Amphetamine withdrawal is the process of becoming free from amphetamine addiction. Amphetamines are a group of stimulant drugs, and the most commonly abused is methamphetamine, which is also known by the street names speed, ice and crystal meth. Amphetamine withdrawal can result in symptoms such as depression, anxiety and aggression.
People who are addicted to amphetamines go through several stages of withdrawal, and each of these stages has different effects on the body. The first stage lasts one to three days. An addict's body goes through the process of "coming down" from the stimulant effects of the drug in these first few days. He or she might be sleepy, exhibit exhaustion or feel depressed.
The second stage lasts for about a week. During this time, the addict might get strong cravings for the drug. He or she might be unable to concentrate or sleep properly. The addict might also have mood changes and even feel paranoia. He or she might be unusually hungry and feel aches and pains.
The third stage lasts for about three weeks. The addict might occasionally still feel like he or she did in the second stage, the cravings might still be present, and he or she might be unable to sleep properly. At this point, the addict should be coming out of the trials of the second stage and be able to handle the symptoms better than before.
The last stage of amphetamine withdrawal lasts for as long as three months after starting the process. The person should be returning to normal sleep patterns, and his or her mood should improve. He or she also should feel more active than before and generally feel in better physical and mental condition. The intensity of the withdrawal process depends on the length of time that the addict has been using the drug and on other factors, such as physical and mental health and psychological support.
A person going through amphetamine withdrawal can be supported using several aids. An addict needs to be surrounded by caring people and should cut himself or herself off from other addicts and sources of the drug. He or she also can get help from a medical professional or an addiction organization. Medication can sometimes help alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.
The medication that is prescribed for withdrawal might include sedatives to aid sleep and antidepressants to boost mood. The danger with medication is that the addict might become cross-addicted to these prescription medications. In addition, research suggests that antidepressants alone might not improve an addict's experience during withdrawal. Instead of these medicines, an addict might opt for relaxation techniques or herbal remedies to ease the withdrawal process.