Meth Withdrawal and Detox

Meth Withdrawal: What You Should Know

You may experience some physical and psychological symptoms after you stop using meth (especially if you’ve been injecting), and are particularly likely to experience these if you’ve been using meth over an extended period of time. Some withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening – such as suicide ideation, hallucinations or delusion. Meth withdrawal symptoms are painful and traumatic, and often lead to further drug use in the hope of counteracting the withdrawal process.

Meth withdrawal is extremely difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Professional help can safely guide you through the struggle, leaving you better equipped to cope with temptations to use again in the future.

Why Does Someone Go Through Withdrawal After Quitting Meth?

The symptoms of meth withdrawal occur with the sudden discontinuation or significant reduction in meth dosage. This is more apparent if you have become drug dependent and your body needs meth in order to function normally. Before withdrawal, your body must first have developed dependence. Meth dependence is a result of repeated long-term consumption. However, when you consistently consume meth for a period of two weeks or more, your brain automatically slows down some bodily functions in order to adapt to the stimulant effects. When you quit meth, it takes a while for your body to regain its balance.

How to Get Off Meth without Rehab

Getting off meth without any help or formal treatment plan is often referred to as going ‘cold turkey’, a phrase borrowed from heroin addiction. This form of quitting meth involves you stopping the drug totally, at once. It is the most difficult form of quitting a drug and will most likely involve extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Psychotic and depressive symptoms can accompany unassisted withdrawal from meth, which generally resolve within a week. Craving also occurs and may last up to five weeks. Getting off meth without rehab can be very difficult, but if successfully completed, you can continue with psychological treatment to deal with the root causes of your meth abuse.

What Is the Cause of the Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?

After prolonged and consistent meth usage, changes in your body’s functions occur in order to compensate for the effects brought on by meth. Once you stop taking methamphetamine however, your body is still trying to function as if meth is present, known as physical dependence.

Even though meth provides an instant ‘high’, it also leaves the body quickly, which rapidly leads to a crash. To avoid such a crash, you might take repeated doses in a short period of time. This continuous pattern of use also increases dopamine activity in the brain. If you stop using the drug, chemical and structural changes occur in the brain, in addition to a reaction to the change in internal environment of your body, which leads to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms you may experience.

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Meth Withdrawal Timeline

From 0 to 3 days after your last usage, you may begin to experience feelings of depression, a need for more sleep and extreme fatigue and tiredness.

From 2 to 10 days after your last usage, common withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, increased appetite, mood swings, aches and pains, lack of concentration and strong meth cravings.

From 7 to 28 days after your last usage, many symptoms disappear, but some endure, such as cravings, thinking deficits, moodiness, emotional flatness, and sleeping problems.

From 1 to 3 months after your last usage, most significant withdrawal symptoms ease-up and you start feeling much better, mentally and physically. However, cravings continue and can actually worsen to a peak after about three months. Additionally, protracted withdrawal symptoms continue, as your brain heals itself over the first year of abstinence.

Meth Cravings Timeline

Meth cravings are at their worst for the first few months. The good news is, if you can endure the first six months, your cravings will significantly decrease. While general cravings quickly ease up within the first few weeks, cue-related cravings become stronger for the first three months.

Cue-related cravings are caused by whatever you face that reminds you of your past drug usage. These could include the sight of drug paraphernalia, people you used meth with, places you’ve used in or bought from, and so on. Since cue-related cravings are the strongest during your initial period of recovery, it is essential to minimise your exposure to meth cues.

Preparing for Meth Withdrawal

Going into the withdrawal process adequately prepared can improve your chances of success. The first important step in preparation is to find the right treatment programme for you.

To be adequately prepared for meth withdrawal, it’s also helpful to keep these tips in mind:

  • The withdrawal symptoms that may appear are not permanent. If you experience physical meth withdrawal symptoms, they will pass in a few days. Psychological withdrawal symptoms may last longer, but they can be managed. In time, you will also overcome them.
  • You are taking steps to stop meth addiction from ruining your life and to become a happier and healthier person by getting treatment.
  • You are not alone. There are others just like you undergoing the same thing, and you can also find different support groups that you can join to form helpful connections.

Meth Withdrawal Is Highly Individual

Meth withdrawal is different for each individual. Certain factors contribute to the intensity, severity and duration of your meth withdrawal:

  • Your physical state – wellbeing, age, gender
  • Your personal body response and metabolism of meth
  • The amount of meth you’ve been consuming
  • How long you’ve been abusing meth
  • If you’ve combined your intake of meth with other drugs
  • Presence of co-existing physical and mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorder, diabetes or high blood pressure


Tapering vs. Cold Turkey Meth Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal can seriously affect your ability to think clearly, and quitting meth ‘cold turkey’ can worsen this further. This is because quitting methamphetamine all at once using the ‘cold turkey’ method is followed by severe withdrawal symptoms. Instead, tapering doses can help you reduce the intensity and severity of your meth withdrawal symptoms.

