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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

A meth high usually lasts less than a day. But how long does the powerful substance stay in your system?

What is Meth and Meth Addiction?

Methamphetamine (meth) is a strong, addictive, and illegal drug that affects the central nervous system. Originally, methamphetamine was developed from amphetamine to be used in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. But today, only one legal meth product exists for the treatment of ADHD and exogenous obesity, called Desoxyn. It is considered the second most popular illicit drug globally, and the United States law classifies meth as a Schedule II drug, yet 2.5 million Americans aged 12 or older reported having used methamphetamine in 2020.

Illicit methamphetamine goes under the street names speed, ice, crystal, crank, or chalk. The dangerous drug can lead to serious complications, both short and long-term, as well as overdose.

Meth Addiction

Like most drug abuse, Meth affects the brain’s reward system. Only it is so powerful that even first-time meth users have a very strong urge to use it again. A very small amount of meth can cause physical dependence and addiction.

Meth is such a highly addictive drug due to the long-lasting euphoria it creates, and the fact that a user will try to match the first euphoric high by increasing the amount. Meth addiction is a serious problem as it comes with severe consequences. It can have long-term effects on your health even after leaving your system.

These include severe dental problems, known as meth mouth, skin sores from scratching due to itching, anxiety, memory loss, and changes in brain function. A person may suffer from extreme weight loss and malnourishment, while violent behavior in drug-induced episodes and sleeping disorders are common too.

Effects of Meth

Effects of Meth

The effects of illicit meth are very different from prescribed methamphetamines. Smoking, snorting, ingesting, or injecting meth obtained illegally can cause unpredictable effects, as it is often sold as meth but the quality and potency are unknown, and it often includes other adulterants or substances.

Usually, people experience stages of meth intoxication before they crash. After ingesting the substance, a person may experience a rush that lasts between five to thirty minutes. This rush is usually followed by a longer meth high, lasting four to sixteen hours. Here, a person may experience increased awareness, rapid thinking patterns and speech, and obsessive behavior.

When the high wears off, binging usually begins, during which a person smokes or injects more and more of the drug, but experiences smaller rushes until the body does not respond anymore and there is no high. During this phase, which can last three to fifteen days, an abuser may become mentally and physically hyperactive and easily avoid eating or sleeping.

The last stage, called tweaking, is when the high effects have worn off and side effects and withdrawal symptoms start appearing. Here, a person can become increasingly unstable due to going many days without sleep, and they may be frustrated and paranoid, and experience itchy skin. Meth-induced psychosis can occur during intoxication or withdrawal after.

Further Effects of Meth Use

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), methamphetamine not only changes the way the brain works but also speeds up the body’s systems to lethal levels—increasing heart and breathing rates as well as blood pressure. Other effects and health consequences of methamphetamine use include:

  • Inability to focus
  • Agitation
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dilated pupils
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Delusions, such as the belief that insects crawl under the skin
  • Depressed reflexes and an increased reaction time
  • Restlessness
  • Time distortion

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamine come with intense cravings, which often motivate a person to use more and more of it. The heavier and longer the use, the longer it takes to entirely leave the system.

Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms include what is known as the ‘crash’. It lasts for one to three days when the body finally shuts down after overstimulation from a meth high. It can happen when a person stops using methamphetamines altogether too. The crash involves excessive fatigue and sleeping, and is followed by a ‘hangover’ stage, during which a person suffers from hunger, dehydration, and physical and mental exhaustion.

Meth Overdose

A methamphetamine overdose can be sudden or acute, when a person takes it intentionally or unintentionally, with deadly side effects. Meth accounts for 22.6% of drug overdose deaths in 2020 in the US. A chronic or long-term methamphetamine overdose refers to the consequences of regularly using meth on health.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

While the initial high may last less than a day, meth stays in the system for much more time. The liver remains hard at work long after the high wears off, breaking down the substance so that it can be removed. But exactly how long meth stays in the system depends on various factors.

Factors Influencing How Long Methamphetamine Stays in Your System

Detecting methamphetamine in the human body depends a lot on a person’s health, metabolism, age physical activity, and frequency of drug use. This makes it challenging to determine how long meth will show up on a test.

The health of an individual, especially their liver and kidney function, makes a difference in how rapidly meth is processed and removed from their body. A person that is in good overall health may be able to get rid of the substance quicker than a less healthy person. At the same time, a person’s metabolic rate plays a role.

The time it takes for the ingested dose to be metabolized and eliminated from the bloodstream differs from person to person; those with a high metabolism tend to process and excrete meth faster than those with a slow metabolism. Younger people usually have higher metabolism rates than older people, making the excretion of meth out of the system faster.

How much meth and how often a person uses also determines the length of its stay in the system. The more meth is used, the longer it takes to clear. Meth is also often combined with other stimulants, like cocaine or MDMA, or other drugs like heroin or ketamine. Apart from having very harmful effects on the body, combining substances lengthens the time it takes for all the substances to leave the system.

To detect methamphetamine, drug testing is used. The type of drug test makes a difference in answering the question, “how long does meth stay in the system?”.

Types of Drug Tests

The effects of methamphetamine can last for hours, but it may take many days for the drug to completely leave the body. Meth has an average half-life of 9-24 hours, meaning that it takes that long for the amount of methamphetamine in the bloodstream to be reduced by half, or for half the drug to exit the system.

Different tests have different detection times, and metabolites could show up for days after the last dose, or months.

Urine tests, for example, can typically detect meth use two to five hours after, and a positive urine test could occur after even a single use of meth for up to four days after. The detection interval in urine tests is therefore typically three to five days after the use, but in the case of heavy or chronic users, it could still be detected for up to a week.

Meth use can also be detected through blood testing. This method can show methamphetamine presence two hours after first using it. Crystal meth ( which is the powdered or crystallized form and is the most popular) will show up immediately in the blood.

A cotton swab can be used to collect saliva from the mouth to carry out a saliva test. This can test positive for methamphetamine within ten minutes of use and is accurate in detecting recent ingestion. Methamphetamine remains in saliva for one to four days after use.

There is also meth detection through a hair follicle test. Meth reaches the hair follicles seven to ten days after use, and hair tests can detect meth for up to three months.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Even though there is no approved medication to treat meth use, there are addiction treatment programs that can help people recover. Detox, which involves the body getting rid of the drug and its toxins, usually presents meth withdrawal, which can be unpleasant and dangerous to undergo alone. Meth withdrawal management programs allow patients to go through detox with the support of medical professionals who may use medication to manage symptoms and reduce cravings, making it safer and more comfortable.

Treatment centers also offer behavioral therapy, which helps a user identify factors or causes underlying addiction as well as tools and skills to cope with them and respond to them healthily. Peer support through support groups also forms part of treatment, whereby members of a group share their experiences and support each other in the strive for sobriety.

Where Can I Find a Treatment Centre?

If you or a loved one needs help with meth abuse or addiction, look no further than NP Addiction Clinic. Our specialist team can stabilize and gradually reduce your dependency on meth through detox, with FDA-approved medications so that you can take your first recovery steps as painlessly as possible.

Our state-of-the-art residential program can be tailored to meet your mental, physical and emotional needs, to ensure that you get the highest care with around-the-clock support and guidance. NP Addiction’s holistic approach enables us to treat both mental health and addiction simultaneously. Underpinned by the philosophy of the 12-steps, we offer individual, group, trauma-focused, and family therapy, as well as art, music, and recreational therapy.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

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As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

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Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

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As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

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Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

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