Methamphetamine is a potent and highly addictive stimulant drug. According to the Natural Institute on Drug Abuse, “Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.9% (or about 2.6 million people) reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months.”
If you become addicted to meth, your brain and body grow accustomed to the presence of the substance, and suddenly stopping the use of methamphetamine will cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms. While meth withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, the psychological symptoms can become severe and dangerous.
Because of the dangers associated with detoxing from methamphetamine at home, you should always attend a medical detox program. Knowing the meth withdrawal timeline, symptoms, and how it’s treated can make your decision to enter professional treatment easier.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant, which means it increases heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels. When you stop using meth after a period of dependency, your brain will have a difficult time adjusting to decreased activity levels, resulting in an array of uncomfortable and potentially painful withdrawal symptoms.
The common symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- Red and itchy eyes
- Mild paranoia
- Excessive sweating
- Increased appetite
- Low energy and fatigue
- Lack of motivation
- Trouble sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts
- Severe depression
Because you could experience severe symptoms like dehydration, paranoia, hallucinations, and depression so severe that it leads to suicidal thoughts, you should always receive medical support from a drug detox program.
How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?
Exactly how long meth withdrawal lasts depends on a variety of personal factors, however, most people follow the same general timeline. 24 hours after your last dose of methamphetamine, you can begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Most people experience the worst of their symptoms by the 7th day of detox, with them subsiding by the 2-week mark.
Methamphetamine withdrawal can be extremely difficult to deal with without medical attention and psychological support. Oftentimes, people who attempt to quit at home end up relapsing to soothe their symptoms. Relapse can be very dangerous, as it is easy to forget that your tolerance has lowered, leading you to take too high of a dosage at once.
Factors that Influence the Meth Withdrawal Timeline
The meth withdrawal timeline is not the same for everyone because certain personal factors can influence how long your body takes to adjust to sobriety.
The factors that influence the meth withdrawal timeline include:
- How long you have been using meth
- The dosage level and potency of the meth
- The frequency and method of use (smoking, snorting, or injecting)
- Whether you were using other substances
- Your overall physical health
- Age, weight, and metabolism
For example, someone who has been using meth heavily for several years may experience a longer withdrawal timeline than a person who used the substance for a few months. It is important to note that no matter how long you were using methamphetamine, professional medical treatment is vital during the detoxification stage of addiction recovery.
Breaking Down the Meth Withdrawal Timeline
During meth withdrawal, you will experience physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms can be managed with medications and treatments under the supervision of a medical detox facility. Typically, the symptoms of withdrawal will arise 24 hours after your last dosage and subside completely after 2 to 3 weeks.
The general withdrawal timeline for methamphetamine is as follows:
- Days 1 to 10- You will experience something referred to as a “crash” that is characterized by fatigue, cravings, reduced energy, and increased appetite. Your symptoms will increase in intensity and peak sometime between days 3 to 7. Severe depression and suicidal thoughts are extremely common during the peak stage of meth withdrawal.
- Days 10 to 14- Your symptoms may continue to be severe during this stage of meth withdrawal. It is common to experience intense drug cravings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, and paranoia. Some people suffer from psychological withdrawal symptoms like cravings and depression for several weeks to months after their other symptoms subside.
- Day 14 and onward- Sometime between two to three weeks after your last dosage of meth your symptoms will subside. While it is possible to completely recover, some people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition causes you to experience an array of withdrawal symptoms longer than usual.
Detox Treatment for Meth Dependence
Meth detox centers aim to make the withdrawal process easier and more comfortable. Withdrawal management typically includes medications to soothe symptoms of withdrawal and psychological support to ease any stresses, fears, or worries you are facing. Meth detox centers also set the foundation of the basic addiction recovery education you will need to continue working on your sobriety in inpatient or outpatient treatment.
While there are no tapering medications approved for methamphetamine dependence, an array of medications are used to target specific symptoms. For example, if you are having trouble sleeping your doctor will prescribe you a non-habit-forming sleep medication. If you began experiencing symptoms of depression or suicidal ideation, you might be prescribed anti-depressant medications like SSRIs or SNRIs.
Overall, the goal of meth detox is to rid your body of harmful substances, help you cope with withdrawal symptoms, and prepare you for further addiction treatment.
Find Treatment for Meth Abuse and Addiction Today
If you or a loved one suffer from meth addiction, recovery is possible. Our qualified admissions counselors at Woburn Wellness are available now to assess your needs and connect you with a local drug and alcohol detox center. Once you’re medically stable, we’ll help you transition to one of our comprehensive addiction treatment programs where you can obtain the support you need to stay sober.
Don’t wait any longer–call now to speak with a team member.