Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that has a powerful impact on your mood, energy levels, and alertness. Due to its
potency, it is very addictive which means you can develop a dependency and addiction to it fast. Once these have
occurred it becomes hard to quit.
Drug abuse can be dangerous, particularly with potent drugs such as meth. If you or a loved one is struggling with
meth use, the sooner you get help the easier it will be. This blog outlines the meth detox process, signs that you
need to seek medical detox, and where you can get support.
What Is Meth?
Meth is a synthetic stimulant drug that is often made in home labs. It works by increasing the levels of dopamine and
adrenaline in parts of the brain involved in reward, learning, and motor function. In low doses, it increases
attention, which is why its only legal form, Desoxyn, is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD). In high doses, it causes feelings of euphoria which is why it is used recreationally.
Meth is a Schedule
II Controlled Substance which means that it has a high potential for causing abuse and dependence. However,
unlike Schedule I substances, it is considered to have some medical uses. It was used by soldiers during World War II
to keep them alert.
Meth is typically found as a crystalline white powder or as a clear or blue crystal known as crystal meth. It can
have dangerous impurities that make it yellow or brown, though even if it is white or clear it may still contain
impurities. For example, it can be mixed with antidepressants or opioids which can interact dangerously in the body.
If it is cut with the opioid fentanyl this is especially dangerous as even a very small amount can cause an overdose.
What Is Meth Detox?
Detoxing from meth is the process of quitting and allowing it and its metabolites to leave your body. Metabolites of
meth are the substances it breaks down into in your body. These can also be toxic. During detox, your brain and body
readjust to no longer having meth. This involves having to work through the meth withdrawal symptoms which occur when
you are dependent on this substance.
Dependence can develop rapidly with meth. It occurs when your brain adapts to the drug to a point that it feels it
needs it to function normally. This is why you experience meth withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Meth addiction is
sometimes confused with dependence, but they are different. Addiction is a brain disease that changes your behavior,
causing you to compulsively take the substance to which you are addicted. It is common for it to be experienced at the
same time as dependence as they both develop gradually in response to drug use.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Methamphetamine withdrawal can be very difficult. Crystal meth is the most potent form of the drug, and because of
this crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can be more severe. The common symptoms can be both physical and psychological.
Psychological Symptoms of meth withdrawal
- Extreme fatigue
- Depression and anxiety
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased sexual pleasure
- Drug cravings
Physical Symptoms of meth withdrawal
- Weight gain
- Sleeping a lot
The thought of experiencing these symptoms after quitting meth may seem scary to you. However, there are ways to make
the meth withdrawal process easier. Going for a medical detox at an addiction center such as NP Addiction means that
you will be well looked after and as comfortable as possible during your meth detox.
Meth Withdrawal Timeline
One to two days. The first stage of meth withdrawal is also known as the crash phase. Symptoms
typically start within 24 hours. At this point, it is normal to feel depression, intense drug cravings, and sleep a
lot. Some people will experience anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Three to five days. Withdrawal symptoms should begin to decline at this point. Cravings will tend to
get more intense, so the chances of relapse are high if you have access to meth.
Two to four weeks. Cravings should begin to decrease at this point. Some people who have mental
health problems may find that these are uncovered once the effects of meth have been reduced.
In the following months. After the previous steps of acute meth withdrawal, some people will
experience protracted withdrawal. This is where you experience meth withdrawal symptoms for longer than is considered
normal, even lasting for months. Symptoms at this point may include difficulties with cognitive functions such as
attention, working memory, planning, and problem-solving. You are also likely to experience problems with mood such as
depression and an inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia).
What Affects the Length of the Meth Withdrawal Timeline?
The methamphetamine withdrawal process varies a lot depending on the person. There are many factors that affect how
intensely and for how long you will experience withdrawal symptoms during meth detox. Some of these include:
- How long you have been using meth
- How frequently and the amount you are using
- Your method of administering e.g. smoking or injecting
- Whether you have experienced withdrawal symptoms before
- The purity of meth you use
- Personal factors such as your metabolism, weight, and physical and mental health
Do I Need Medically Supervised Detox?
Medically supervised detox is where you undergo detox in a clinic or addiction treatment center. There are risks
associated with detoxing from meth, so it is recommended that you get professional support to do it. Risks can include
depression and psychotic episodes. There is also a risk of relapse and self-harm. Experiencing withdrawal under
supervision allows medical professionals to make sure that you are as safe and comfortable as possible in a meth-free
You may also be offered medication to help with the methamphetamine detox and withdrawal process. You could be
prescribed different drugs to relieve the severity of withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Bupropion – an atypical antidepressant that reduces cravings
- Modafinil – a mild stimulant used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD that can help with cravings and problems sleeping
- Fluoxetine – a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant that can help with panic attacks and other
symptoms of anxiety
Signs that could suggest you need to undergo medically assisted detox include:
- using meth for a long time
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop
- trying to quit but not managing
- abusing multiple drugs
- being pregnant
However, it is important that you speak with a medical professional before you begin the initial withdrawal process.
They can give you a full assessment and provide you with medical advice.
Signs Someone Is Using Meth
It can be useful to understand the signs of meth use so that you can recognize if a loved one needs support. You may
also be taking meth yourself but not recognize that you have a problem. Some signs of meth use and meth addiction
- damage to skin, mouth, teeth, and gums
- loss of appetite
- tremors and twitching
- paranoia and hallucinations
- intense mood swings
- social withdrawal
- loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- loss of control of the amount or frequency of use
Meth Addiction Treatment
Accepting that you have a problem and quitting meth can be very difficult. Even making the step of reaching out for
support can take a lot. When you first go to an addiction center you will be assessed. Medical professionals will do
an evaluation to find out what sort of treatment will suit you. They will usually ask you about your history of use as
well as your medical history to understand if you have a co-occurring disorder. They may wish to know what sort of
meth you have been using and which methods you use to administer it. This is to work out, for example, if you have a
crystal meth addiction or have been using powdered meth. These questions are important so that together you can make a
treatment plan that is best for you.
There are then options to choose between, for example, if you will receive inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Inpatient treatment allows you to be monitored 24/7 so that withdrawal symptoms can be dealt with as they come up. It
also helps to be in an environment that is focused on recovery and in which you do not have access to meth.
With outpatient treatment, you will go to the treatment center in the days or evenings but will stay at home at night
and will be able to continue to meet your responsibilities such as school or work. You will still have support from a
medical professional and may be prescribed medication to help you manage but will not receive 24/7 monitoring. This
can suit people who have responsibilities that they cannot avoid during the detox process.
Getting Treatment at NP Addiction
At NP Addiction we understand the struggle of accepting that you have a drug addiction and need help. We believe that
recovery takes more than detox and that it is important that you feel connected to those around you while you are in
recovery. We aim to create an environment in which you feel safe and included.
Every person’s experience of substance abuse and recovery is different. That’s why we offer a range of treatment
options so that together we can create a program that works for you. Treatment options include:
- detox under medical supervision
- individual and group therapy
- art, music, and recreational therapy
- family therapy sessions
- transitional support
You can find out more on our
website or by calling us at (888) 574-3506. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you to our