Stimulant Detox with and without Medication
If you have a stimulant dependence or addiction and you are having a tough time breaking the habit, you are a good candidate for detoxification: the process by which you transition from having drugs in your system to maintaining an abstinence from them. Although this in no way is considered full treatment, stimulant detox can be an extremely positive first step that will allow you to make it successfully through treatment. In fact, you are more likely to be successful because of it.
Stimulants, like cocaine and amphetamines, are intensely pleasurable. In lab studies, animals will actually continue using them to the point of death. Because of the difficulty you can have controlling your intake, you probably go through a binge and withdrawal pattern. And that withdrawal can be difficult to manage. The cravings alone can be debilitating.
If you are ready to break your pattern of stimulant use and you feel that detox would be a great way to get started, you probably have questions about the process and about locating a detox center that can guide you through the process.
Contact us now and get your detox questions answered.
Because stimulant withdrawal is markedly different from the symptoms associated with opioid, sedative, and alcohol dependence, it is treated differently. Because opioid and alcohol dependence create such medically dangerous situations during withdrawal, the medical detoxification associated with them is very aggressive. Stimulant detox is not emphasized in the same way. There isn’t medical risk or crippling discomfort. However, in cases where the withdrawal indicates there will be risks as a result, there can be medical intervention.
For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration warns: “An often overlooked but potentially lethal “medical danger” during stimulant withdrawal is the risk of a profound dysphoria (depression, negative thoughts and feelings) that may include suicidal ideas or attempts.” This is believed to have a couple of causes. There is definitely the physical response to withdrawal from stimulants, but others feel a cause may be the user’s realization of the social and behavioral consequences of their drug use.
SAMSHA further identifies the following as stimulant withdrawal symptoms.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping all the time)
- Poor concentration
- Psychomotor retardation (problems with movement and thought)
- Increased appetite
- Drug cravings
These symptoms should disappear after a few days, but they can stick around for 3 to 4 weeks. That can be miserable and all the more reason for a supervised detoxification.
Obviously, the best management of stimulant withdrawal symptoms is having a period where you abstain from them. This should be managed via detox. For many people, a brief hospitalization has largely been eliminated. Instead, intensive outpatient treatment helps most people through the transition. The goal is to continue abstinence long enough that withdrawal symptoms disappear entirely. One important component is avoiding those things that act as cures to induce cravings. Particular people and places that the brain has latched onto as triggers for cravings need to be avoided entirely.
In addition, stimulant addicts must also abstain from other addictive substances.
There are no medications specifically used to treat stimulant withdrawal, but some are used pretty regularly for cocaine addictions. For example, amantadine is often used to treat severe withdrawal symptoms. Modafinil is another medication that is being investigated for use as a a cocaine detox agent. Mirtazapine, an anti-depressant and sleep aid, has proven effective when treating amphetamine withdrawal.
However, none of these medications is specifically approved in treating stimulant withdrawal. Should your withdrawal symptoms be severe enough, you may be given one of these meds, but you could just as likely be offered another. Without medication specifically developed for treating stimulant withdrawal, doctors have to incorporate medications for particular relief of symptoms, like medications for nausea and insomnia. Nothing is designed to treat all symptoms.
If you have been having a hard time stopping your use of stimulants, you are likely at your wit’s end. How can you treat your addiction if you can’t stop using? Detox will be an important first step in your journey and it will progress more smoothly with help. Contact Detox.com today at 800-483-2193. We are waiting.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says- 8: Medical detoxification.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment: 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances- Marijuana and Other Drugs Containing THC.