Meth Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

Methamphetamine is a potent, highly addictive illicit drug. Users may quickly become addicted to it after a short period of abuse.

When people become addicted to meth, it can be nearly impossible for them to quit using it on their own. Meth withdrawal can cause intense, disruptive symptoms that may lead to relapse.

Understanding the symptoms of meth withdrawal and knowing what treatment is available can help people stay on track when detox is challenging. This article will explore what happens during a meth detox. You will learn:

  • How meth addiction occurs
  • Common symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal
  • How long meth withdrawal may last
  • What treatment is available during a meth detox
  • Where to find treatment for methamphetamine addiction

Meth abuse and addiction are complex, dangerous conditions. If you or someone you love struggles with meth abuse or addiction, you are not alone. Contact The Best Treatment specialists now to learn about our comprehensive medical detox and treatment programs.

Meth: Effects, Risks, and Addiction

Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful illicit stimulant drug. People make this synthetic drug in unregulated labs using dangerous combinations of chemicals.[1]

Crystal meth is a solid form of the drug that resembles glass or crystals. Users typically ingest meth by snorting, smoking, or injecting it.

Methamphetamine increases central nervous system (CNS) activity. The short-term side effects of meth include:

  • Increased energy, alertness, and activity
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased body temperature
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Pupil dilation

Meth abuse can cause significant long-term complications, including:[2]

  • Physical dependence
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Memory loss
  • Sleep problems
  • Aggression or violent behaviors
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Using meth for prolonged periods can change how your body and brain work. It can affect your brain’s dopamine levels and cause physical dependence. These changes can make it very challenging to stop using meth.

People who become addicted to meth must have medical supervision, treatment, and ongoing support to prevent relapse.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

If you abuse meth and develop addiction, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. Some of the acute withdrawal symptoms include:[3]

  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Depression
  • Extreme irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Insomnia followed by excessive sleep
  • Intense cravings
  • Low energy
  • Weight gain

Many people experience a period of acute withdrawal symptoms followed by lingering symptoms. Some signs and symptoms of post-acute withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Lost ability to experience pleasure
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis
  • Sleeping too much

The physical and emotional discomfort of withdrawal can make it very difficult for people to avoid relapse. It is crucial to have professional support in a treatment center during meth detox.

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

Many factors can affect a person’s meth withdrawal timeline. People who use meth frequently or take higher doses may have longer, more intense withdrawal periods.

Mental and physical health, the severity of your addiction, and other personal factors can also affect your withdrawal timeline. However, symptoms typically follow a typical pattern.

Here is an overview of the meth withdrawal timeline and the treatments you may receive during each stage.

Day one

You will likely experience the onset of acute withdrawal symptoms within the first 24 hours of your last dose. You may have:

  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings

During a detox program in a treatment facility, you will receive supervision and treatment to help you stay safe and comfortable during detox. Your treatment plan may include:

  • FDA-approved medications to reduce cravings and other symptoms
  • Screening and assessment for suicidal thoughts and other severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental health treatment and emotional support
  • A secure environment
  • Round-the-clock access to treatment and support

Your treatment team will provide essential treatment to keep you on track, even when detox is challenging.

One week

Your symptoms will intensify during the first few days of detox but may begin to improve toward the end of the first week without meth. Many people continue to have intense cravings at this stage. Supervision, treatment, and support are essential.

As your symptoms improve, your treatment team may alter your plan to include additional therapies, including group and individual counseling and holistic therapies.

Two weeks

Your acute physical symptoms may significantly improve during the second week of detox. As you begin to feel better, your treatment team will continue to assess your symptoms and provide care for cravings and other symptoms.

Three weeks and beyond

Most people feel much more comfortable by their third week without meth. Protracted withdrawal symptoms may continue to bother people for several weeks, but symptoms are usually mild and easier to manage.

Your medical and mental health support team may change your treatment plan or suggest transitioning to another less intensive level of care at this point. However, ongoing treatment and support are essential to prevent relapse.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment

If you are one of the millions of people in the United States living with substance abuse or addiction, effective treatment is available at The Best Treatment. Contact our intake specialists now to explore your meth addiction treatment options or schedule an intake assessment.

References:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Methamphetamine Research Report
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine misuse?
  3. JAMA Network: Targeting Withdrawal Symptoms in Men Addicted to Methamphetamine With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.