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MethMethamphetamine - amphetamine with the addition of a methyl group on the molecular chain, which gives it a potent effect. cravings or urges can be strong, so it’s important to know what works for you. Try a few different ways to cope with cravings and practice the ones that work.
A word of caution: Sometimes just reading this type of information can trigger a craving so get yourself prepared just in case it happens to you.
Being exposed to things that you've associated with meth can cause a little squirt of dopamineA brain chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) involved in the control of physical movement, thinking, motivation, and feelings of pleasure or reward. to be released in anticipation of the main event (meth) and the brain WANTS MORE. This is why it's hard to get meth out of your mind for the first few minutes of a craving.
People, places, objects, feelings, situations, smells, sounds, thoughts and anything else that reminds you of using meth can trigger a craving. Even dreams about using meth can trigger cravings. These dreams are common in the early stages of stopping.
Cravings can continue long after stopping meth
Cravings can hang around for a while and heavy users will often have stronger cravings. It’s important to practice the techniques, especially early on, so you're familiar with them when a craving comes on.
It starts off small, gathers momentum, peaks, and then breaks. The peak intensity of a craving rarely lasts beyond a few minutes. The trick is to ride out the peak until it passes.
Even having meth occasionally keeps cravings alive. Your brain has learnt that a little squirt of dopamineA brain chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) involved in the control of physical movement, thinking, motivation, and feelings of pleasure or reward. is generally followed by a BIG SQUIRT brought on by meth, so if you keep using when you have a craving your brain can't unlearn this pattern. The trick to beating cravings is to break this association. Think about cravings as stray cats – if you feed them, even sometimes, they will keep coming back.
...every time you have a craving and don’t use meth, the intensity and length of the craving reduces. Eventually, cravings just give up and go away. This is called ‘extinction’ – just like the dinosaurs.
Cravings, just like an ocean wave, do break.
Visualise yourself surfing the crest of the craving wave, you'll feel it build, peak, subside, and finally break.
Don't like the ocean? Ok, imagine a craving as one loop on a roller coaster or ferris wheel.
When a craving hits, DELAY the decision to grab your pipe or chop up a line for one minute at a time or longer if you can. Say to yourself “I’ll delay giving in to this craving for the next minute”. Tell yourself... "this feeling will pass... I can handle this..." Delaying your decision, and supportive self-talk will help you to break the habit of reaching immediately for meth whenever a craving hits.
Once you've delayed your decision, DISTRACT yourself from thoughts about meth. Go for a walk or run, have a shower, call a support person, listen to music, just do whatever it takes to get you through the peak. It should only last for a few minutes...remember to make a note of what works for you and do it again and again. Eventually your mind will associate the new activity with pleasure and a new, healthy habit is born!
After the craving's passed, remind yourself why you wanted to stop using meth in the first place. Re-read your 'things I don’t really like about using meth’ reminder card if you made one. Now DECIDE to stay stopped (or cut down). Know that the next craving will be easier to manage because you didn't give in to it this time. Every time you get through it without using meth, your confidence will increase and you can challenge any catastrophic thoughts you may have had about your ability to be stronger than your cravings.
Cravings can make people feel agitated, anxious and edgy. You CAN consciously decide to relax though, and these techniques work really well, even for people with anxietyAn extended period of worry or nervousness that's hard to control - can involve poor sleep and difficulty concentrating, as well as feeling restless, tired, and irritable. problems. You can't be both relaxed and anxious at the same time, so CHOOSE to be relaxed.