Experts sometimes advise cutting back the use of meth in steps. For instance, using only twice a week rather than every day, or twice monthly instead of every weekend. Also, you could reduce the amounts for each dose. For instance, instead of ½ gram, use ¼, or instead of ¼ gram, use 1/8. When it comes to meth withdrawal, the most important thing is safety. Therefore, seek medical help when planning to quit meth to avoid any risks.

Treating Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

There are certain medications that are effective for treating meth withdrawal symptoms. Such medications can make meth withdrawal and detox a more bearable experience for you.

  • Benzodiazepines can help calm agitation and anxiety
  • Antidepressants can help with insomnia and anhedonia
  • Bupropion (an antidepressant also known as Wellbutrin or Aplenzin) has reduced use in those with mild addictions
  • Antipsychotics can also help with insomnia and psychosis
  • Mirtazapine (an antidepressant) and Modafinil (a stimulant) are used to treat excessive sleepiness and narcolepsy.

Avoiding Relapse during Protracted Withdrawal

No matter how small, every relapse undoes the progress your brain has made during the recovery process. Relapse occurs weeks or months before the actual relapse and understanding the signs and steps to take can help you avoid one. Protracted withdrawal, also known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms is characterised by fewer physical symptoms and more emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

The most important thing to do to avoid relapse is to be patient. If you try to bulldoze through post-acute withdrawal, you may become exhausted, and begin to consider different means of escape, including using meth. Protracted withdrawal is a sign that your brain is recovering and it’s important to remember that even if it lasts a year, you are still on the journey to recovery.

Which Treatments Work For Meth Addiction?

The most effective meth addiction treatments start with some level of detoxification, which involves flushing the drugs out of your body. Detox programmes may provide you with much needed supportive care, especially if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Such programmes are usually short-term, and after completion, you may be provided with additional recovery services.

Inpatient treatment programmes provide 24 hour medical and psychiatric supervision. Depending on your programme, you may receive individual or group therapy, medical care or alternative treatments. In outpatient treatment programmes, you will be allowed to remain at home for your treatment.

Other Help for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction treatment is incomplete without counselling. Individual counselling, group counselling, family counselling and peer support are all important components of meth addiction treatment. Even the Matrix Model, an effective treatment for meth addiction, makes use of different forms of counselling to help you recover.

No two addiction cases are the same. Therefore, different forms of counselling are required for optimum results. In certain cases, a combination of individual and other forms of group counselling may offer the most effective treatment overall.

Rehabilitation Options for Meth

There is a wide range of rehab options available for meth recovery, and these can give you a clear picture of what to expect when making a decision:

Inpatient Rehabs – considered the gold standard, as they have proved to offer effective results. Treatment is residential, offering comprehensive and uninterrupted care.

Outpatient Rehabs – offers many of the same addiction care options as residential rehabs, but with the option of returning home at the end of the day.

Luxury Rehabs – these are more expensive, with a lower staff to patient ratio than traditional rehabilitation centres. They can also build a complete programme around your unique conditions because of the additional funds.

Private – treatment at these rehabs are either handled by you or your insurance company. They have benefits such as better staff to patient ratio and smaller waiting lists.

Does Treatment For Meth Addiction Work?

Recovering from meth addiction is a difficult process at best, but it is possible. For meth addiction treatment to be described as successful, you have to be prepared to get clean and sober, and to make a commitment to your journey into a drug-free life. It is important for you to realise that your recovery process may take months or years in order to fully run its course.

During this time, the physiological changes occurring within you might create an increased desire to use methamphetamine. However, once past this key stage in recovery, you might find that the process of maintaining sobriety and saying ‘no’ to meth becomes easier. Also, with each day of sobriety, there is a reduced chance of a relapse occurring.

What is Meth Detox?

Detox is the first major step in recovery from a meth addiction. Meth detox involves removing all traces of meth from your system. During detox, it is possible for you to experience symptoms such as cravings, increase in appetite or sleepiness. While the actual timeline of detox from meth will vary from one person to another, it can last up to two weeks.

If you are a heavy meth abuser and engage in frequent binges, your detox may take longer. In addition, within 24 hours of your last dose, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms such as jitteriness and cravings.

How to Safely Detox From Meth

Medical detox centres can help you go through the meth withdrawal and detox process as safely and comfortably as possible. Medically supervised detox provided by inpatient and outpatient treatment centres offer a safe detox process, as they put a great deal of energy into making available well-trained therapists, reading materials, support groups and educational groups to help you recover from your substance abuse disorders.

