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What are Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?


ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Quitting meth can be very difficult, but it is not impossible. Symptoms often include extreme fatigue, depression, and suicidal thinking. Learn how medical detox can help.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Psychoactive Properties

Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful central nervous system stimulant with highly addictive properties. It works as a psychoactive drug by increasing the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in body movement, motivation, pleasure, and reward (pleasure from natural behaviors such as eating). The drug’s ability to release high levels of dopamine rapidly in reward areas of the brain produces the “rush” (euphoria), or “flash,” that many people experience.

This drug can be smoked, nasally inhaled, injected and even eaten. No matter how it is used, the effects have a rapid onset followed by a high that can last as long as 12 hours. Still, meth abuse is linked to a number of harmful physical effects that, in some cases, may be fatal. In fact, nearly 8.2% of all emergency department visits in 2011 involved methamphetamine use, according to highlights taken from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Report.

 

Why Withdrawal Occurs

In order to understand why meth withdrawal symptoms occur, you must first understand homeostasis, which is the process that helps keep all of the body’s functions balanced. After regular use of meth, the body’s functions actually begin to change in order to compensate for the extreme changes brought on by the drug. The body has trouble functioning properly with extreme dopamine rushes that occur with meth use. So, it compensates by “slowing down” some processes to accommodate for the extra chemical stimulant.

When a person stops taking meth, the body is still trying to function at this altered homeostasis. It is this disruption of the internal environment that causes meth withdrawal symptoms. They are actually a manifestation of the “slowing down” processes. It takes time for these “rebound” symptoms of hunger, fatigue, and mood to even out. This time of evening out is what we call “withdrawal.”

Common Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of withdrawal can include a range of feelings from general dysphoria through to significant, clinical depression. According to research conduct by a group of clinical professionals, people will experience extreme fatigue, and may even sleep for a couple of days without stop. Other common symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Aches and pains.
  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Cravings to use methamphetamine.
  • Decreased energy or even exhaustion.
  • Inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia).
  • Irritability or anger.
  • Lethargy.
  • Mood swings.
  • Poor concentration and memory.
  • Sleep disturbance and insomnia.

NOTE HERE: Meth detox should always be medically supervised. Drug dependence can bring on drug induced psychosis, which makes users a danger to their selves or others. Sometimes, suicidal ideation or violence can occur.

Furthermore, some drug dependent methamphetamine users will experience a full-blown withdrawal syndrome when they stop using. Others may experience less severe side effects. The course of any case of withdrawal is unique, however. The severity of withdrawal depends on three main factors:

  1. The person’s severity of methamphetamine dependence
  2. How long they used meth.
  3. How often the person used meth (frequency of use).

Other factors include the presence of other physical or mental health problems and other mitigating factors, such as the setting in which withdrawal is undertaken and expectations and fears about the course of withdrawal.

Duration of Symptoms

Although this varies between individuals, the acute phase of withdrawal can peak around day two or three after last use and generally begins to ease after a week to 10 days. Low-grade symptoms including mood swings and agitation, cravings, and sleep disturbance can last for a further couple of weeks; however, for some individuals, depression can last from weeks to many months or even a year in severe cases.

Symptoms Treatment

Meth withdrawal symptoms can be managed symptomatically with 24-7 medical supervision. Patients should drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day during stimulant withdrawal. Multivitamin supplements containing B group vitamins and vitamin C are recommended. Symptomatic medications should be offered as required for aches, anxiety and other symptoms. Because of the depression during meth withdrawal, some individuals may also benefit from antidepressants as well as mental health counseling.

Because the mainstay of treatment for stimulant withdrawal is symptomatic medication and supportive care, no withdrawal scale is currently in use.

Treating Severe or Dangerous Symptoms

A minority of people withdrawing from stimulants may become significantly distressed or agitated, presenting a danger to themselves or others. In some cases, using anti-psychotic medications is necessary and delusional symptoms will usually resolve within a week of ceasing stimulant use.

