Methamphetamine Addiction and Depression
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Also, be aware that the herbs and medicines listed below should not be mixed with street drugs. If you are trying overcome an addiction on your own at home, pay close attention to the half-life of the substances you are putting into your body. The half-life is the amount of time required for a given quantity of something to reduce to half of its initial value. So, for example, if you’re trying to avoid having 5-HTP in your body when you take a dose of methamphetamine, wait for 2 to 3 times the length of the half-life for 5-HTP before you take meth. And after you take meth, wait for 2 to 3 times the half-life of meth to take 5-HTP and so on and so forth.
Be aware that you may experience a number of relapses as you work with the medicines described below. Take notes on your experiences in a journal because your progress will be observable over time. As you get healthier and stronger, you may want to move on and use additional tools to get past your addiction.
In this article, I talk a lot about depression and anxiety because many people believe that meth addiction (at least in some cases) is actually an attempt to self-medicate for depression or anxiety. Major depression is an almost ubiquitous symptom of meth addiction among those who are seeking drug rehab treatment. While some people may seek methamphetamines to self-medicate for depression, others may develop depression symptoms as a result of taking methamphetamines.
NOTE: In addition to the herbs, amino acids, and supplements that we talk about below and in our book The Anti-Addiction Encyclopedia for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, Lydi and I have also recently finished developing the DreamLight.app, an addiction guided meditation tool that uses brain entrainment strategies to create a powerful trance state. Trance states are healing states of mind and they are an important part of overcoming most disease processes including addiction. The DreamLight.app uses an anti-addiction, empowerment metaphor (in the guided meditation) along with hypnotic music calibrated to sync with flickering, hypnotic light patterns that mimic natural phenomena such as light passing through the leaves in the trees, or the flickering light of a fire. The app was designed to give users access to their subconscious minds during the addiction withdrawal process. As an addiction recovery meditation, it was meant to help people with underlying trauma gain access to the roots of their addiction in a gentle manner that’s safe and yet effective. In many places of the world, after all, there are sacred indigenous medicines like Iboga or Ayahuasca that can be used to overcome addictions, but in most developed countries these medicines have been made illegal. So our goal was to create a tech-based-Iboga-or-Ayahuasca-analogue that people struggling with addiction can use to cure addiction at home. The DreamLight.app was designed to be used in tandem with Mucuna pruriens and the other supplements we talk about below so that those who are struggling with addiction can create a powerful and comprehensive healing protocol for themselves to overcome addiction once and for all.
NOTE: I talk use the terms Mucuna pruriens, Mucuna, M. pruriens and L-Dopa interchangeably in this article. “L-Dopa” in this article refers to a constituent of Mucuna and NOT the synthetic medication known as Levodopa (which is sometimes, confusingly called LDopa) which is used to treat Parkinson’s Disase.
Below is a list of prescription medications that contain methamphetamine or amphetamine. The Mucuna pruriens protocol can also be used to overcome an addiction to these medications:
- Desoxyn Gradumet
- Adderall and Adderall XR
- Dexedrine Spansule
- Ritalin and Ritalin-SR
Some people say that methamphetamine addiction is one of the easiest to treat. Others say it is the hardest.
I ascribe to neither of the sentiments above. I think comparisons lend themselves to confusion and a tendency to focus on the wrong things.
Is meth addiction curable? Yes. The tools I list below can help meth addicts overcome their addiction in a manner that’s similar (roughly) to how the nicotine patch helps people overcome their addiction to cigarettes.
So that being said, I’m going to describe the Mucuna pruriens, NAC, and 5-HTP protocol for the first stage of overcoming methamphetamine addiction below. This is not meant to be an end-all protocol, mind you to overcome addiction fully. It’s a first step in a process that may take many years, but the goal is to help people who are struggling with meth addiction to hopefully experience a new level of control over their symptoms. For some people, M. pruriens and NAC will be enough for them to quit altogether. For others, 5-HTP may be necessary.
Once you start working with M. pruriens, NAC, and 5-HTP, it should become easier to learn about your addiction and move to the next level of treatment, should that become necessary. But if you’re struggling with an addiction right now, you probably recognize that this is a problem that you’ll need to deal with and care for. You’ll need to become an expert on your addiction. Every person’s addiction experience is unique and how you find your way through the door to sobriety will also be unique.
At any rate, it is a myth that methamphetamine abusers must cold-turkey their way through detox and withdrawals. There are herbs that can take the edge off meth withdrawals and detox to decrease the cravings and (over time) the likelihood of relapse.
Mucuna pruriens for Methamphetamine Addiction
Plant medicines work on many levels and different people interact with these medicines through these different levels. Some might say that to take M. pruriens for methamphetamine addiction is a way to interact with the spirit of the plant, for example. This spirit counsels the addict over time and slowly the addict changes their behaviors. It is not an immediate cure, though the effects of M. pruriens on meth withdrawal symptoms are noticeable almost immediately.
Some people, scientists especially, might say that M. pruriens changes the addict’s DNA over time. Those who work with the plant using a DNA-based orientation might talk about the effects of Mucuna in a similar manner as a shaman who considers the spirit of the plant, but they’ll probably use different terminology. Both the shaman and the scientist would patiently accept relapse as a part of the process of healing. As the addict feels a greater sense of control over their addiction, the DNA rewrites itself, the spirit heals, etc. But whether you ascribe to the shamanic view or the scientific view, in either case, there are DNA studies to back up these claims.
Other scientists might talk about how M. pruriens provides L-Dopa, a dopamine precursor to starving synapses that have been squeezed of all their dopamine stores during meth binges. Mucuna is also a provider of 5-HTP, the serotonin precursor. It also supplies a small amount of N-DMT, a molecule that causes people to feel more connected to other people and to their environment. L-Dopa can be converted to norepinephrine and in turn, epinephrine when the L-Dopa is supplied in sufficient quantities. And scientists will tell you that these are the neurotransmitters that are most depleted by the use of methamphetamine, so it makes sense that Mucuna would rebalance the neurochemistry of meth addicts. This model of Mucuna (and 5-HTP) is one of the easiest for modern, civilized individuals to grasp. But it doesn’t necessarily explain all of the subtleties and nuances of using M. pruriens to cure methamphamine addiction.
Diet plays a bigger role in addiction than many people realize. And while a number of people have discovered Mucuna pruriens in pill form, few realize that there are populations of individuals who eat Mucuna pruriens as food. It is, after all, a high-protein bean. Some populations boil it to drink the liquid as a coffee-substitute (Central America). Others eat the bean the way people eat beans all over the world (India). And this begs the question of what’s missing in the meth addicts diet that might cause them to be particularly susceptible to addiction. Could is be possible that addiction is a dietary deficiency? Diet is another layer of the addiction problem that should always be considered, especially by those who are trying to find a treatment for meth addiction at home.
Amino acid therapies are relatively rare in the drug rehab scene, but if you know where to look, they’re there. Some drug rehabilitation facilities market intravenous (IV) amino acid therapies for addiction. The use of amino acid IVs and even oral amino acid therapies has a lot of potential in methamphetamine addiction treatment, but again, few people are aware of how a deficiency of essential amino acids in the diet (or the inability to convert the amino acids into neurotransmitters in the brain) can predispose people to addiction.
So here’s the connection: amino acid therapies can diminish withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamines considerably. And Mucuna pruriens is a bean (which means it contains a lot of amino acids and proteins). Protein levels and diet plays a role in the addiction process. So if you’re embarking on an at-home treatment plan for overcoming methamphetamine addiction, stock up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, but also meat and animal products. Diet plays a bigger role than you may think.
M. pruriens dosage for methamphetamine addiction:
Take 4,000 to 6,000 mg per day (divided into 3 to 4 doses through the day) of an organic whole bean pill or powder containg Mucuna pruriens. Take each dose with a mug full of high-quality, organic green tea (the green tea will help your body use the Mucuna more efficiently) and take a Vitamin B supplement that (most importantly) contains at least 12 to 25 mg of vitamin B6. Also take a magnesium supplement.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for Methamphetamine Addiction
N-acetylcysteine or NAC is a supplement that’s readily available for meth addiction treatment at home. This supplement can be taken even before the meth user officially stops taking methamphetamines completely (unlike 5-HTP which requires abstinence). NAC has a neuroprotective effect and it causes a gradual reduction in cravings and relapses as the dose is slowly increased from 600 mg per day to 3600 mg per day. Increase the dosage upward from 600 mg to 3600 mg over the course of about 4 weeks.
While M. pruriens can help regulate the dopaminergic system in the brain and 5-HTP can increase serotonin levels, NAC helps to regulate the glutaminergic system. In meth addicts, the glutaminergic system becomes disordered. Often there is too little or too much glutamate in the brain. NAC addresses this problem.
When a meth addict stops taking methamphetamines, their glutamate levels drop significantly and stay low for the first 1 to 2 months of abstinence. After this time, a rebound effect can occur and the brain may produce too much glutamate. To alleviate this problem, meth users can take NAC. NAC helps to regulate and modulate the amount of glutamate in the brain. It restores homeostasis to brain systems that have been disrupted by an addiction.
NAC is generally very well-tolerated. There are only rare side effects to taking it (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). While M. pruriens can relieve symptoms of depression and make it easier for meth addicts to think and function during withdrawals, NAC can help reduce their cravings and diminish the risk that they’ll relapse. 5-HTP and St. John’s Wort may not be appropriate for everyone going through withdrawals and the initial stages of meth addiction recovery at home, but NAC can benefit practically anyone who wishes to get past an addiction.
5-HTP and Methamphetamine Addiction
Dopamine and serotonin (serotonin is also known as 5-HT) plays important roles in mood. Scientists have done countless studies to prove this, but despite their efforts, they still don’t fully understand the exact role that serotonin plays in creating our mood states. Everyone is different and the use of 5-HTP and studies examining serotonin levels have proven this.
So, if you decide to use 5-HTP as part of a meth addiction treatment at home, you’ll need to pay attention to yourself to decide if it’s helping with the process or hindering it. And you should never take 5-HTP within 24 hours before or after taking methamphetamines in order to prevent the development of serotonin syndrome (which is potentially deadly).
However, 5-HTP can be used to help replenish serotonin stores after at least 24 hours of abstinence from methamphetamine use.
5-HTP has an extremely short half-life of only about 2 hours, so this medicine won’t stay in your system for very long. It’s effects are relatively short-lived which can be good or bad depending on how your body responds to this medicine. It may make you tired or it may raise your mood and help you get over the apathy that follows a meth binge. Note that 5-HTP can cause digestive upsets including heartburn so consider taking a Shilajit supplement along with the 5-HTP.
5-HTP dosage for methamphetamine addiction treatment:
If you find that 5-HTP is helping you, consider taking it several times throughout the day (between 20 to 600 mg divided into 3 to 4 doses). Depending on your state of mind, how far along you are in your at-home meth addiction treatment, and how your respond to 5-HTP, you may also want to take St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort has a longer half-life (24 hours), so DO NOT TAKE ST. JOHN’S WORT IF YOU ARE STILL STRUGGLING WITH RELAPSES. And never overlap taking 5-HTP with meth!
NOTE: For the first 4 weeks, St. John’s Wort should be taken twice a day (300 mg in the AM and 600 mg in the PM). After the first 4 weeks, consider increasing the dose to 600 mg twice per day. It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to experience benefits from taking St. John’s Wort.
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Taking Mucuna pruriens, NAC, and 5-HTP for Methamphetamine Addiction
Mucuna is particularly well-suited to replenish dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine stores in the brain, but it also helps stabilize serotonin levels following methamphetamine use. 5-HTP, in contrast, replenishes only serotonin levels. NAC modulates glutamate levels as well as dopamine levels in the brain to make sure there’s not too much or too little. Sometimes, Mucuna by itself is enough to help people get some control over their methamphetmine cravings, but NAC can be an important addition for people. And those who suffer from apathy and hopelessness during the withdrawal and detox period should consider using 5-HTP to address these depression symptoms. Start with Mucuna and NAC and then add the 5-HTP to your protocol if you feel that you need it.
If you intend to get over a methamphetamine addiction at home, you’ll want to eat a healthy diet and have high-protein meals that are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Steamed foods are best (because they retain the most nutrients). Eat chicken and eggs every day to replenish your amino acid stores. Additionally take a high-quality B vitamin along with a Magnesium supplement to help your body make use of the Mucuna, NAC, and 5-HTP. Without vitamin B6 (12-25 mg) and niacin as well as Magnesium, your body will have trouble metabolizing and converting the Mucuna / L-Dopa into dopamine and the 5-HTP into serotonin.
The Mucuna pruriens / L-Dopa and 5-HTP protocol is an easy regime to start with for anyone who is trying to recover from a methamphetamine addiction at home. This protocol helps individuals who have taken Adderall, Ritalin, and other methamphetamine-based medicines feel what its like to have some measure of control over their moods again. In some cases, the use of L-Dopa and 5-HTP is all it takes to fully recover from a meth addiction. In other cases, stronger medicines are necessary. In subsequent articles, I’ll talk about additional meth addiction treatments that can be self-administered at home or even added to the Mucuna and 5-HTP protocol.
Start with the Mucuna pruriens (L-Dopa) and NAC Protocol for Meth Addiction:
- Take 4000 to 12,000 mg of Mucuna pruriens (LDopa) per day. Choose a product standardized at between 15-30% L-Dopa, if possible. Take these pills divided throughout the day, every 2 to 4 hours.
- Drink organic green tea when you take your pills to enhance their effects.
- Take a vitamin B complex pill.
- Supplement the B complex with additional vitamin B6 pills up to 12 to 30 mg (if your B complex vitamin contains less than this amount) to ensure that the Mucuna pruriens is properly absorbed and used by your body.
- Take a magnesium supplement to also ensure that your body can use the M. pruriens.
- Take 600 mg of NAC daily for 1 week and then increase it to 1200 mg per day during the second week. During the 3rd week, increase to 2400 mg per day and during the 4th week increase it to 3600 mg per day. Continue taking this dose until you feel that you’ve overcome the addiction.
Add 5-HTP to the Mucuna Protocol if you still feel apathetic, dysphoric, or depressed. DO NOT MIX 5-HTP WITH METHAMPHETAMINES!
- Take 50 mg to 1000 mg of 5-HTP per day in divided doses up to 3 times per day.
- If you notice improvement in your mood and fewer cravings, consider adding St. John’s Wort to the protocol AFTER YOU FEEL CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL NOT RELAPSE. St. John’s Wort and methamphetamines should not be mixed.
Kamkaen, N. et al. (2022). Mucuna pruriens Seed Aqueous Extract Improved Neuroprotective and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Effects Compared with Synthetic L-Dopa. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35630617/