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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms: Side-Effects & Timeline

Table of Contents

Methamphetamine was originally discovered in 1893 and was used for many decades as a medication prescribed to help treat various disorders like obesity and ADHD, even being used as an alertness aid. It is an incredibly powerful stimulant that has seen an exponential rise in use in recent years. Not only are the effects among the most potent in the drug world, but the potential for abuse is also sky high due to the severe chemical dependency meth creates.

One of the things that make meth a substance that is easily abused, is that it is extremely cheap for the effects that are felt. Cocaine is another similar stimulant, however, it only lasts for 2-3 hours and it costs several times as much as meth, while the effects of meth can last for 8-12 hours or more. In addition, meth is spreading and becoming so common that the effects of meth addiction can be seen in just about every city and town in the country.

Meth Side-Effects 

The side effects of meth use can be devastating and can lead to a wide array of other health problems. Whether the individual has been using for only a short period, or if they have been using for years, there are dangerous and potentially deadly side effects that can occur. 

The first effect that is felt by every meth user, is the initial rush of euphoria, seemingly limitless energy, increased focus, boosted libido, and sexual desire. These effects set in within moments of consumption and can last for 12 hours or more. This happens as a result of the dopamine that meth forces into the system and the effects of this long-term can lead to severe and even lifelong consequences.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Since each user is different, each one may feel different things when enduring meth withdrawal symptoms. There are a wide variety of symptoms that can be experienced, and they are often highly dependent on the recovering individual’s history and length of use. For some, the symptoms can be mild and for others, they can be incredibly severe.

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms from meth can also depend on how the individual administered their meth. Those who largely used injectable forms of meth find that the withdrawal symptoms are far more severe than those who used it by other means. Withdrawal symptoms from meth will include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Tendency to become agitated easily
  • Disturbed sleep cycles, including insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

The potential for complications and danger is increased when the recovering individual has used large amounts of meth or has used meth for a long time. In cases like this, it is often wisest to work with detox professionals to ensure sufficient medical supervision in case of trouble.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline When Detoxing

Since everyone is different, the timeline for withdrawal symptoms from meth will vary for each recovering individual. Often, the peak of the acute phase of detoxing from meth will be 48-72 hours from the last time of use. The acute phase will last about a week in most cases, though some of the symptoms can drag on for months.

When seeking to recover from meth, the recovery will depend greatly on the amount of meth that was used, the frequency, and the length of the addiction. Meth creates an incredibly strong chemical dependency, and this can complicate the acute phase, as well as ongoing recovery. If the use was very high or prolonged, it may be in the recovering individual’s best interest to work with treatment professionals who can help supervise the detox from meth and minimize the potential for any medical complications.

48 Hours After Use

The first stage of the meth withdrawal symptoms is known as the crash, and will usually occur 24-48 hours after use is stopped. During this period the individual in recovery will usually feel a significant drop in both cognition and physical energy levels. This mental and physical sluggishness can also include nausea, cramping in the abdomen, and sweating.

Days 3-10

This is the time when meth withdrawal symptoms will generally peak. Many people will experience painful and even debilitating conditions when dealing with withdrawal symptoms from meth. This adjustment period will often feature large amounts of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as shaking, tremors, achiness, and a strong desire to use meth again.

Days 14-20

The bulk of the symptoms experienced while detoxing from meth will only last about 2-3 weeks and so it is during this period that many individuals in recovery will begin to notice their symptoms tapering off or fading entirely. The cravings for meth as well as the chronic fatigue and depression can all drag on for quite some time after the rest of the withdrawal symptoms have disappeared.

One Month +

After a month of being free from meth, the recovering individual should feel that most if not all of the physical withdrawal symptoms from meth are gone, and any that remain should have measurably decreased in that time. Even after this long, there will likely be some psychological symptoms that can persist, such as diminished feelings of pleasure. Neurochemical balance problems can also persist and may require medication to help treat.

How to Get Help With Withdrawal Symptoms From Meth

If you or someone you know are dealing with or may need to deal with meth withdrawal symptoms, one of the most important things to reassure them of is that help is ready and waiting when they want it. The chances of a successful recovery skyrocket when the individual and their support network work with treatment professionals on a recovery plan that works for the individual. 

Not only will they be able to detox in a supervised and safe environment, but they will also be able to learn methods for staying detoxed going forward. This means a much better long-term chance of maintaining their recovery.

Reach out today to a premier rehab in Los Angeles California that can guide you on your path to recovery starting right now. You deserve the chance to start over again and build the future you’ve always dreamed about.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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