In fact, all people withdrawing from stimulants should be monitored regularly. During withdrawal, a person’s mental state should be monitored to detect complications such as psychosis, depression and anxiety. Those who exhibit severe psychiatric symptoms should be referred to a hospital for appropriate assessment and treatment.

In these instances, medical professionals may attempt behavioral management strategies (as shown below). If this does not adequately calm a person, it may be necessary to sedate him or her using diazepam. Medical observation during sedation is required and no more diazepam given if signs of respiratory depression are observed. If agitation persists and someone cannot be adequately sedated with oral diazepam, doctors usually transfer the patient to a hospital setting for psychiatric care.

Post-Acute Withdrawal

Acute stimulant withdrawal is followed by a protracted withdrawal phase of 1-2 months duration, characterized by lethargy, anxiety, unstable emotions, erratic sleep patterns and strong cravings for stimulant drugs. These symptoms may complicate a person’s involvement in treatment and should be taken into account when planning more longer-term addiction treatment.

Medical Detox

Withdrawal is often undertaken at home. Still, the best way to get meth withdrawal symptom treatment is to withdraw under medical supervision. For many, it is very difficult to quit without professional help. A medical detox facility help individuals detox from this drug safely. Why?

Meth withdrawal can be an uncomfortable experience; it is often a major reason people are unsuccessful in quitting meth on their own. In addition to being unpleasant, these experiences can prove dangerous to a person’s health. This is why so many people opt to go through detox at a trusted facility. At a medical detox you can expect:

  • A thorough assessment of your physical and mental health.
  • Mental and emotional support.
  • Round-the-clock care and supervision.
  • Treatment of symptoms as they occur.

It is important for meth users to go through the process of withdrawal under the supervision of a doctor. Once the body has been detoxified, the rehabilitation process can begin.

In fact, treating side effects that arise can be made easier with appropriate care that makes quitting the drug feel as safe and comfortable as possible. The preferred treatment for includes psychological therapy that focuses on providing people with skills to reduce the risk of relapse. Sometimes, knowing that you are not alone can go a long way. Moreover, medical detox can help lower chances of relapse and increase your likeliness of long-term sobriety.

Questions?

Do not fear! You are not alone. While his process is not easy, it is not impossible, either. Surround yourself with your loved ones and with specialized help and you will be able to quit safely.

Still have questions about what to expect?

If you have any questions about detox, do not hesitate to ask. We are here to give you all the information you need to overcome addiction. Please leave your question in the comments section below. We will respond in a personalized manner and in the shortest possible time; if we do not know the answer, we will refer you to someone who can give it to you.

REFERENCE SOURCES : NIDA: Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction
PubMed: The nature, time course and severity of methamphetamine withdrawal
Illinois Attorney General – Treatment for Meth Addiction
SAMHSA Tip 45: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
NIH: National Institute on Drug abuse – Methamphetamine

Photo credit: caruba

Leave a Reply

54 Responses to “What are Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?
Maddy
7:06 am July 1st, 2013

I’ve been addicted to meth on and off for the last 5 years.

Most recently I’ve been smoking daily for about 8months although only in relatively small amounts. I would say I consume about 1-1.5grams /wk.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice on kicking this habit for good and approximately how long it will take for the withdrawal symptoms to pass if I were to quit.

Appreciate any help. Thanks 🙂

M

1:46 pm July 1st, 2013

Hi Maddy. It can take weeks or months for meth cravings to significantly weaken. I’d suggest that you seek help for stopping from a certified psychologist who works with addictions. And/Or seek help from a treatment center or support group. Meth is one of the toughest drugs to quit and I commend you for taking a look at your use and wanting to stop. You are not alone!

nicole
12:40 pm January 28th, 2014

My boyfriend is attempting to quit on his own. Hes already a troubled individual, really emotional. im not sure how to help never dealt with this before and afraid he may commit suicide or something

11:05 am January 31st, 2014

Hello Nicole. Id’ suggest that you look into a supervised detox clinic for him. In addition to making him comfortable medically, a detox clinic can provide experienced emotional and psychological support that is qualified and based on best practices.

