What to Expect with Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Medically Reviewed By Alexandra Perez, PharmD, MBA, BCGP
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Methamphetamine (meth) withdrawal may cause various symptoms. Depending on how long a person has been taking meth, symptoms can be mild or severe. Meth is a highly addictive drug and a powerful stimulant. Taking methamphetamine affects your central nervous system.

Meth comes in different forms, including crystal, powder, and liquid. It has different names, such as:

  • chalk
  • crystal
  • glass
  • ice
  • speed
  • Tina
  • jib
  • crank

Meth withdrawal may give you symptoms of paranoia, depression, and anxiety. Symptoms may also vary depending on other physical and psychological conditions.

If you currently use meth and are thinking about stopping or reducing your usage, consider talking with your doctor. They will be able to advise on how to do this as safely as possible. They may also prescribe medications or refer you to a detox center to help you manage withdrawal symptoms.

Read on to learn more about what to expect with meth withdrawal symptoms. This article also discusses a typical withdrawal timeline, possible treatments and remedies for symptoms, and more.

What are the symptoms of meth withdrawal?

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Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may depend on:

  • your age
  • your psychological and physical characteristics
  • the type of withdrawal process you use
  • which form of the substance you used
  • how long you have used meth

Mild meth withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • disturbed sleep
  • mood changes
  • depression
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • changes in body temperature and goosebumps

The most severe symptoms may include:

The symptoms of meth withdrawal may last for a few days or weeks, but they will eventually stop.

Learn more about withdrawal.

What is the timeline for meth withdrawal symptoms?

Meth withdrawal symptoms seem to adhere to a consistent timeline.

The typical timeline of meth withdrawal is as follows:

  1. During the first 24 hours of abstaining from the drug, symptoms begin to appear.
  2. Between 7–10 days of discontinuing the drug, your symptoms may peak. The severity of your symptoms will steadily decrease in the days following the peak.
  3. Meth withdrawal has an average duration of between 14–20 days. The most common duration for withdrawal symptoms is 14 days.

It is important to note that the length of time that symptoms persist can depend on the level of addiction a person experiences. For example, in more severe cases, symptoms of meth cravings can persist for at least 3 weeks.

Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information about the timeline they expect you to personally experience with meth withdrawal.

How long does meth withdrawal last?

Meth withdrawal usually lasts 14–20 days, but it may vary. During this period, your brain readjusts the production of neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters play a role in regulating emotion. Your brain restarts the production of neurotransmitters on its own. During this period, you may experience mild or severe depression due to meth withdrawal.

You may also experience drug cravings while you are going through meth withdrawal. Depression and negative feelings often cause these intense desires. The more intense and frequent these cravings are, the more likely a person may relapse during the withdrawal phase.

What are the coping mechanisms for symptoms of meth withdrawal?

There are no FDA-approved medications that can treat meth addiction specifically. Doctors may prescribe you medications that can relieve meth withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and drug cravings. They may also recommend counseling.

Starting the withdrawal process in a safe environment is very important. You may consider contacting your doctor or a healthcare professional. You can also practice self-care by: 

  • eating a balanced, healthy diet
  • exercising
  • getting enough sleep
  • maintaining social contact

When should I see a doctor?

Substance use disorder is a medical diagnosis that requires treatment. If you are taking meth, consider talking with your doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe you medications to manage your symptoms of meth withdrawal. You can also get help from a drug rehabilitation program in a detox center. It may help you to go through your withdrawal process.

You may need to undergo a medical detox program if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms. In these programs, a doctor can monitor your symptoms and treat them as they appear.

Learn about the warning signs of addiction.

Should I go to a detox center for meth withdrawal?

Going to a detox center may help you during your recovery. Detox centers have trained professionals who can personalize your recovery plan.

Detox centers are particularly effective when a person has a severe addiction or a concurring disorder, such as a secondary addiction or mental health problems.

It is possible to divide recovery from meth abuse into three steps:

1. Detoxification

The process of detoxification consists of removing any traces of meth from your body.

Medical professionals will take care of you and your symptoms. They will also monitor your symptoms to prevent severe withdrawal and relapse.

2. Counseling

Trained therapists will work on the psychological aspect of the treatment with you. This may involve family, group, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

3. Aftercare

After the detox process, a person who previously used meth may have difficulty reintegrating into society. They may have to face feelings they have avoided in the past with the help of meth.

The aftercare plan involves techniques and strategies to help manage triggering situations. These strategies can encourage a person to cope with their emotions in a healthy way. This plan may involve regular meetings and counseling to help manage meth cravings and triggers.

Learn more about addiction.

Summary

Meth is a highly addictive drug. It has multiple names and comes in different shapes, such as crystals, powder, and liquid.

Meth withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person. They can include anxiety, depression, paranoia, aches, nausea, confusion, and disorientation.

There are no treatments for meth withdrawal. However, doctors can prescribe medication to mitigate symptoms. Detox centers have trained healthcare professionals to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. They will monitor your symptoms and treat them as they appear.

Physical withdrawal symptoms usually disappear after a couple of weeks. However, a person’s psychological symptoms can last longer and may require additional support. Contact your doctor for more information if you are thinking about reducing or stopping meth use.

Seeking help for addiction may seem daunting and possibly even scary, but there are several organizations that can provide you support. 

If you believe that you or someone close to you is experiencing addiction, you can contact any of the following organizations for help and advice:

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Medical Reviewer: Alexandra Perez, PharmD, MBA, BCGP
Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 21
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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