Additionally, they carry out research into the types of treatment that work, so that evidence-based addiction treatment programmes can be developed. Such programmes provide the right kind of assistance to ensure recovery and prevent a relapse. Even though relapse is always an issue, when you undergo safe detox at medical treatment centres, your probability of suffering a relapse is significantly low.

Medically Assisted Meth Detox

Medially assisted meth detox involves medical supervision, sleep, good food and a safe place to recover whilst going through detox.

Some medications have been useful for lessening cravings and easing the withdrawal symptoms that occur during detox. They include:

  • Modafinil: This medication improves wakefulness and concentration, and it may be given as an assistive medication.
  • Varenicline (Chantix): This drug is used to help quit smoking. Studies show that it can also be used to treat meth addiction by reducing cravings.
  • Dexamphetamine: This stimulant may lessen cravings, help with withdrawal symptoms and assist in the meth detox process.
  • Naloxone: This drug has been extensively used for reducing cravings for other classes of drugs and may also help reduce meth cravings.
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Meth Detox: What to Expect

Stage 1: Evaluation After your admission, your health and well-being will be assessed, including the use of blood tests to determine how much meth is in your system. The evaluation stage is important to ensure an effective long-term recovery plan.

Stage 2: Stabilisation At this stage, the focus is on making you feel as comfortable as possible, especially if you arrive at the detox centre at the peak of your withdrawal. Your doctor will adjust treatments according to your symptoms.

Stage 3: Transition into further treatment As detox comes to a close, your doctor will discuss the next steps with you. They may recommend you continue your treatment in a rehab facility if your detox is not already taking place at one.

How to Detox from Meth at Home

You may prefer to detox from meth at home, instead of seeking treatment at a detox centre. If this is the case, then there are some ways to reduce the potential for a relapse, which is usually common when detoxing from meth at home. These holistic and herbal approaches include:

  • Eating a healthy diet – your body naturally eliminates drugs, mainly through the liver. While it won’t eliminate withdrawal symptoms, a healthy diet can help clean your system.
  • Using herbal remedies –-things smoothies, juices, lemons, Epsom salt baths, special diets and meditation will also help.
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a powerful supplement that can be useful in your detoxification process. It may also slightly lessen your cravings.

How to Know if You Need Residential Detox

There are a number of symptoms that need to be identified to determine whether a methamphetamine residential rehab centre will benefit you the most. They are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Feeling physically ill when not using methamphetamines
  • Hoarding the medication or keeping a constant supply to hand
  • Inability to function without the drug
  • Rotting teeth

Residential detox programmes take into consideration the range of symptoms you might experience, based on your personal circumstances and other factors, and develop appropriate strategies to address them.

Dangers of Detoxing at Home

If your home is full of meth triggers, especially one in which meth is highly prevalent and easily accessible, it is highly unadvisable to detox in such a place. A home detox is also not advised if you have dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental illnesses. In addition, detoxing at home can leave you helpless in the face of psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.

The process of withdrawal is usually accompanied by dehydration, which can be dangerous in extreme cases. It is for this reason that a medically supervised detox is the better alternative. Detoxing at home robs you of access to round-the-clock medical supervision during meth withdrawal and detox. You will have no access to professional nurses and doctors who can ensure you are well hydrated and have the essential nutrients for a healthy and safe detox.

Meth Detox Process

The five stages involved in a meth detox process include:

  1. Intake: you are assigned a supervisor or therapist. Your background information is then obtained, to be used to develop a treatment plan for you.
  2. Getting acclimatised: the next step is to familiarise you with the facility via a tour. Your belongings will then be checked for drugs and any drug paraphernalia, cell phones and other contraband.
  3. Physical examination: a physician will evaluate you before treatment begins. You may also be asked about your medical history.
  4. Treatment: you will be given treatment programmes and a schedule of suitable therapies to attend. If you need medications to maintain your health and ease the recovery process, they will also be provided.
  5. Aftercare: after detox and treatment, your therapist will work with you to develop an aftercare plan. The plan will include counselling and 12-step meetings.

Why Detox Is a Must

Without professional assistance, physical and psychological symptoms can complicate the detox process. Regardless of your willingness to stop, going through meth detox on your own at home isn’t considered as effective. This is because instead of confronting the pain and anxiety that can occur during detox, you may consume more than your regular quantity, leading to serious health risks and life-threatening consequences.

When your rehabilitation programme begins with a drug detox, it increases your chances of staying off the substance you abuse. Since your goal is to start a better life in recovery, you can only significantly increase the likelihood that you will stay off drugs by undergoing detox. This is because the physical aspects of addiction need to be addressed.

Helping a Loved One in Meth Detox

The impact of the physical and psychological symptoms, emotional challenges and personality changes involved in meth detox cannot be easily understood. However, if your loved one is in meth detox, you can make things easier for them by being by their side and staying engaged in the process. It is normal for people going through detox to overact from their mental and/or physical difficulties in the process.