Asif Rahman
9:46 pm January 31st, 2014

i’ve been addicted to meth for last 1.5 years.i take 2-3 pills a day.i don’t take it always.4-5 days in a week.now i want to totally stop meth.but i want to know what will be the withdrawal symptoms.and how long it lasts.
please help me.Appreciate any help.
Thanks.

6:36 am February 1st, 2014

Hello Asif. Symptoms of meth withdrawal may last anywhere from a week to several weeks, depending on the severity of the dependency. I’d suggest that you continue reading about symptoms by searching for these terms on the internet “site:.gov meth withdrawal symptoms”.

Mary
7:56 pm February 23rd, 2014

I have a daughter that has been using and I don’t know what to do to help. She was just recently put on an antidepressant but wonder if it will help if she is still using. She has also just recently told her counselor and me that she wants to go to a rehab but now seems to be dragging her feet. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

9:37 am February 25th, 2014

Hello Mary. Check out the CRAFT method. http://www.hbo.com/addiction/treatment/371_alternative_to_intervention.html CRAFT teaches you how to encourage your loved one to reduce use and enter treatment. The other goal of CRAFT is to help you enhance your own quality of life. This non-confrontational method shows better, more lasting results than the traditional, confrontational “intervention”.

Cindy
1:13 pm March 24th, 2014

My son has been using smoking meth for a week straight. He is now home and he wants to sleep all the time and he doesn’t want to do anything. He says he doesn’t feel well. Can he be having withdrawal symptoms only after a week of using?
Thank you

1:44 pm March 24th, 2014

Hello Cindy. Absolutely. Week-long binges on meth can result in extreme fatigue. Have you thought about setting boundaries with him and trying to get him into treatment? Co-dependence can take on many forms, including enabling.

boobs
2:25 am October 21st, 2014

Ive been using meth for years and i tend to gain a ton of weight eat more and have no energy i doze off on it tend to sit on my ass as it gets bigger and just smoke while i get bigger and bigger and look fat and ugly am so done with this shit God bless!

unknown
5:53 am April 7th, 2015

Is it true that even with one time use of meth that you can have some of the withdrawal symptoms for the rest of your life?

12:40 pm April 9th, 2015

Hi unknown. No, withdrawal symptoms occur only as the substance you’ve formed physical dependence to is leaving your system. They can also occur if you significantly lower your usual dose or stop taking a substance completely (but only if you’ve been using the substance for a while).

eric
3:15 am April 24th, 2015

Ive been using meth for bout 10months straight evryday i put inside capsules and taken orally whole time…been clean bout 2 dsys and i get these ljke electrical skocks all the way from my head to tip of my fingers to tip of my toes get so light headed and dizzy i think im a fall over.. its kinda freaking me out and im starting to get a lil scared i just wanted to no if this is normal withdraw symptoms or should i be nervous

Taylor
11:23 am April 26th, 2015

Uv got a ? So I know someone who’s been doing meth but I’m not sure if he’s still doing it but he’s acting crazy now like walking in the woods thinking cameras are up an running around cars an dunking, I wanna know if this can happen when you quit doing meth?

Suzanne
6:07 pm July 5th, 2015

My 27 year old daughter is very addicted to meth and so is her boyfriend . They break into businesses at night for metal to recycle for money. They have been doing this for years. She was recently arrested for a warrant that had nothing to do with her break ins. Her bail was $35,000. But she was released that night. I prayed for the jail to keep her until court date. No such luck. When she called me from jail I told her she needed rehab and her response was they do drugs in rehab. She told me when she got out that she wasn’t going to do anymore. I do believe she wants help but is very afraid . I know she will not keep her court date and another warrant will be put out and the same cycle will begin again. The original warrant was for destruction of property, hit and run and physical abuse. I know the jails are crowded but if they would just keep her for a month or two I do believe she would get the help she needs. How do I get the system to help keep her until her next court date and for the judge make her do rehab or do time in jail ( prison). Some one have any ideas or know a police officer or judge to help. We live in hesperia california near apple valley. any ideas would help

Sally
8:25 pm August 28th, 2015

I quit cold turkey. My big issue from withdrawel is constant bowel movement. Is this common?

