Meth Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Do Symptoms Last?

One of the main questions many people have when considering quitting meth is “How long do meth withdrawal symptoms last?”. Of course, this is an important consideration, but with the right support and care inside a professional and safe medical detox program, you will get through the short detox period without having to suffer unnecessary pain and mental health issues.

What is Crystal Meth?

Meth is the shortened version of the name methamphetamine, a highly addictive, potent stimulant drug that is man-made by combining household chemicals. This drug often looks like small white or blue rocks, or pieces of glass, or can be crushed into powder. Sometimes it is dissolved in liquid to be injected or eaten, but the most common ways to use meth are by snorting the powder or smoking it.

Some other common street names for meth are ice, glass, crank, shard, speed, fast, crystal meth, or base, and in liquid form, it may go by red speed, liquid red, oxblood, or leopard’s blood. Because meth is an unregulated street drug that is produced in illegal laboratories, there is no way of knowing what is in meth when you buy it. Many traffickers will cut it with household products and chemicals like iodine, hydrochloric acid, or baking soda, all of which can harm the body if smoked or injected. This is done to increase their profits, stretching out their meth supply to last longer, without any consideration of what type of damage they are doing to their customers.

how long do meth withdrawal symptoms lastWhen you use meth, you may notice that you have:

  • A decreased appetite, digestive issues, and fast weight loss
  • Increased movement, activity, sociability, and talkativeness, with a fast, rambling speech
  • Sleep issues
  • Chaotic or aggressive behavior and mood swings
  • Sores on the skin from scratching, or having nosebleeds, burns, and/or track marks from meth use

Meth provides a short-lived euphoric high because it causes dopamine to rush into the brain. Following the high, usually within a few hours, comes a distressing and uncomfortable “crash”, making it feel like the only option is to continue using more meth to maintain the high as long as possible. This is what is known as “bingeing” or “tweaking” and can last for days, causing users to stop eating and sleeping in favor of using more drugs.

When a person binges on meth, they temporarily avoid the physical exhaustion, discomfort, and depression caused by a meth comedown, but those who are tweaking may not sleep for 3 to 15 days, and they may start performing repetitive motions or suffer from delusions. Tweaking causes serious and dangerous mental health problems, brain damage, overdose, and long-term harm to their bodies. As a person uses more meth, they will develop worse comedown symptoms, causing a cycle of use that results in addiction, as it becomes impossible to feel normal without meth.

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Signs of Meth Addiction

The signs that a person may be using meth or may have a meth addiction include:  

  • Spending a lot of time thinking about meth, finding meth, using meth, and recovering from meth use
  • Having difficulties maintaining relationships and keeping up with everyday responsibilities
  • Losing touch with friends and isolating yourself from family, spending time with other meth users
  • Continuing to use meth even when it causes health issues, work problems, relationship issues, and other life problems
  • Developing a tolerance for the drug, and needing to take more each time to achieve the same high
  • Showing signs of mental health and mood issues like paranoia, mood swings, anxiety, and hallucinations
  • Having strong cravings for meth or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit

What Can I Expect During Meth Detox?

If you have recognized some or all of these signs of having a meth use disorder in yourself, and want to start the treatment process to regain control over your life, the first step is often a meth detox program. Detoxing from meth can sometimes produce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which are generally less intense than other drug withdrawals can be, but in some cases can cause serious issues like seizures or severe dehydration and other serious physical problems. One of the most difficult withdrawal symptoms for many people addicted to meth is depression, with suicidal thoughts. Because this is a common issue, it is often recommended that a person detoxing from meth stay inside a 24-hour medical inpatient treatment center, just to be safe.

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What are the Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal?

During detox, you will likely experience some degree of the following symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and sleepiness
  • Jitteriness, jumpiness, or shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Depression with or without suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
  • Delusions (believing things that are not true)
  • Psychosis
  • Very strong cravings to use meth

Many people who have been using meth will have short- to long-term cognitive defects that may include memory issues, difficulty making plans, and shorter attention spans. Depression and psychosis are more often seen in older patients and patients who had a pre-existing mental health condition before starting meth use.

Is it a Meth Comedown or Withdrawal?

