Crystal Meth Withdrawal and Detox

Methamphetamine (crystal meth) is an enormously addictive drug. If a person uses it more than once or twice, their body is very likely to become dependent on the influx of chemicals. Once the body becomes dependent, it will go into withdrawal if a person stops dosing. Meth withdrawal symptoms begin to manifest as the body detoxifies, removing the methamphetamine from its system.

Meth withdrawal and detox are uncomfortable experiences, and they are 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 rehab facility. It is important for meth users to go through the process of meth withdrawal under the supervision of a doctor. Once the body has been detoxified, the rehabilitation process can begin.

Meth withdrawal symptoms can be both physical, mental and behavioral, and they can be be very intense, lasting for days or even weeks. The primary factor that determines the length of meth withdrawal symptoms is the amount of time the person has been addicted.

Methamphetamine withdrawal, like any withdrawal, is not a pleasant experience. Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms begin around 24 hours after the user’s last dose. Fatigue often sets in first, followed by an overwhelming feeling of depression. Some patients also experience paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, and insomnia during this time.

In a long-term user, meth regularly and repeatedly increases the amount of dopamine — the neurotransmitter that controls feelings of pleasure — in the brain. When the drug is removed, so is the dopamine, and the resulting loss of pleasure is distressing and painful. Long-term meth use can also cause a decrease in the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, making it difficult for the user to experience pleasure. Many people who quit using meth experience this condition, called anhedonia. This state can continue for up to two years after a person successfully quits the drug. For many, it is physiological symptoms — anhedonia and the resultant depression — that causes them to relapse, seeking relief from the emotional distress. The psychological dependence resulting from prolonged meth use is powerful, so a user in methamphetamine withdrawal will also experience an intense craving for the drug.

The physical crystal meth withdrawal symptoms are relatively minor as compared to other hard and highly addictive drugs. Unlike heroin, for example, addicts going through crystal meth withdrawal of meth are not likely to experience flu-like symptoms. The primary physical symptoms of meth withdrawal are fatigue and lethargy, as well as a painful headache. As meth suppresses both appetite and sleep, many will spend a majority of their first two weeks without the drug eating and sleeping. They will gain a significant amount of weight in this time. After a matter of months, the recovering individual’s appetite and metabolism will return to normal levels and their weight will typically balance out as well.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline
There are three major sections that overarch the meth withdrawal process: the crash, the cravings and the recovery. Lasting up to 40 weeks, methamphetamine withdrawal is a slow, difficult and enormously valuable process. The idea of withdrawal is nerve-wracking, but it should not deter you from pursuing a better life. At The Recovery Village, we can help prepare you for the process of withdrawal and will remain with you through each stage.

Many factors affect the withdrawal experience. First, the length of time that you were regularly taking meth will relate to the difficulty of withdrawal. Relatedly, the higher the dosage of meth that you were taking when you decided to quit and the greater tolerance you have for the drug also influence the intensity of the withdrawal process.

Personal physiology and environment are also important factors. People with addictive personalities are likely to experience greater hardship in withdrawing from methamphetamine, as are those attempting to quit using the drug outside of a rehabilitation facility or within a triggering environment. It is also quite difficult to quit meth all at once. This method of withdrawal is referred to as cold turkey, and the sudden removal of the drug can shock the system. Many people choose to taper their use instead of going cold turkey, lowering their dosage bit by bit until they are able to quit completely with few ill effects. Others find any use of the drug too tempting and decide to cut themselves off all at once to avoid upping their dosage and setting back their recovery.

The first stage of meth withdrawal is known as the “crash.” It comprises the first three to 10 days of the process, during which meth users experience a sharp decline in energy and cognitive function. Depression is also a common symptom during this phase. In some cases, users will experience hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety. Many addicts do not crave meth during this time, but sleep for many hours and eat large amounts of food. The valley of the crash typically occurs on day three, after all of the most recent dose of meth is detoxed from the body.

Intense cravings characterize the second phase of meth withdrawal. Having gotten through the initial crash, users will again begin to desire the intense high that meth provides. Due to the euphoria that the drug offers, its consumption is often a massive temptation. Many people feel powerless after they stop using the drug, and will seek to use it again to regain the feeling. This phase can last up to 10 weeks and often includes depression and insomnia.