Joe
12:29 am December 2nd, 2015

My friend took meth for the first time and is facing withdrawal symptoms. How long will it take tk recover?

2:04 pm December 2nd, 2015

Hi Joe. Did your friend use meth only that one time? Within the first 24 – 72 hours he will probably feel exhaustion, need to sleep longer and feel depressive. Be on the lookout for possible anxiety or panic.

Regina
5:16 pm December 19th, 2015

my son was not a full user of meth but he shot up for a couple weeks at a time,, then quit then shot up again,, he has been off for about 3 weeks, and he still has bumps all over his body that he says itches so bad,, ..what can we do to help this, is it from the meth? or maybe something else,,..thank you,

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:44 pm December 21st, 2015

Hi, Regina. Yes, itching may be meth withdrawal symptom. Have your son tried baths or lotions that ease itching? If not, he can try them.

Barry
11:50 am July 26th, 2016

A month and 6 days clean now. Is frequently of swallowing part of withdrawal?how to treat?how long does meth gets detected via drug test?

Nicole
5:27 pm September 4th, 2016

Maddy, I just stopped after doing approximately same amount for same length of time as you. 1.5 grms/wkly for @6 months. I have used off and on for 12 years and this is the easiest time I’ve ever had. I did a lot of research on herbal and home remedy body detox. I started detox bathes a week before stopping use and 1st day after quitting mega dosed Pure Vitamin C for a week(if you do a true mega dose, learn to love the bathroom) I feel great and only stopped 8 days ago. i am not your average meth user. Other than using meth, I lead a somewhat healthy and holistic lifestyle. I am 48 and look 30 even after a lot of issues with addiction. I contribute a lot of this to good genetics but also just being wise enough to know when you are putting chemicals/ poison in your body , for whatever reason, (mine was extreme depression)you need to do all you can to not let it devastate your physical well being

Brian
6:43 pm February 21st, 2017

I’ve been clean now for two weeks on my own. I’m sure I’m gonna need out patient help but alot of places don’t except my health plan so I was wondering what other things can I do to stay clean.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:17 pm March 1st, 2017

Hi Brian. Did you call the helpline displayed on the website? If not, do not hesitate to call and speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Cynthia
8:04 pm February 24th, 2017

Along with fatigue and appetite. Is it normal to get a temperature, excessive sweating and migraine. My friend was injecting 2-3 times a days and decided to quit, cold turkey. Its been 4 days now and no improvement.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:42 pm February 28th, 2017

Hi Cynthia. High temperature, excessive sweating and migraines are serious meth withdrawal symptoms. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Monika
12:57 pm March 8th, 2017

Im 22 and was on a two year working holiday visa in Australia and was using meth for nearly all of it. My addiction became pretty bad near the end of my visa and I ended up asking my parents to fly me home. Theyre unaware I was using and my dad’s a retired drug cop so I really don’t want them finding out. Its only been a week since I last used (literally smoked in the car park at the airport before I left) and although I’m finding the craving bit okay, because I have 0 access to meth here and none of my friends have ever touched it, I’m finding every other aspect very difficult. I sleep at least 12 hours a day which they assume is from jet lag, but im also eating heaps and am in such horrible moods. If I’m not crying I’m usually annoyed and I feel bad for my mom because I’ll get annoyed at her and then remember it’s in my head, and she’s not doing anything wrong, and then be super nice. Probably doing her head in considering I wasn’t even this moody when I was a teenager haha. Is there anything I can do that can help me get through this alone? I can drive and have access to a car but im broke and I’ve started looking for a job but everything just feels so overwhelming and I usually end up just sleeping when I try. I don’t have a doctor or anything here since I’ve been away for 2 years and have to start over basically my whole life. I’m also broke so until I find a job I don’t think I could access antidepressants but I don’t see me finding a job in the current state I’m in. Basically just lost and alone and I do have great supportive friends but they’ve all started getting their lives together and have school and responsibilities and live away. So any advice would be very much appreciated!!

