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Meth Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a Chemical Re-Balance

Methamphetamine is a very addictive drug. If you use it more that several times in a row, your body is very likely to start craving the high. After a period of regular dosing, you can quickly become meth-dependent. Once your body becomes dependent, you will experience withdrawal when you suddenly stop taking meth.

Meth withdrawal can be quite an unpleasant experience. In many, cases detox can even be dangerous to a person’s health. It is important for regular meth users to go through the process of withdrawal under the supervision of a doctor at a trusted recovery facility to make sure they avoid any significant health risks.

Here, we review the most common methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms and their duration periods. We also provide you with some tips on how to go through the withdrawal experience safely to avoid any significant complications. At the end, we invite your questions and/or personal experiences. We try to respond to all real-life questions with a personal reply.


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When Does Methamphetamine Withdrawal Start?

Withdrawal symptoms begin to appear as the body detoxifies from meth, when the drug starts to leave the system. If you are try to reduce or cut down your methamphetamine use, you can begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours after your last dose.

Dependence on methamphetamine causes changes in brain chemistry. If you take meth over and over again, the brain adapts. It sends out signals to “Slow Down!” to counteract the stimulant effects that are screaming “Speed Up!” to the body.

So, when methamphetamine is reduced or stopped, the brain needs time return to normal. What’s happening to cause the discomfort? When you go through a period of withdrawal, you’re actually manifesting the symptoms of “Slow Down!” This is why withdrawal symptoms of methamphetamine are very unpleasant. They can last for weeks, and can result in relapse…especially when symptoms are severe or intense.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

The most common meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Inability to sense pleasure
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased need to sleep
  • Noticeable irritability
  • Reduced energy for anything
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sweating, especially at night
  • Teeth grinding
  • Weight gain

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Period

Withdrawal symptoms of methamphetamine can last for few weeks to several months. Symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, paranoia and hallucinations tend to last for 1 or 2 weeks. However, you may still experience mood swings, depression, sleep problems and cravings for several weeks after drug use. And many people still experience bouts of drug cravings weeks or months after last use of methamphetamine.

The Best Way To Handle Withdrawal

Of all drugs, methamphetamine dependence is one of the most difficult to treat. Why? Because meth is both highly addictive and can cause very unpleasant withdrawal. Even occasional meth abuse can easily turn into full-blown addiction.

If you’ve already used methamphetamine several times, it is a wise decision to seek treatment immediately before it gets worse.

A drug treatment facility remains the best option for treatment of methamphetamine dependence, regardless of severity. At the facility, professionals are on watch 24-7 to help you as you go through withdrawal symptoms. They also create a structured and functional treatment plan to increase your chances of treatment.

Your safety is another reason why admission to a facility is highly recommended. Withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamine induce symptoms like paranoia, anxiety and irritability that could provoke violence. Furthermore, depression and suicidal ideation caused by  withdrawal can expose people to life threatening dangerous.  In sum, the best way to handle withdrawal is by getting treatment at a drug treatment facility.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Medications

Currently, there are no specific medications approved for the management meth withdrawal. However, there has been some preliminary research in a small-scale studies. According to a recent study, antidepressant drugs such as Remeron have been shown successful in reducing methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms. Still, Remeron remains unapproved for meth withdrawal by the FDA.

What other medicines can help?

During methamphetamine detox, a physician or other mental health professional may prescribe to you (Benadryl), trazodone, or other mild drugs used to treat insomnia. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake are given to people who struggle with depression during withdrawal. The following medications are still under medical research for the management of methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Paxil (Paroxetine or Pexeva) is an antidepressant thought to be effective in reducing methamphetamine craving, by block the effects of the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Modafinil (Provigil®) helps those diagnosed with sleep disorders and impaired cognitive functions.
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron) is an antidepressant that was found to decrease methamphetamine use.

What To Do In Cases Of Relapse?

Relapse is a risk before and after  methamphetamine addiction treatment.  In fact, many people who try to quit meth return to the drug within 3 years of treatment. So, when you start to experience the first withdrawal symptoms, call your doctor or health provider for help. Relapse rates are high when you try to go it alone: people use again to avoid withdrawal. On the other hand, if you are treated at a residential facility, you have a significantly better chance to avoid meth compared with than those who only complete detox or receive no treatment at all.

Still, health providers do not regard relapse as a setback, but a period for learning. Sometimes, an unknown trigger may cause your relapse, or proper techniques for avoidance may have not been fully communicated to you. Going back to treatment can correct these problems.

You are more likely to get your life back with treatment! Do not let relapses stop you. Instead, seek help again. Start over.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Questions

Still have any questions about the process of meth withdrawal? Feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to provide personal and prompt answers to all legitimate inquiries, or we’ll refer you to someone who can.

Reference sources: NIH: Methamphetamine
NCBI: Pharmacological approaches to methamphetamine dependence: a focused review

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