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Can’t Sleep After Meth

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Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep After Meth

How Meth Abuse Affects Sleep │How Does Meth Affect The Different Levels Of Sleep?How to Sleep After Meth 

Can’t Sleep After Meth

Methamphetamine is a potent and highly addictive psychostimulant, and one of the most widely used illicit drugs. Over recent years, its global usage has been on a rapid rise, with growing detrimental effects on physical and mental health and devastating psychosocial impact pressing for intervention. Among the unwanted effects of meth, acute and long-term sleep impairments are of major concern, posing a significant therapeutic challenge and a cause of meth addiction relapse.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), there is “a convincing link between substance abuse and sleep problems”. For example, one study found that patients presenting to a medical clinic seeking treatment for sleep complaints were more likely to have problems with drug and/or alcohol use as compared to those without sleep complaints. Sleep disturbance, particularly insomnia, is associated with various comorbid conditions including substance use disorders.

can't sleep after meth
Meth dependence can happen after repeated use. 

Meth and Sleep

Stimulants such as cocaine and meth cause light, restlessness, and disrupted sleep. Sleep and circadian rhythms are bi-directionally linked, with substantial overlap and integration of their underlying neurobiological mechanisms, and therefore it is critical to consider both in attempts to understand the pathways leading to and from meth abuse. Sleep timing and consolidation are partially governed by the central circadian clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Sleep propensity is a function of the complex interaction between two oscillators: a circadian signal for wakefulness that is tuned to the 24-hour light/dark cycle, and a homeostatic drive for sleep that increases with continued wakefulness.

How Meth Abuse Affects Sleep 

Meth abuse use can have a profound impact on the users’ sleep. This is because meth releases a surge of chemicals known as serotonin and dopamine into the body. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure, motivation, and attention. This is why most individuals who are “high” on meth are able to stay awake for days at a time.

However, this surge of dopamine also has adverse effects. Because so much dopamine is released at once, the brain becomes unable to absorb the chemical easily on its own. The same goes for serotonin. For this reason, meth users can have poor sleep quality once they are finally able to fall asleep.

These are the most commonly negatively impacts of sleep for meth users:

Lack of REM sleep: Both dopamine and serotonin cannot be adequately reabsorbed by the brain when a person abuses meth. For this reason, the little sleep they get is very poor quality. Poor quality sleep means that the full sleep cycle, of which REM sleep is the final stage, cannot be achieved. Lack of REM sleep can cause several side effects, including dehydration, lack of dreams, and anxiety.

Insomnia: The chemicals released in the brain when someone uses meth keep them awake. Those who use meth can stay awake for several days without feeling like their body needs rest, leading to insomnia.

How Does Meth Affect The Different Levels Of Sleep?

There are five stages of sleep:

Stage 1

Stage 1 of the sleep cycle is the lightest stage of sleep. The EEG brain frequency is slightly slower than during wake time. There is muscle tone present in the skeletal muscles. Breathing occurs at a regular rate.

Stage 2

Stage 2 usually follows Stage 1 and represents deeper sleep. During Stage 2 sleep, the sleeper is less able to be awakened. Stage 2 sleep is characterized by ‘sawtooth waves and sleeps spindles.

Stage 3 and 4 Sleep

Stage 3 and Stage 4 sleep of the sleep cycle is progressively deeper stages of sleep. These stages of sleep are also called ‘Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), or delta sleep. During SWS, the EEG shows a much slower frequency with high amplitude signals (delta waves). 

A sleeper in SWS is often difficult to awaken. Some studies have demonstrated that very loud noises, sometimes over 100 decibels, will not awaken some during SWS. As humans get older they spend less time in slow-wave deep sleep and more time in Stage 2 sleep.

Stage 5

Stage 5 of the sleep cycle, or REM sleep, is the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. It is very different physiologically from the other stages of sleep. The EEG resembles wake time. However, the skeletal muscles are atonic, or without movement. 

The breathing is more erratic and irregular. The heart rate often increases. It is theorized that muscle atonia evolved in order to protect the individual from injury during sleep.

Stages 1-4 are considered non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), whereas the fifth sleep stage, REM sleep, is where the body regenerates and dreams. During stages 1 and 2, sleep is relatively light, while sleep progressively becomes deeper in stages 3 and 4.

can't sleep after meth
Altered biochemical activity may take time to normalize once the drug is stopped.

While it’s evident that meth has a significant impact on sleep, there is little research about how it specifically affects different levels of sleep.

However, some information is readily available. The surge of dopamine and serotonin, as well as noradrenaline that are released when someone uses meth are directly responsible for affecting the first sleep stage from occurring.

When the mind is active, and the body is surging with adrenaline, it’s nearly impossible to fall asleep. Then, when meth users do fall asleep, they oftentimes struggle to get restful sleep. When the first few stages of sleep are interrupted, REM sleep cannot take place.

How to Sleep After Meth 

If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, you’ve probably wondered how to sleep after meth. Meth is a powerful stimulant and can interfere with sleep patterns. If you’re struggling to sleep after meth, you should focus on rebuilding your sleep cycle. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it. You’ll be more mentally clear and have more impulse control by getting enough sleep. Getting enough sleep will also prevent you from relapsing.

Meth increases levels of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter involved in motivation, body movement, and pleasure. Because it releases dopamine quickly, methamphetamine reinforces behaviors and encourages drug-taking. That is why it’s so addictive. 

Meth causes an intense high

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It can disrupt normal sleep patterns and disrupt a person’s brain’s natural sleep cycle. Meth affects several brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which is responsible for feeling good. The high levels of dopamine affect the reward center of the brain, making meth a dangerous drug for long-term use. Chronic use of this drug can damage brain cells responsible for producing dopamine and serotonin.