Ben
3:22 pm March 8th, 2017

I have only done meth the one time and but want to stop now the last 2 days have been so hard sleeped pretty much all of today have already deleted my dealers contact information so I won’t be able to contact him hes also the only person I know that sells it which helps i had no energy when i tried to get up this morning had headaches all last night and on and off today of today and just started to get the figurts tonight, i hove just started to get really hungry tonight and stomach cramps, i just wanted to know if anyone one can tell me how long i have of my withdraw to go roughly, I’m confident ill be able to do it, but its just so hard plus none of my friends do it which will make it easier ???

Dee
5:08 am March 13th, 2017

Withdraw symptoms from meth does it include throwing up,severr stomach pain,and hot flashes like sweats

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:22 pm March 15th, 2017

Hi Dee. Yes, these symptoms may be withdrawal symptoms from meth. I suggest that you consult with a pharmacist to recommend some over-the-counter aid to ease meth withdrawal symptoms.

Key
9:24 pm March 29th, 2017

I been us meth on off for 5 year i stop for 2 month but then got i dont know why us it put wont stop put like there cause lost my mom five year ago but now i homless i just little help stop again and not go back to it i can get some it last me up two week can put now i wont do more and have nothing else on my mind but getting hi i need help…

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:27 pm April 4th, 2017

Hi Key. I suggest that you call the number you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you make the best treatment decision. The helpline is free, trustful, and available 24/7.

Judy
5:05 am April 10th, 2017

I have a teenage son that may be using meth and i want to get him help! But how do i go about doing that when he refuses to go?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:52 pm April 11th, 2017

Hi Judy. You may look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help: http://alliesinrecovery.net/about-craft/ Also, call the helpline displayed on our website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Suzie
12:46 pm May 2nd, 2017

Let’s just say the 80 is when I was first introduced to Meth, Speed, Crystal, I was 16 years old. I am know 46 and have been battling it through out my life, off and on, off and on, for 30 +years. I tried rehab, for the first time a few months ago. I started back again,,,, I have written down the stages, symptoms, phases , and I will make sure to surround myself with people who can truly support me through this., I have never been more determined to beat this . so this time I will know exactly what to expect. I am tired, disgusted, ashamed of what this drug had done to not just my life but my family’s . Dear God help me get through this,,,, the 😇

Carel
6:51 pm May 2nd, 2017

i did it, i subconciously almost ate entire inside of my cheek… with the grinding and biting… been more than a week and i still cant even swallow water without immense pain in my mouth… i wanna know how long till I stop sweating the smell? it makes me wanna vomit

Linda
4:17 am May 18th, 2017

My boyfriend went on vacation and on to inject meth for a week. I had a feeling something was wrong because he wouldn’t pick up the phone. He only ever spoked pot, but never did this before. He’s home now and regrets ever doing it. He is struggling with the withdrawal systems. What are the long term effects? How long will the withdraw take? He’s been home now 5 days sick, has anxiety, is afraid and is still hallucinating. He has cravings, but he doesn’t want to do it ever again and has no way of getting it. What can I do to help him?

Debbie
12:39 am May 22nd, 2017

Very curious to know if you had smoked meth, for the first time ever and you continued every few hours for a 24 hour period would you suffer withdrawl

Cody
6:58 pm June 30th, 2017

Because Meth affects central nervous system, is it possible to have seizures coming off of it? Someone had an experience where about 5 hours since their last use he was exhausted from being up for 3 days but he felt like he was afraid to sleep… when finally he succumbed and dosed off for like 10 min. He was jolted awake as if someone surprised him to wake him up and he felt the buzzing feeling and he felt stuck in position for few seconds. He had seizures coming off of xanax in the past and said when he woke, he jerked up from seat and felt somewhat stuck like the beginning of a seizure or the end of one almost as if he fought it from happening

Krickett
4:44 am July 19th, 2017

I have a brother that overdose on meth and survived.Now he is anger and used very vulgar words towards me.What I have also noticed he stutters and walks funny now (with arms straight down no swinging while walking)and never shows emotions in his face not even when our dad passed.Question will these symptoms ever change or should he be placed in a facility.His shirt term memory is gone he sleeps all day depressed when he does wake up and claims he would and everyone else would be better off with out him,but when someone with authority ask him if he is sucideal he will tell them no.He will also not act out in front of anyone but my mother and I.
I am lost and don’t know what to do.He can’t work cause he can’t think of can’t even fill out an application.

