What Is Methamphetamine Withdrawal Like?

Understanding Meth Withdrawal

Methamphetamine abuse is a huge problem within the United States, and because of its potency, the drug can lead to rapid dependency. Many recreational users will experience a “crash” period after they stop using the drug, which can last a few days; however, addicted or dependent users will experience a methamphetamine withdrawal which can last for up to several weeks. The withdrawal symptoms of meth are debilitating and painful, and can cause the user to take more of the drug in hopes of counteracting the withdrawal process. This may lead to a downward spiral of repeated meth use, which can perpetuate a cycle of addiction.

By the time many users realize they have a problem and try to quit, they find that the withdrawal effects have become too powerful to overcome on their own. Undergoing withdrawal in a medical detox program is the safest way to treat symptoms and remove meth from the body. These programs support patients with around-the-clock medical care throughout the entire process. Doctors and nurses are able to monitor patients’ vitals and tailor treatment plans as withdrawal symptoms begin to improve. Once detox is complete, recovering users can seek counseling and other services to learn how to maintain long-term sobriety.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of meth withdrawal can vary from person to person. The severity of the side effects depends on a number of factors, including the length of time the individual used meth, the amount of meth they used, how frequently they used, and whether they engaged in polydrug use and also abused other substances. Additionally, other factors, such as the method used to consume the drug, can affect withdrawal. Those who inject meth will typically experience a longer, more intense withdrawal process than those who don’t.

Signs and symptoms of withdrawal can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Loss of motivation
  • Tremor
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Stomach ache
  • Anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Dehydration

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

The specific time period for withdrawal varies between individuals, but the acute phase of withdrawal typically peaks around day two or three after last use and generally begins to ease after a week. However, psychological symptoms including mood swings, agitation, drug cravings, and sleep disturbances can persist for multiple weeks and depression can last for even months to a year in some.

Duration of Meth Withdrawals: Timeline of Symptoms
First 48 HoursThis phase is known as the “crash” and occurs within the first day of stopping use of the drug. During the first 24-48 hours, former users will begin to experience a sharp decline in energy and cognitive function, as well as nausea, abdominal cramping, and sweating.
Days 3-10Withdrawal symptoms typically peak during this time. As the body attempts to adjust without meth, recovering users will experience severe depression, anxiety, and extreme fatigue. Some people will also experience shaking and lingering muscle aches, as well as intense drug cravings.
Days 14-20Symptoms of meth withdrawal typically last around 2-3 weeks. Towards the end of the second week, most physical symptoms begin to subside, but intense drug cravings can persist. Additionally, continuing fatigue and depression are common during this period.
1 Month+The worst of withdrawal symptoms are typically over at this point. Any remaining symptoms will continue to fade over time. However, for some, the psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety may continue for several months before they subside.

Now imagine doing this alone with no medical or emotional help.

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