How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System

Methamphetamine, often referred to as meth, Tina, or crystal meth is a central nervous system stimulant that is made from a combination of store-bought chemicals. Knowing the dangers associated with meth use, and how long the drug stays in your body could avoid dangerous and even deadly consequences.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a schedule II substance, meaning it is tightly controlled due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. Despite being highly stigmatized and often viewed purely as a dangerous illegal substance, as a schedule II drug Meth is recognized by the drug enforcement administration as being accepted for specific medical use.

Meth is prescribed under the brand name Desoxyn for the treatment of obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) however it is tightly controlled.

According to NIDA, over two million people in the United States reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months and it is involved in over 20,000 deaths each year. Additionally, methamphetamine overdose rates nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019, showing a steady rise in the danger of this psychostimulant.

Explaining How Long Meth Stays in Your System

Explaining How Long Meth Stays in Your System

One of the most important questions for mitigating fatal overdose is; how long does meth stay in your system? Measuring the amount of time a drug takes to leave a person’s system can be done by calculating its half-life. A drug’s half-life is simply the amount of time it takes for half of the dose taken to be processed by the body into metabolic by-products.

It takes four to five half-lives for a substance to be completely eliminated from a person’s system. The meth half-life is 9-24 hours, this is a relatively long half-life compared to other commonly abused substances. Comparatively, heroin has a half-life of two to six minutes.

Due to the fact that meth remains in the body, mostly unchanged by the body’s metabolism, for a long period of time, stimulant effects also last much longer than other drugs.

The length of time that certain drug tests can detect methamphetamine depends on a range of factors. The dose that meth users take, in addition to how long a person has been engaging in meth abuse both strongly affect the length of time that the drug remains detectable.

Urine Test

A urine test is one of the most common forms of drug tests, as the least-invasive method for drug detection, it is also low-cost and widely available. When the body metabolizes methamphetamine, amphetamine is produced. A meth user will generally test positive for up to 72 hours after the last dose. Generally, urine tests will detect amphetamine-type stimulants for 3 to 5 days after the last administration.

For chronic users, this window may be longer and meth could be detectable for up to a week.

Saliva test

Saliva tests are effective at detecting meth use almost immediately after the drug has been taken. A meth user can test positive for meth on a saliva test within 10 minutes of use. Meth remains detectable for 20 to 48 hours depending on several factors including how regularly a person engages in substance abuse.

Blood Test

Blood tests to detect meth are less common, as it is an invasive and more expensive drug test. Meth use can be detected for up to 48 hours after the last dose is consumed.

Hair Follicle Test

A hair test has the largest window of detection, with meth remaining detectable in a person’s hair for up to 90 days. People who have been using meth for extended periods of time may have much longer hair detection windows, however.

Effects of Drug Abuse

Effects of Drug Abuse

If you are wondering how long meth stays in your system, and how long it is detectable in a drug test, it may be time to consider the dangers of drug abuse and the effects that it can have on your life.

Drug abuse can affect anyone, and there should be no shame in admitting that you are struggling. Drug addiction or abuse is not caused by a weak personality or lack of self-control. There is a range of risk factors that make you more likely to turn to substance abuse. Whatever the cause or history of your drug abuse, knowing the dangers and exploring addiction treatment programs is recommended.

Meth abuse can have a profound effect on relationships, health, and finances, often disrupting all areas of your life as the addiction progresses.

The immediate effects of meth use are rapid or irregular heartbeat and a heightened body temperature, referred to medically as hyperthermia.

The long-term effects of methamphetamine use are wide-ranging. The consequences of chronic use include:

  • Potential physical dependence or addiction
  • Psychotic symptoms including psychosis
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes to brain structure and cognitive function including difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite and significant weight loss
  • Disordered thinking
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes including violent or aggressive behavior
  • Gum disease and other serious dental problems
  • Increased risk of stroke and Parkinson’s disease

Similar to other addictive substances, meth users often build up a tolerance to the drug. This means they are driven to increase the dose they consume in order to feel the same effects that they did in the beginning. They may also explore different ways of consuming meth to feel a more intense meth high. After a time, meth users no longer experience the same euphoric feeling, which can mean taking such large quantities that it leads to a high risk of overdose.

