Crystal meth, also known as methamphetamine, is a powerful man-made stimulant that’s snorted, smoked, or injected. Once the drug takes effect, users feel energetic, happy, and confident. But the effects disappear quickly, leaving people with terrible side effects. Luckily, there are techniques for easing meth comedown.
Before getting into the seven tips, let’s learn a bit more about meth as a drug, as well as what meth comedown and withdrawal look like.
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine is an illegal, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Chemically, it’s similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
This man-made stimulant goes by many names including meth, crank, speed, crystal, and glass. The last two nicknames refer to meth’s form. Usually, the drug resembles glass or crystal fragments. It can also look like shiny blue-white rocks of various sizes.
How Do People Take Meth?
People usually take meth by smoking it in glass pipes, injecting it, or snorting it. Smoking and injecting the drug provide immediate effects, followed by a high that can last between six and 24 hours.
While the high from the drug comes quickly, so does the comedown. As a result, people often take multiple doses in a “binge and crash” pattern. Some may even binge on meth in a process called a “run.” During these periods, users take the drug every few hours for several days. Many also give up food and sleep.
Who Takes Meth?
People of all ages use meth, but it is most commonly used as a “club drug” to fuel late-night parties and days-long raves. Within the LGBTQ community, meth is used during “party and play” events. During these events, users take advantage of the drug’s stimulating effects in order to participate in hours-long sex parties.
How Does Meth Affect The Brain?
Methamphetamine increases the amount of the naturally-occurring chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays a part in body movement, motivation, and the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors.
Taking meth causes a rapid release of high levels of dopamine in the brain’s reward areas. As a result, users feel motivated to take the drug again and again.
Taking meth causes both short-term and long-term effects on the brain.
Taking even a small amount of meth results in the same health effects as those of other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. These effects include:
- Increased wakefulness and physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Faster breathing
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature
The long-term effects of meth use are numerous. These include:
- Extreme weight loss
- Severe dental problems (sometimes referred to as “meth mouth”)
- Intense itching, which leads to skin sores from scratching
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Violent behavior
- Paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- Hallucinations—experiencing sensations or seeing images that seem real but aren’t
Long-term meth use also alters parts of the brain’s dopamine system, resulting in reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning.
In addition, brain imaging studies of long-term meth users have also found damage to the parts of the brain involved with emotion and memory. This finding may explain some of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in meth users.
Some of these brain changes may reverse after being off the drug for a year or more, but some damage may never disappear. In fact, a 2011 study suggests that people who used meth just once have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a nerve disorder affecting movement.
What Does Meth Comedown Look Like?
Meth comedown can happen even if a person isn’t totally dependent on the drug. That’s because meth causes such intense, pleasurable effects that when it wears off, individuals feel empty.
As people use more and more meth, the empty feelings associated with the comedown period become worse. Many people continue abusing meth for long periods of time in order to avoid this crash period.
Even the fear of the side effects from meth comedown is enough for some people to continue using the drug. Given the severity of meth comedown symptoms, this avoidance is understandable.
Symptoms of a comedown include:
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Body aches or pains
- Flu-like symptoms
- Anhedonia (no pleasure from any activity)
Tips for Easing Meth Comedown Symptoms
Without putting things too bluntly, coming down from meth is unpleasant and difficult. Similar to an alcohol hangover, the symptoms typically last between four and 24 hours. However, like alcohol, a lot of how the experience goes depends on how you manage the symptoms.
With that in mind, here are seven tips for easing meth comedown symptoms.
1. Get lots of rest
Because meth is a stimulant, it can make sleeping difficult, if not impossible. That being said, letting your body rest is essential for easing meth comedown symptoms. Take time off of work or school, ask family members to help take care of daily tasks, and don’t feel guilty about taking a break.
2. Drink plenty of water
Meth users often avoid drinking water while high, instead reaching for sugary drinks and foods. Not only do these items contribute to dental decay known as meth mouth, but they don’t do a thing to help your body recover from meth use.
The best thing to give your body during a meth comedown is water. If regular tap water gets too boring, try seltzer or herbal tea.
3. Eat healthy foods
Those who are high on meth report having a suppressed appetite. As a result, many experience unhealthy weight loss, dehydration, and depleted vitamin and mineral levels in the body.
Replacing these nutrients with a well-balanced diet gives the body the fuel it needs to heal itself. Stick to unprocessed foods, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.
4. Use OTC drugs to treat pain
Meth comedown is sometimes associated with joint pain, muscle aches, or headaches. In order to combat these symptoms, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
5. Consider holistic options
Alternative therapy techniques like yoga, mindfulness meditation, acupuncture, and/or massage therapy can help with some of the worse comedown symptoms.
Yoga and meditation are helpful for easing depression and anxiety symptoms, while massage therapy and acupuncture can alleviate physical pain.
6. Keep active and busy
Working out not only helps regular sleep and appetite, but it also acts as a stress reliever. Exercise produces natural endorphins that can replenish some of those lost due to meth abuse.
While staying physically active is essential, it’s also helpful to maintain mental fitness. Reconnect with a hobby or creative outlet like playing music, drawing, or writing to further reduce stress and keep the mind’s attention elsewhere.
7. Attend group meetings
Groups like Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) provide peer support and encouragement when it comes to quitting meth. In addition, these groups can give tools and techniques for relapse prevention and staying sober long-term.
La Fuente Is Here To Help
We hope our seven tips provide some relief for the most uncomfortable symptoms of a meth comedown. However, we recognize that this process is incredibly difficult to handle alone.
If you or someone you love is struggling with meth addiction, we urge you to contact our Los Angeles treatment center today. You deserve to live a happy, sober life. Let La Fuente help guide you there.