Junne
2:27 am July 29th, 2017

1) I have this kinda heavy head feeling on me since yesterday and till now , what can I do to stop this unwanted feeling ? 2) does milk help ? 3) am I doing the right thing by going to this drug dealer to ask for help ? , because this drug dealer is my loved ones friend .

I need help .

Terri
6:37 am August 25th, 2017

I need help I just started back smoking it I need to stop please help I’m going insane I have bipolar disorder and I’m on medication Im a 61 year old and I’m feeling pain could you please help me

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:48 pm August 25th, 2017

Hi Terri. Call the helpline you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Joel
5:27 am September 27th, 2017

A 51 year old male is withdrawing from meth. He has been 5 days sober and is suffering from acute itching and believes it to be scabies. Is itching one of the symptoms commonly suffered by individuals withdrawing from meth?
Thank you for your help.
-Joel

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:06 pm September 27th, 2017

Hi Joel. Yes. Itching is one of the most common meth withdrawal symptoms.

Gary
4:56 am October 18th, 2017

So, I’ve been using for the past two years. I snorted it for the first year, but have since moved on to injection. I’ve been using, every day several times a day for the past two months. There have been a few days where I haven’t used though, on those days I fee a very intense, temporary tingle throughout my whole body. Someone told me that it’s my body jonesing for the drug. Thoughts?

Kris
9:37 pm November 21st, 2017

I have quit using meth 2 days ago… Im feeling very fatigue and i have been eating everything under the sun. My body feels like it’s been hit by a Mac truck and I’ve been feeling short with others. I only snort Crystal, daily in small amounts. Approx 1 gram a week or less.

Am I able to quit without professional help.?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:40 pm November 24th, 2017

Hi Kris. You may, but relapse is possible in these cases. The safest way to end meth addiction is under medical supervision. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

Dawn
9:20 am January 10th, 2018

I believe my sister is using meth. And moved on with my father to help him 2WEEKS before he died. Now she is still at his condo and using jis truck which both are to be split between us however now she has changed passcode and inplugged garage door opener she admits to being paranoid. This is in a very safe area and thinks there are people trying to get in. She even wants to pay me with my father’s money to watch the place. But watch for who she moved here from California. Help

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:33 pm January 17th, 2018

Hi Dawn. I suggest that you stage an intervention. Your sister needs help to deal with meth addiction. You may look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:
http://alliesinrecovery.net/about-craft/

Confused
4:19 pm January 24th, 2018

I’m like 3 days in on detox from meth. I’m not a frequent user but I used a lot ans snorted it. Can meth effect your taste and the way you smell things. I cant eat are drink because of the awful smell and taste of foods. And nothing smells like it should. I’m scared my original tastes for food and smells will stay this way.

Kylie
10:46 am January 28th, 2018

Does each time you have a smoke of ice prolong the ‘Meth Hangover’ stage?
Is there a difference between a “Meth Hangover’ and ” Withdrawal?”
He last indulged on the 13th then 6 days later he got extremely angry and left. He has now been gone for 9 days and has only contacted me once for say “He needs time to clear his head.”
I’m very uncertain as to whether or not his mood swings, ignoring me and leaving our home a part of the Meth Cycle or not…?? He had indulged 3 times in 21 days when usually its only once a month…
Very confused!?

Jeff
10:18 pm February 5th, 2018

How(pls. be specific) should I try to wean myself from meth? I smoke .5g a week and have been for awhile

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