One of the reasons people first begin abusing meth regularly is due to the comedown or crash they experience once the initial euphoria of meth wears off, usually within 8 hours. A comedown is different from withdrawal as it is more like a hangover. When you use meth, the brain is flooded with dopamine and toxic chemicals, and you will have more than likely skipped eating and sleeping while high. Once the drug wears off, you will feel physically exhausted, and experience other symptoms like:

  • Muscle pain, especially in the jaw from clenching
  • Anxiety and insomnia
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or depression
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Some of these symptoms are similar to those of withdrawal, but it is not to the same degree of severity

Meth Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Do The Symptoms Last?

So how long do meth withdrawal symptoms last? The answer is that everybody is different, and the severity of your withdrawal symptoms will depend on factors including:

  • How long you have been using meth
  • How often have you used meth (once a week, once a day, several times a day, etc.)
  • Whether you were also using other drugs along with meth or drinking as well
  • Genetic, biological, and physical variations from person to person
  • Your overall mental health and whether you have a co-occurring mental illness

The meth detox timeline is unique from other drugs because the withdrawal is mostly psychological and emotional, with some physical symptoms. Meth withdrawal is not consistently severe, and it is not physically dangerous to your health unless you engage in self-harm or have serious health issues like cardiac problems, dehydration, or seizures due to binges. That said, meth detox is extremely difficult to handle, and will usually require professional help to get through.

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The timeline for meth withdrawal is as follows:

  • 8 to 24 hours after your last meth use: withdrawal symptoms start to appear
  • In 7 to 10 days – meth withdrawal increases in intensity over time, reaching its peak
  • In 14 to 20 days – symptoms will slowly get better and you will feel healthier as time goes on

A meth detox program in a treatment center usually lasts around a week, but everybody’s individual experiences vary, as it depends on what else is going on with your mental health, your physical health, and your level of comfort. You may or may not be prescribed short-term medications or longer-term antidepressants to help you deal with mental health concerns and to keep you safe as your body adjusts. You will not suffer as your body removes the toxins from your system and rebalances your brain chemistry.

It is important to remember that detoxing is only the first step to recovery, and a long-term rehab and aftercare treatment plan is the best way to stay on track with your sobriety.

What Happens Next After Completing Meth Detox?

Meth detox is only the first step in addiction treatment. After you complete a full detoxification, it is advised to continue on this positive trajectory directly into a residential (inpatient) rehab program, or in some cases directly into an outpatient treatment plan.

Drug addiction is a serious and complex disease that affects millions of US citizens every single year. There is not one single root cause to addiction, so your rehabilitation plan will be customized to best suit your needs as an individual, rather than trying to fit you into a one-size-fits-all plan. It is important to treat all facets of addiction in one comprehensive program that includes not only physical health, but also mental health, emotional, social, spiritual, and behavioral health as well.

Addiction can be treated but it never fully goes away, so a long-term aftercare program with connections to helpful resources, ongoing therapy and medical care, and support groups will help you stay on the path to life-long recovery after rehab is over.

What are Some Meth Addiction Treatment Options?

Even though the prospect of going through detox can sound scary, it is important to quit using methamphetamine as soon as you can. Not only is it so addictive it can destroy relationships, financial stability, and mental health, but long-term meth abuse can also cause issues including:

  • Insomnia and issues with sleeping
  • Mood swings and violent, aggressive behavior
  • Extreme, unhealthy weight loss and diseases due to malnutrition
  • Skin infections and sores that won’t heal
  • Heart problems
  • Severe dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease sometimes called “meth mouth”
  • Formication, making you feel like insects are crawling under your skin
  • Mental health issues like anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, and paranoia
  • The injection causes an increased risk of getting a communicable disease
  • Nausea
  • Increased risk of stroke and Parkinson’s disease
  • Serious lung issues if you are smoking meth
  • Organ and tissue damage due to a high body temperature
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures and permanent brain damage
  • Irreversible anhedonia is an inability to feel pleasure or take an interest in enjoyable activities

Psychosis, or not knowing what is real and what is not

It is important not to use meth with other drugs, especially those that can cause death by overdoses like narcotics, painkillers, opioid drugs, and benzodiazepines, as meth can disguise the symptoms of an overdose until it is too late.

