Methamphetamines are addictive stimulants that can be extremely dangerous. Meth withdrawal symptoms are both physical and psychological. Eventually, physical symptoms will go away. However, psychological symptoms can last months, even years, in some cases.
Whether someone uses crystal meth, speed, or any other form of amphetamines, this drug is a potent stimulant. Meth effects may last for up to eight hours or more, depending on the dose. But, once the medication starts to wear off, the withdrawal effects can make someone feel terrible.
Thankfully, unlike other drugs, the withdrawal symptoms of meth have been widely studied and analyzed. This means researchers and medical professionals have a well-rounded understanding of what to expect, withdrawal timelines, and more.
Withdrawal usually involves a set of symptoms that gradually wear off as the body adjusts to a new normal. People experience physical symptoms like fatigue, fever, and chills, along with psychological symptoms like depression. While most physical symptoms go away rather quickly, psychological symptoms like anxiety or depression can last months.
In the first 24 hours after someone’s last meth use, people begin to experience initial withdrawal symptoms including fatigue and increased appetite, particularly carb cravings. It’s common for them to feel irritable, anxious, and depressed at this stage too.
Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
The biggest problem with methamphetamine withdrawal is that symptoms are mainly psychological. Although the withdrawal process from meth isn’t as severe as withdrawal from opioids or alcohol, it can still pose some life-threatening risks. Most symptoms are mental health-related, and someone can become emotionally unstable without proper medical supervision. Most crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme cravings
Overall, most people will struggle with these psychological symptoms. Perhaps the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms most people will experience are depression and the potential to develop psychosis. This is particularly true for those who choose to go through the withdrawal or detox process without medical supervision.
Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Meth has a relatively short life. On average, a meth “high” lasts about ten hours. Because of this, most people will start feeling the initial signs of withdrawal as quickly as 24 hours after their last dose. Initially, they might feel lethargy, excessive sleepiness, increased appetite, dry mouth, and episodes of jitteriness.
In most cases, a meth withdrawal timeline would look something like this:
- Initial withdrawal symptoms start as soon as 24 hours after the last use
- Symptoms reach their peak by days 7-10. After this point, symptoms will begin to decline
- Most symptoms continue for about 14-20 days until they reside entirely
However, many factors play in the duration of meth withdrawal. Their mental and physical health before and during meth use, the quality of meth they used, if they used other drugs or alcohol can impact the severity of the symptoms. Some people will even develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). In this case, meth users will experience symptoms for months and have flare-ups years after detoxing from meth or any other substance.
How Long Will Withdrawal Last?
As a general rule of thumb, the longer a person uses meth, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be. The same applies to age; older people typically experience worse symptoms than younger people.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Treatment
There are no medications approved to treat meth withdrawal symptoms. However, doctors can use several different drugs to manage and control withdrawal’s psychological symptoms in medical detox facilities. By incorporating a medication-assisted treatment, doctors can ensure a more comfortable and secure detox process and prevent any side effects. Some common medications used include:
- Wellbutrin (bupropion) an antidepressant that could be helpful for meth addicts as it reduces drug cravings
- Provigil (modafinil), a mild stimulant used to treat ADHD that can help in lowering disruptive sleep patterns during the detox process.
- Prozac (fluoxetine) a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that can help with cravings in abstinence from crystal meth
- Remeron (mirtazapine) an antidepressant that can help prevent relapse during the withdrawal process
Of course, these medications must be administered under medically supervised environments. Other drugs that could be used include antipsychotic medications, mainly if someone develops psychosis during withdrawal. To ensure someone securely goes through the withdrawal period, it’s paramount to seek assistance at a medically supervised rehab facility or detox center.
Is It Time to Seek Help?
There’s no doubt meth addiction can be challenging to fight, especially with the substance becoming legal in so many states. But it isn’t impossible. Anyone who chooses to quit meth needs to find the right support system to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Thus, finding a partial hospitalization program (PHP) that monitors the detox process is paramount for a controlled and supervised scenario.
Many addiction treatment centers count on addiction specialists that can guide people through their recovery. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug rehab programs include:
Medical Detox: In this clinically supervised detox process at the rehab center, we ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and using medication-assisted treatment services to guarantee a complete detoxification process.
Intensive Outpatient Programs: When patients seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving, IOPs are a more flexible option that still gives people access to the help they need.
Group Therapy: Recovering addicts need to build a healthy support system that encourages their recovery and sobriety. A support group gives them a safe space to foster these relationships and continue working through their recovery after leaving an inpatient treatment facility.
Long-term Recovery Programs: With long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. Recovery programs are crucial to relapse prevention. They’re also a great place to work on their mental health and have access to drug abuse treatment as they step into the early days of recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with meth abuse, ask for help immediately. Please, call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.
Our addiction center offers unique and personalized treatment plans because we believe no two addictions are alike. The journey towards recovery is a long one, but together and with your family and friends’ support, we’ll make it. Whether you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, don’t delay seeking medical advice. Start your addiction recovery journey today.