdose and survive it are likely to be highly traumatized. They often continue to suffer from a psychosis and severe paranoia, sometimes for as long as one year. They are also likely to experience various other long lasting physical effects, which are also common with long lasting crystal meth abuse. These include memory problems, insomnia, dental and skin changes, and more. Furthermore, the cardiovascular damage can be very long lasting, sometimes even permanent. Additionally, in most cases,it is likely that they have a serious substance abuse problem. If they do survive, therefore, they absolutely must seek professional help to recover if they are to survive.

Once patients enter a treatment center, they will begin with a period of detox. This means that their body and brain will be cleaned of the toxins remaining in their body. Once they are clean, they can start on the long and difficult road to recovery. This requires intensive counseling and therapy that will help them to determine the root cause of their problem. They will also be taught how to cope with the triggers that would usually lead them to use drugs by allowing them to develop new coping mechanisms and strategies. They should also be able to access strong sobriety support so that they can remain abstinent.

Crystal meth is one of the most dangerous drugs around and abuse is often chronic and eventually fatal. However, with the right help and support, it is possible to recover from it. Checking in to a rehab facility and starting with medically supervised detox is the first step towards achieving that.

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