The third stage of meth withdrawal is when meth cravings begin to fade, becoming less frequent and less potent, forming the perfect opportunity to begin recovery. It is best for former addicts to maintain a clean environment and have others hold them accountable to their sobriety. This phase can last for 30 weeks and, in some cases, much longer. As a general rule, the longer it has been since you have used meth, the easier it will be for you to stay clean.

crystal meth breaking bad
Chronic methamphetamine users often fear they will die from meth withdrawal. It is, however, extremely unlikely that this will occur. Withdrawal can be a dangerous process for some users, but this is primarily due to the dehydration that can occur. Dehydration and other potential complications in the detox process are unlikely to be fatal. Whether you are quitting meth cold turkey or tapering your use, it is important to undergo the process of withdrawal under professional medical supervision. With trained eyes on your progress around the clock, you will be able to avoid any serious encounters with dangerous complications.

Medical staff is on hand at all times at The Recovery Village, ready to talk you through what is happening in your body and explain the symptoms and sensations that you are experiencing. Our medical personnel can also keep your loved ones informed of your status as you go through this process.

Detoxification is a natural process by which the body rids itself of the harmful chemicals in it. Methamphetamine detox will rid the body of all traces of the drug. Withdrawal is a major part of the detox process, and generally, the most integral section of the experience.

The meth detox process can be extremely unpleasant for those who have been under the drug’s influence for a long period of time. Those who have a drug dependency or are addicted to meth will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, depression, anxiety and increased appetite. These are all signs that the body is ridding itself of the methamphetamine, flushing out toxins and returning to a state of health.

Some methamphetamine users do choose to undergo the detox process at home. While it is certainly best to enter into the experience under professional medical supervision, home detox is possible. If the home environment is a triggering space, particularly one in which meth was or is highly prevalent, it is not advisable to attempt detox in this place. It is also not advisable to attempt home detox if you have a dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental illnesses. Additionally, there should be a doctor, nurse, friend, or family member present for the withdrawal process. This is called supported withdrawal and reduces the risk of complications.

Dehydration often accompanies the withdrawal process, which can be dangerous if it becomes extreme. For this reason, it is important to undergo medically supervised detox. Detox centers and rehabilitation facilities such as The Recovery Village provide around-the-clock medical supervision to those undergoing detoxification. Our nurses and doctors on staff will ensure you are fully hydrated and have the proper nutrients, allowing you to detox in a healthy and safe manner. In some cases, we may administer medication to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Once a person has chosen to enter the rehabilitation process — which in itself is a critical psychological step on the journey to success — our medical staff will evaluate them. Once tests and meetings have been conducted, the individual will undergo detoxification. This process often serves as a personal milestone for those who come through the experience. After some time, a patient’s body will stabilize and they can move onto the next stage of rehabilitation.

After the initial withdrawal process is complete, creating a plan for further treatment is key. Detoxification is one major step towards rehabilitation, but the journey to health and wellness continues long after this phase. Many addiction professionals believe recovery is never truly accomplished; instead, it is a continuous process. The Recovery Village helps all of our patients develop a personalized plan to address individual symptoms, underlying issues and life circumstances. Offering inpatient and outpatient programming, The Recovery Village is well-equipped to meet all rehabilitation needs. Not only will the trained staff help you heal, support groups, clinicians, and peers will be able to help you stay sober for the long term.

“How Long Does “Meth” Stay In Your System? (Methamphetamine).” Mental Health Daily, mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/10/09/how-long-does-meth-stay-in-your-system-methamphetamine/.
Jaffe, Adi. “Crystal meth withdrawal – Not like heroin, but not easy.” Psychology Today, 23 May 2010, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-addiction/201005/crystal-meth-withdrawal-not-heroin-not-easy.
“Meth Withdrawal and Detox – Withdrawal Symptoms from Meth.” Addiction Center, www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/meth/withdrawal-detox/.
“Meth Withdrawal Symptoms + Timeline.” Mental Health Daily, mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/04/25/meth-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline/.
“What Are the Long-term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-abuse.
Crystal Meth Detox
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Crystal Meth Detox was last modified: November 21st, 2017 by The Recovery Village