Meth users are euphoric and alert during the high. The high is intense but does not last very long. The crash that follows is also significant. The meth high leaves users feeling lethargic and tired, and they may experience anxiety, depression, or other side effects. To extend the high, meth users often take smaller doses every few hours or days. They can even take a high on meth before sleeping.

Meth interferes with sleep

Meth use impacts the sleep cycle. REM sleep is the most important part of the human cycle, and meth affects it negatively. However, there are ways to combat the effects of meth on sleep. The first step to overcoming meth’s impact on sleep is to stop using it. Meth withdrawal can disrupt sleep for weeks. Those who stop using meth should plan for a few days of sleep deprivation. Sleeplessness during a binge is particularly dangerous because the drug can induce psychosis, which may include delusions and hallucinations. It is vital to find a safe way to cope with the drug’s effects on the body.

Meth can cause brain damage

There is a strong connection between meth use and the development of Parkinson’s disease, which happens when dopamine-producing brain cells are overstimulated. Meth abuse affects the brain’s dopamine system, reducing its ability to control movement and memory.

Individuals who use meth are also at risk for depression, it can lead to a variety of mental and physical problems. But these side effects of meth are not permanent. The addictive nature of meth makes it a prime candidate for the treatment of depression and anxiety. The drug damages brain cells in several ways, impairing decision-making ability, increasing distractibility and reducing motor speed. 

Chronic use of meth also damages the brain, resulting in decreased memory, hearing loss, and difficulty processing information. Chronic meth use has been linked to brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease. It is also associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

can't sleep after meth
Heavy meth use is known to cause cell death in parts of the brain associated with self-control

Meth can cause violent behavior

In a recent study, researchers found that sleeping on meth could increase violent behavior in women. Most of these women described having sex under duress and violent behavior toward family members. They also reported anger issues and histories of physical abuse and neglect. However, some women who abused meth did not experience these violent behaviors. The researchers attributed the violent behavior to the drug, whereas other women blamed meth for their violent behavior.

In one study, eighty percent of the participants had experienced violence at some point in their lives, and more than half of these incidents were against intimate partners. These women credited meth for their violent behaviors, but they attributed much of the violence to preexisting anger problems. Despite the high, these women rarely described themselves as victims of violence. Moreover, they attributed these violent behaviors to acute withdrawal from meth use, which typically occurred after days of heavy use and lack of sleep.

Meth Withdrawal 

Methamphetamine abuse is a substantial global problem, with as many as 50 million users worldwide. The US National Survey on Drug Use and Health demonstrated that the prevalence of use was approximately 0.5% nationwide, with use being more endemic in the western US. Meth addiction produces serious medical complications and imposes costly social burdens. addiction produces serious medical complications and imposes costly social burdens. In addition, no medications have proven to be effective in treating this disorder. 

Meth withdrawal occurs because of neuroadaptations (brain changes) that occur due to repeated meth use, primarily in the dopamine-reward system. When someone uses meth, their brain releases abnormal amounts of dopamine, the brain chemical that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.

Meth withdrawal can cause different acute and post-acute symptoms in different people. The severity and duration of meth withdrawal symptoms can vary based on different factors, such as someone’s route of administration, dose, drug purity, level of intoxication, previous experience with meth withdrawal, the duration they used meth, history of meth use, and other considerations.

Acute meth withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Dehydration
  • Chills
  • Insomnia followed by hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Dysphoria (low mood) could progress to clinical depression and suicidal thoughts
  • The inability to think clearly
  • Anhedonia (loss of ability to feel pleasure)
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Drug cravings

Post-acute and protracted meth withdrawal symptoms from meth can include:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Drug cravings
  • Loss of ability to experience pleasure
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts/ideation
  • Fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • Increased appetite

How does withdrawal from meth affect my sleep?

If someone is “high” on meth, they likely feel like they don’t need any sleep- and they may not sleep often or well as a result. However, when they are going through meth withdrawal, they will likely feel extremely fatigued.

It’s common for those detoxing to experience something known as “hypersomnia” around the five-day mark when they might sleep for eleven hours per day for a few days. During this time, those recovering from meth might also experience vivid dreams. This happens because the body is finally able to enter REM sleep where dreaming happens.

However, overall sleep quality doesn’t sustainably improve for a couple of months. Those detoxing may experience their worst sleep between their second and fourth weeks of sobriety.

Meth Addiction Treatment

Meth use can cause many health problems, and these problems go far beyond those of meth users who can’t sleep after meth. First and foremost, if you think that a loved one is abusing meth, you should first research the drug and addiction associated with it so that you can better understand what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, make sure that you offer compassion and support instead of judgment. 

Lastly, offer your support throughout the entire treatment process. In addition, prolonged meth use can have severe physical and psychological effects, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you get through the early stages of withdrawal promptly. Meth can kill you. Methamphetamine overdose can cause the body to overheat to dangerous levels. Death can result from stroke, heart attack, or multiple organ problems caused by overheating. 

What Does Meth Feel Like? A question that you might ask if a loved one is suffering from addiction to this drug. People addicted to drugs often think only about their next fix of the drug. They have tunnel vision because of how their brain reacts to the drug, and they crave it. We Level Up treatment rehab & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Meth addiction with professional and safe treatment. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

can't sleep after meth
Addictions counselor who will work with you one-on-one in private sessions for the entirety of your stay

Sources:

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737055/

[2] NCBI – https://nida.nih.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/03/connections-between-sleep-substance-use-disorders

[3] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071736/

[4] Meth Effects – We Level Up NJ