Generally, meth addicts are viewed by others as being morally weak. If a loved one holds this opinion too, it can discourage the addict. You should therefore understand that meth affects the brain’s chemistry. To help him or her, you must believe that they can recover and allow your loved one to benefit from your optimism and enthusiasm during the challenging detox process.

Care Programmes and Treatment Facilities

If you’re trying to decide on an appropriate treatment facility, you may want to know which types are suitable. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), you may benefit more from inpatient treatment if you suffer from a severe case of long-term meth abuse. A good treatment centre for you is one that can take care of the side effects related to your addiction, and will design treatment features around your needs.

Care programmes and treatment facilities offer treatment programmes that are adapted to your unique needs. For instance, short-term meth use can lead to certain cognitive impairments, including issues with verbal memory. A facility familiar with this side effect of meth usage will offer programmes that utilise pictures more than words. This means that the key points you need to pass will be done so using images.

Coming to Terms with Your Meth Addiction

It’s not so easy to admit that you have an addiction, and sometimes an intervention may be needed. If your meth abuse is beyond control, you’ll find that you’re unable to quit on your own or that you keep going back to the drug. Coming to terms with your meth addiction and surrendering your desire for the drug is an important first step to living completely drug-free.

Overcoming your meth addiction starts from making the choice to end the habit, instead of continuing on a potentially destructive path. As soon as you have made this decision, you can begin to look for treatment centres and start to overcome your problem. It is important to remember that you are the person responsible for making the decision to change.

Meth Rehabilitation Programme

Meth rehabilitation programmes treat the causes, symptoms and behaviours related to meth addiction. As a patient, you can learn new ways to cope with stress through professional counselling and therapy sessions. When you attend a meth rehabilitation centre, you have a better chance of success than others who do not.

Rehabilitation programmes can be inpatient or outpatient centres. With inpatient treatment, you will be required to live at the centre for a recommended period of time, where you will receive therapy, counselling and other programmes to aid your recovery. Outpatient treatment is recommended if your meth dependence is not so severe.

Motivational Incentives

Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR) is an incentive-based programme structured towards the belief that it is possible for recovering addicts to abstain from harmful drugs through self-control. Therefore, if you are able to survive pre-agreed durations without using meth, you’ll be rewarded by entering your name into a draw for a prize.

Motivational methods are based on the idea that punishments are not as effective as rewards and incentives. It increases the desire for change, and makes you more interested in the meth addiction treatment process, as well as committed to attending meetings and counselling, because there are significant prizes to be won.

Key Facts about Meth Abuse

  • Methamphetamine can be injected, swallowed, snorted or smoked. Depending on usage, the effects generally last from four to eight hours.
  • The use of amphetamine is varied and includes weight control and treating mild depression. Methamphetamine has therefore been marketed to women as a treatment for depression and a weight loss solution.
  • Prolonged and consistent use of methamphetamine can lead to sleeplessness, paranoia, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, hallucinations and extreme mood swings.
  • Abrupt discontinuation of meth by heavy users will lead to withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, severe depression, fearfulness and lethargy.


Is Withdrawal from Meth Dangerous?

Meth withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening and include suicidal thoughts, delusion and hallucinations.

Where Can You Detox From Meth?

Professional meth detox services offer the best way for you to rid your body of meth and start your journey to recovery.

What Kind of Medication Will My Doctor Prescribe?

Your doctor may prescribe medications for specific symptoms, such as trazodone for sleep or antidepressants.

What Makes Meth Addiction Recovery Difficult?

Meth addiction recovery is difficult because at the early stages, your memory, concentration and decision making are not at their sharpest.

What Can I Do to Succeed at Meth Recovery?

To succeed at meth recovery, consider going to a licensed detox facility.

Drawbacks of Medication Therapy for Meth?

Medication therapy does not address the underlying trauma and emotions that may have contributed to your substance abuse.

What are the List of Popular Slang or Street Names for Meth?

Some of meth’s street names include: speed, crank, go fast, chalk, uppers and Tina.

How Long Does Meth Detox Last?

It varies from individual to individual, but the average length for light to moderate users is three days, while heavy meth users might detox for up to a week.

Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful

Different severe symptoms can occur during a detox, which you may be unable to deal with at home. At a clinic, you will have access to professional supervision and medication.

Does Withdrawal Last Long?

Usually, withdrawal lasts from one to two weeks, but in some severe cases, it takes about four weeks or more.

What Are the Effects of Meth Withdrawal?

The effects of meth withdrawal keep you using in spite of the consequences on your life. Such effects include fatigue, anxiety and an intense craving for meth.

What Are the Different Types of Meth Detox?

The types of meth detox available include natural detox, medical detox, medicated detox, inpatient detox or outpatient detox.

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