Methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive stimulant and Schedule II controlled substance.
If you develop an addiction to meth – clinically described as stimulant use disorder – you will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you quit using the drug. This process is known as meth withdrawal and detox.
Today’s brief guide explores the following questions:
- How long does it take to detox from meth?
- What is the best way to detox off meth?
- What are the withdrawal symptoms of meth?
If you are concerned about withdrawing from meth, discovering as much as possible about crystal meth withdrawal may help you to kickstart your recovery.
What is Meth Withdrawal?
Taking meth in any form triggers the release of large amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) associated with positive mood. Meth induces an intense euphoria, with dopamine levels remaining elevated until you stop using the stimulant.
Those who have been using meth long-term will experience severe psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from meth. You will feel fatigued, drained of energy, anxious, and depressed. Methamphetamine withdrawal is also characterized by powerful cravings for the drug. If you try to detox meth at home, cravings can be so intense that you use meth simply to feel better temporarily, relapsing before your recovery gets traction.
Meth withdrawal is the first crucial step in an ongoing process of inpatient or outpatient treatment followed by sober living and sustained recovery. The goal of meth detox is to expel all toxins from the system safely, physically stabilizing you for ongoing treatment after breaking your physical dependence on meth.
Although meth withdrawal can be uncomfortable and challenging, a supervised medical detox can minimize complications and reduce the chance of early relapse.
Signs & Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
The symptoms of meth withdrawal may differ in presentation from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms meth vary depending on factors such as:
- Route of administration
- Purity of meth
- Dose of meth
- Duration of meth abuse
- Previous experiences of meth withdrawal
- Co-occurring mental health disorders
The first signs of meth withdrawal include:
- Reduced energy levels
- Weight gain
- Sleeping too much
- Depressed mood
- Clouded thinking
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Social withdrawal
- Meth cravings
- Suicidal ideation
The most reported post-acute and protracted meth withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
- Ongoing cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
Psychological cravings are the most challenging aspect of the meth detox process. Cravings are also the primary driver for relapse. Avoid this by engaging with a supervised medical detox program as a precursor to inpatient or outpatient rehab.
What is Meth Detox?
Meth detox involves purging the drug and its metabolites from the system while managing the accompanying withdrawal symptoms. Meth detox is not a substitute for treatment, but rather the first in an ongoing chain of events that is recovery.
If you’re wondering, “How do you detox from meth”, the process typically unfolds over three distinct stages.
Meth Detox Process
- Evaluation: Before you engage with meth detox, an initial evaluation allows the treatment team to establish the severity of your addiction and identify any potential health complications. This evaluation allows the treatment team to assess your physical and mental health, as well as your history of meth use.
- Stabilization: During this stage of detox, you will stop using meth. The treatment team may prescribe medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and depression. The treatment team will also monitor you and ensure that you are properly hydrated.
- Treatment: After the stabilization phase of meth detox, you will transition into ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment involving counseling, psychotherapy, and motivational therapy. There are currently no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of stimulant use disorder (meth addiction).
Due to the potentially aggravating withdrawal symptoms, a medically supervised detox provides the smoothest path to ongoing treatment.
How long does meth withdrawal take, then?
How Long Does Meth Detox Take?
How long does it take to get off meth will vary depending on factors that include:
- Physical dependence
- Duration of meth abuse
- Scope of meth abuse
- Purity of meth used
- Physical health
- Mental health
- History of substance abuse
Research shows that meth withdrawal involves two phases. The first symptoms present during the first day of withdrawal, peaking and then subsiding over 7 to 10 days. Some people detoxing from meth experience a second subacute phase of withdrawal that persists for two additional weeks. PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) involves meth withdrawal symptoms that linger for months. Not everyone will experience the subacute phases or PAWS.
Meth Detox Timeline
Acute meth withdrawal normally lasts from 7 to 10 days, with cravings the most common symptom.
The meth withdrawal timeline varies according to the same factors that impact the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
In most cases, meth withdrawal begins within 24 hours of the last dose, lasting for 1 to 2 weeks.
- First day of meth detox: Acute withdrawal symptoms present. These may include agitation, depressed mood, and anxiety.
- Days 2 to 10 of meth detox: Symptoms peak over the course of the first week, typically subsiding after 7 to 10 days.
- Second week of meth detox: Some acute withdrawal symptoms may continue into the second week of detox. These are typically mild and manageable.
A medically supervised detox will make the process as safe and comfortable as possible, while at the same time reducing the risk of relapse derailing your recovery.
Benefits of Inpatient Detox
Inpatient detox for methamphetamine addiction can offer many benefits, including:
- Medical supervision: Inpatient detox provides continuous medical supervision, helping with the management of withdrawal symptoms and preventing complications. The treatment team may administer medications to alleviate symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, or depression.
- Structured environment: Meth detox at an inpatient facility provides a structured environment free from triggers, temptations, and distractions.
- Peer support: Inpatient detox allows you to connect with peers undergoing meth detox, providing you with a sense of support and community.
- Comprehensive care: Benefit from comprehensive care that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional needs during inpatient meth detox.
- Reduced stress: Taking time away from the pressures and responsibilities of your everyday life will help you to focus on your recovery.
Get Help with Meth Addiction at Ohio Community Health
When you are ready to stop using meth and kickstart your recovery, we can help you at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati. While we don’t offer detox at our facilities, we can help you find the best detox center for your situation in the area. After a week or so of acute meth withdrawal, you can transition directly into our intensive outpatient programs.
If you are suffering from meth addiction with a co-occurring mental health condition, we specialize in coordinated dual diagnosis treatment of both conditions.
All Ohio Recovery Centers treatment programs combine science-backed treatments and holistic therapies. Your treatment team will also ensure that you leave our rehab with a comprehensive aftercare plan in place. Call (877) 679-2132 today and move beyond meth addiction.