Whether you’ve been at Manchester Pride or enjoying the many great parties in London over the bank holiday weekend, at some point, the party ends, so we invited Ignacio Labayen de Inza from Controlling Chemsex to advise on how to manage a chemsex comedown.
– Ignacio Labayen de Inza –
Here at Controlling Chemsex, one of the questions that we are often asked is how to navigate the post-session comedown. At some point, the party stops, and you have to reconnect with your day-to-day life. For many people, that can be a real struggle.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take.
Understand what your body is experiencing during a chemsex comedown.
The comedown is what happens to your body after the effects of your drugs wear off. Drugs such as crystal meth and mephedrone are stimulants – once you stop using them, you will be drained of energy, and your body must work overtime to restore normal function.
Feeling exhausted isn’t the only symptom you’ll encounter during a comedown. You could feel depressed or anxious, irritated or experience mood swings. You may not feel like eating or find it difficult to concentrate. You’re going to be feeling fairly rubbish – not just physically but also emotionally – it’s how your body tries to cope once the stimulation of the drugs is removed.
Consider what influences your comedown.
For most people, the comedown symptoms are at their worst 2-3 days after you stop taking the drugs. They’ll then start to taper off.
But your comedown will be influenced by which drugs you’ve been taking, how long your session was, and your experience with chems.
As a general rule, the more prolonged and intense your chems session has been, the more difficult the comedown will be that you will have to navigate at the end of the session.
Don’t look for an easy fix.
We understand that some people reading this article may be looking for a magic solution, and we know it can be very frustrating, but unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet for a post-chemsex comedown. There are some things that you can try to make things less difficult, but nothing will magically make it disappear.
This is the advice that we give to people who contact us looking for help with their comedown:
1. Don’t take more chems to try and counteract the comedown. Of course, it might be tempting to try and tackle the cravings by hitting the body with more stimulants, but you’re just going to make the problem worse and make the comedown more intense. At the end of the day, the only thing you will get is to delay a comedown that eventually you will have to address.
2. Stay hydrated. If your pee is a dark yellow, that’s an indicator that you’re dehydrated. Drinking water will help to restore your body’s normal functioning and also to help flush the drugs out of your system. You could opt for a Lucozade or a sports drink if that’s more appealing – whatever it takes to get some fluids into your body.
3. Eat some food. You probably don’t feel like eating, so ease into it with healthy snacks – fruit and nuts are a great starting point. Your body probably needs to carb-load on some pasta or rice but work up to that. Avoid junk food – your body is already under pressure, so you need to give yourself some quality fuel.
4. Find a distraction. Often, the most challenging part of a comedown is that bit where you’ve stopped taking the drugs, but you’re still a bit too wired to sleep. Try and find something to do to help you relax – a bath or a long shower is ideal. Listening to podcasts, writing down your thoughts, watering your house plants – anything that can help you to stay occupied until you feel tired enough to try to sleep. You’re looking for low-stress activities that help you to relax.
5. Avoid technology. It may be tempting to doom-scroll through social media, but at this point of the comedown, this could easily lead you into a rabbit hole of endless porn and hook-up apps such as Grindr or Scruff. Technology stimulates your brain instead of helping you relax and unwind. Your primary objective here is to get into a relaxed headspace so you can sleep.
6. Prioritise your health. You may need extra sleep to recover, you may need to take the day off work, and you should avoid any stressful or complex situations. It’s like jet lag – you won’t be firing on all cylinders until you’re through the other side of this comedown.
7. Equip yourself with relaxation techniques. It could be yoga, meditation, or massage – as you work through your comedown, drawing on some of these relaxation tools will be really useful to help keep your mind and body on track.
For more information and support regarding chemsex, visit www.controllingchemsex.com
About the author:
Ignacio Labayen de Inza is the founder and CEO of Controlling Chemsex – a charity created and run by professionals with extensive experience in providing support to people struggling with issues relating to chemsex.