Anybody who has been using meth for a long time, who has been bingeing meth, or who is unable to quit using meth on their own are advised to undergo treatment with medical supervision. There is a high risk of dangerous dehydration levels and mental health problems that can become lethal without proper care. A medical detox program can provide you with 24-hour oversight by doctors and nurses, along with proper support, psychiatric care, and a comfortable, safe, and sober place to stay as you rest and recuperate.

After your detox period is complete and you are deemed stable enough to move on in treatment, rehab is the next step. The full continuum of care that is recommended is as follows:

Medical detox – for meth, you will likely be inside a medical detox program for 7 to 10 days. This is an inpatient type of care, offering full medical treatments, visits with therapists and counselors, healthy food, and everything you need to stay healthy and comfortable as your body detoxifies itself

Inpatient drug rehab (residential rehab) – inpatient rehab for meth is usually a 30-day program but can be longer depending on your unique needs as an individual. In inpatient rehab you will move into the treatment center full-time, taking time off work and school, and dedicating each day fully to your own recovery. This is an intensive way to reprogram your thinking, see life from a new perspective, gain healthy habits, learn new coping mechanisms, and stay away from the temptations found in the outside world. Your days will be structured and planned out, filled with doctor’s appointments, individual and group therapy, educational programs, and other treatments, with plenty of time to relax in the evenings

Outpatient rehab – there are different levels of care that are available on an outpatient basis. Outpatient means that you live at home or in a sober residence and then come in at scheduled times for treatments. The different options available for outpatient care are:

  • Day programs – in the day programs available at TruPath, patients come in for full days, 5 to 7 days a week to receive treatments like behavioral therapy, holistic treatments, art therapy, group therapy, individual (one-on-one) therapy, and more, returning home at the end of the day. Our day programs are usually short-term, lasting a few weeks in length, acting as a transition between inpatient treatment and an intensive outpatient program
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)- the IOP is a customizable program unique to each patient, offering group therapy, individual therapy, educational sessions, support groups, behavioral therapy, ongoing doctor’s care, and more. Each client will set their own recovery goals and timeframes. Most IOPs last for a few weeks to a few months, starting out with intensive programming that tapers down as time goes on and more milestones are met

If you are unsure about what types of treatments will work best for your unique situation, you can always ask your doctor or a therapist, or you can call the treatment center and find out more. There is no such thing as a stupid question when you are trying to improve your health. The people on the other line will be happy to assist you in figuring out how to get the help you need.

What Happens After Meth Addiction Treatment?

After you complete your time in inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment for meth, you can keep receiving support in our continuing care program. This is an ongoing plan that is designed to help you stay on track in your recovery journey, with 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and other peer support groups for as long as you want. Most people leaving our treatment programs will stay in touch with sober communities for years after they complete rehab.

Overcome Meth Addiction with Help from TruPath Today

TruPath offers the full continuum of care for treatment for meth addiction with our nationwide network of rehabilitation centers, leading from detox through inpatient and outpatient care and beyond. We incorporate empowerment, integrity, personal growth, and education into a holistic, whole-patient approach to healing. Recovery is a lifelong process, and you can trust TruPath to be there for you, every step of the way.

Treatments we offer include:

  • Medical detox
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plans
  • Dual diagnosis plans
  • Behavioral health care
  • Medication management services
  • Medical care and treatments
  • Family therapy
  • Biofeedback treatments
  • Group therapy and peer support
  • Individual counseling and therapy
  • Holistic treatments like meditation, yoga, and art therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Case management services
  • Relapse prevention programs
  • Connections to sober homes and long-term recovery resources

Please call us today for answers to questions like:

  • How long do meth withdrawal symptoms last?
  • Does my insurance cover rehab?  
  • What amenities do you offer in your inpatient programs?
  • How do I get started?
  • What is the admissions process like?
  • What can I bring to rehab with me?

Overcoming meth addiction is not easy, but our team of non-judgmental, caring professionals is here for you and can help you stop using meth and take the first step down the long road to sober living.

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