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Withdrawals from methamphetamine. Peeling skin, nerves issues. How to manage detox?

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Practicing since : 2004
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My girlfriend just told me she is havin withdrawals from methamphetamine. Wants to quit, or so I hope. How do I manage detox? Does not have insurance. Wants to come stay with me to help get through this crisis. Has been taken ice going on three months. Skin at fingers are cracked and she is complaining about nerve issues. she has told me she will need pain pills and Xanax to get through this. I said I would help her but I am not sure what I have signed up for.
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 52 minutes later
Thanks for your query.

I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

It is always better to get treated amphetamine dependence in supervision of nearby physician. As treatment need detail assessment of patient, screening for co morbid condition which are very frequent with amphetamine use and concurrent treatment of withdrawal and medical co morbidities. So, overall treatment is complicated and need specialist help.

Considering your social situation, I like to give you information related to management principles used in treatment.

(1) Sedation: The primary goal of pharmacological interventions is to obtain and sustain abstinence by lessening the discomfort of withdrawal. In the majority of cases no drug treatment is required, but in some cases sedation requires which can be achieved by Xanax (0.5mg) 2 times a day for 1 or 2 weeks.

(2) Symptomatic Relief: Headaches and generalised body aches and pains can be problematic in the first
one or two weeks as a result of increased muscle tension. These symptoms can be treated with paracetamol 1g every 4-6 hours as required. Alternative management includes light stretching exercises, warm baths or massages.

(3) Supplements: Supplements are sometimes necessary in persons undergoing amphetamine detoxification. Appetite is often reduced by amphetamine use and this can result in significant weight loss and malnourishment. The appetite usually returns within days of ceasing drug use, so encourage the patient to eat healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. However, a multivitamin preparation is appropriate to cover possible deficiencies in B group vitamins and vitamin C. It is also beneficial for the patient to drink at least two litres of fluids, preferably water or fruit juice, throughout each day to promote the release of accumulated toxins.

(4) Supportive Care and Environment: Patients undergoing amphetamine withdrawal need a lot of support, explanations, and reassurances.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. In case of any doubt, I will be available for follow ups.

Wishing her good health.
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