Many people who abuse meth also consume other substances, such as alcohol. This is a common combination and many report drinking alcohol with meth to ‘take the edge off’ and calm the jitters that meth can cause. This can increase the health risks, however. Alcohol can slow the metabolism, impairing liver functioning. This can impact the body’s ability to metabolize meth, meaning it remains in your body for longer. This is important to consider when planning to take another dose, to mitigate the risk of overdose.

Meth Addiction Treatment

Substance abuse may start with experimentation or self-medication but can spiral and become dependent or addicted. Methamphetamine addiction can feel incredibly intense and difficult to break free from but there is always the chance of recovery.

Meth addiction treatment will always begin with detoxification, which is the process of removing all traces of the drug from your system. This generally comes with a predictable set of withdrawal symptoms which can make the process very challenging. Meth withdrawal shouldn’t be attempted alone, not only do the symptoms cause many people to relapse, but they can be dangerous.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Crystal meth withdrawal can result in both physical and psychological symptoms that range from mild to severe. The intensity of these symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on patterns of use and body type. Medical supervision is recommended for withdrawal management to mitigate risks of dangerous symptoms like seizures and dehydration.

Physical Symptoms

Physical meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Body aches and shakes
  • Extreme fatigue and a change in sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological Symptoms during meth withdrawal can be incredibly challenging to manage. It is important for you and the people close to you to be prepared for the changes your state of mind may go through. This can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis or psychotic symptoms
  • Intense drug cravings

Withdrawal symptoms are challenging but an essential first step of addiction treatment. They will come to an end, and when they do you will have taken the first step toward substance abuse recovery.

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Take?

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Take?

Knowing how long meth stays in a person’s system is helpful for preparing yourself for the withdrawal process.

Research has found meth withdrawal to have two phases. The initial 24 hours after the last consumption of meth is generally the most intense period of the withdrawal process. Gradually over the next ten days, symptoms become less intense. For some people there can also be a later phase, lasting an additional few weeks to months called the post-acute withdrawal phase.

Day One and Two

Due to the long meth half-life, withdrawal symptoms can take up to 24 hours to appear. During the first 24-48 hours, withdrawal symptoms begin. Most people will experience low energy and impaired cognitive function as well as nausea, abdominal cramping, sweating, and tremors. In extreme cases, there is a risk of seizure. For this reason, observation by licensed medical professionals is recommended.

Day Three to Ten

the first week of methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms peak. During this period the body is trying to adjust to life without the presence of meth and regain a state of equilibrium. As this happens, some people may experience disrupted sleep in addition to mild to severe anxiety, depression, or even psychosis in cases of chronic, long-term meth abuse. Intense drug cravings, shakes, and muscle aches are also common.

Week Two

During the end of the second week, physical symptoms have subsided, although the persistence of fatigue, depression, and anxiety are common in chronic users.

Treatment Approaches

Seeking treatment may seem overwhelming, but you are not alone. While the treatment process begins with detox, this is just the first step. Treating a substance use disorder (SUD) requires a treatment program specifically for your needs. This may include treatment for co-occurring behavioral health conditions such as alcohol dependence, or mental health conditions such as depression as well as clinical approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy or group therapy.

Inpatient treatment options are a private and convenient solution to recover from a substance use disorder. Support groups are also a great way of finding a community to relate to and find support from.

Contact Us

If you are seeking addiction treatment services, consider NP Addiction. We offer safe and caring withdrawal management plans in addition to a range of inpatient treatment options, creating individualized plans for each client. Contact us to learn more about our treatment options today.

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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

Facilitator

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

Lead Therapist

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

Primary Clinician

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.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

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.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine