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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

There are short-term meth withdrawal symptoms and longer-term lasting effects from Methamphatmines which can cause lasting physical problems.

Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be severe and recovery can be a difficult process with many hurdles, but considering the lasting effects of meth use on the body and mind, it’s a worthwhile effort. There are medications that can help in the process.

 

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Meth Withdrawal Home Remedies

Methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth, is an illegal drug. Meth creates additional dopamine in the brain which causes euphoria and ultimately a crash when it leaves the system. Therefore, when someone stops taking meth, their brain has less dopamine and they experience less pleasure and happiness. This leads to addiction, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine.

The meth withdrawal process can be daunting, causing people to feel depressed or even lack emotions. Meth addiction comes with the consequence of withdrawal when attempting to quit — whether it is cold turkey or even gradually.

If you or someone you know is suffering from meth addiction, it’s important to understand the proper way to detox, as well as the meth withdrawal symptoms to expect. In this article, we will discuss meth withdrawal symptoms, meth withdrawal home remedies, and meth addiction treatment options to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Coping and Relief

One strategy for coping with these symptoms is to engage in activities that provide a distraction from them. For many people who are going through meth withdrawal, this means engaging in pleasurable and distracting activities such as:

  • Taking a hot shower or bath
  • Listening to music
  • Reading a book
  • Watching TV or movies
  • Playing board games or cards
  • Learning a hobby to keep their hands busy

Another effective method of managing meth withdrawal symptoms is to use over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or Benadryl to help reduce the intensity of particular symptoms. 

This is not a substitute for seeking medical care, but it can provide relief during early meth withdrawal when your body is adjusting to the lack of meth in your system.

Long-Term Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to treat the underlying cause of unhealthy behavior. CBT has four components:

  1. Cognitive – modifying thoughts and beliefs
  2. Behavioral – modifying actions
  3. Affective – modifying feelings
  4. Social – modifying interactions with others

CBT can be applied to all types of behaviors, including addiction, obesity, smoking cessation, etc. 

There are two common methods of applying cognitive behavioral therapy: “relapse prevention therapy” and “contingency management therapy”. Relapse prevention therapy applies CBT to promote long-term recovery by helping the patient recognize and avoid “triggers” of drug use. Contingency management therapy focuses on obtaining immediate rewards for positive behaviors, which are necessary for treating addictions.

Meth Withdrawal Can Be Difficult, But Doing It Right Is Important

When an individual is coming down from meth, their body begins to crave the drug still. This is what causes the withdrawal symptoms. However, going through this detoxification process is good and necessary. It is the only way to truly be free of the substance addiction that has plagued you or your loved one.

If a person is going through opiate withdrawal, they should be very conscious of any medications they are taking, as well as partake in proper hydration and consume healthy foods to ease the symptoms as much as possible.

Natural Detox Remedies

People may experience intense cravings to consume meth and other drug and alcohol substances when detoxing. This cold turkey meth detox period often leads them to search for home remedies. However, it is important to know that home remedies for meth withdrawal do not have evidence of working effectively for recovery. This means they are not the best option, as you don’t have proper substance abuse treatment for the severe withdrawal symptoms you experience.

The reality is that most relapses occur when someone is attempting to detox at home without any supervision or treatment. The symptoms — such as anxiety, muscle aches, and more — can become so overbearing that the person uses meth again in order to cope. This is especially true if they do not have a strong support system from friends or family around them.

For most individuals, addiction recovery should be done in a detox center that works to rehab the patient over time, instead of alone in their own homes.

That being said, there are certain natural remedies that those who experience crystal meth withdrawal often try. This includes:

Workout

Work out as often as possible. Detoxing from meth makes you feel less energetic, even though the additional “energy” you had when taking the drug was false. Exercise gets your blood flowing which naturally increases energy. And it also releases endorphins, which make you feel happier.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an alternative medical practice. It involves the use of tiny needles, placed around the body in order to manipulate or release energy (“chi”) from “pressure points” around the body. While some have reported increased mood or relaxation after this procedure, it is not supported by medical science for drug recovery. It is most likely attributed to the placebo effect, which can be achieved via other methods.

Yoga

Yoga is beneficial because it is a form of light exercise. This allows your blood flow to get going, without putting too much strain on yourself during the detox. It also involves stretching, which has beneficial effects on joints, muscles, and mood. However, Yoga is not accepted as an official treatment for drug abuse, so it should not be depended on for opioid withdrawal.

Vitamins

When someone has been abusing drug and alcohol substances like crystal meth, they often neglect their health. Instead of eating or cooking foods rich with vitamins and minerals, they may opt for lower-quality meals in order to remain focused on their “high.” Thus, supplementing with vitamins during meth detox can help replenish some of your body’s much-needed nutritional balance.

Keep Hydrated

Water is an important part of remaining healthy under any circumstances. However, due to the intense detox process of crystal meth, staying hydrated is even more crucial. Aim to drink one liter of water each day at a minimum to avoid relapse.

Long Hot Baths to Calm Nerves

Being nervous or anxious is a common symptom of withdrawal from substance abuse. Warm baths can relax the body and mind. This helps put your attention on positive thoughts instead of aches, pains, and anxious thoughts — helping with the mental recovery aspect.

Do Something Fun

When you drop a bad habit, one of the best things to do is to replace it with a new habit. Get out and do something enjoyable like going for a walk, to the movies, or taking the dogs out. You can also find enjoyable activities at home such as Netflix, video games, family board games, and simple activities.

The Treatment Definitely Helps

At Magnified Health, we offer those going through the crystal meth withdrawal process a safe environment in which to recover. The right treatment involves supervision from health care providers who can get you the care you need in the case of a medical emergency. Opiate withdrawal is nothing to take lightly.

Our treatment and recovery for addiction involve professional help in the form of support groups, therapy, and a guided rehab process during recovery. Most people respond to drug recovery differently.

That’s why it’s important to have a path laid out for you that is custom to your life, and the way your brain works. Over a few weeks or months, you can be free from drugs and experience a life-changing recovery without depression, cravings, relapse, or other risks.

Phases & Timeline Of Meth Withdrawal

  1. The first phase of meth withdrawal usually lasts three days to a week and includes the most severe symptoms.
  2. The second phase of withdrawal can last for an additional three to four weeks, but this timeline can vary depending on the intensity of the addiction.
  3. Full recovery from Meth addiction is many times more difficult than other drugs because of the lasting physical effects of Meth use which include skin problems, teeth problems, other health problems as well as financial and relationship problems. While these issues are not technically part of “withdrawal” they are lasting consequences of use that must be dealt with and many times can take a lifetime.

Determining Severity Of Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms can depend on several different factors, including:

The total amount and frequency of use

The amount and frequency with which one used meth plays a significant role in determining the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Someone who used meth regularly for several months or years will typically experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than a person used once a week for a few months.

Age and health status

People who use meth at a young age and those with compromised health (such as people living with HIV or hepatitis C) experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

The method of administration

Methamphetamine is taken into the body in different ways, such as snorting, smoking, and injecting. It’s “easier” to quit when you’ve only used the drug by one particular route (ie: smoking), because there are no residual effects from another route of administration.

How much time elapsed from your last dose 

The longer a person has been using, the quicker the onset of withdrawal symptoms. The longer one uses methamphetamines, the more addicted they become. The body will require them to use it more often in order to avoid feeling any withdrawal symptoms. If someone hasn’t been using meth for very long, they will take longer to feel the onset of withdrawal.

Your overall health and lifestyle

Someone who has other health issues, prior to their dependency, is going to struggle more with withdrawals than someone who has a clean bill of health. However, the person who was healthy before their dependency is just as likely to develop other health issues and that can become more chronic and contribute to an uncomfortable withdrawal.

The severity of your meth addiction

If you’ve been using meth for a long time, you’re more likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Some people may have minimal or no discomfort when they stop using this commonly abused drug while others will have significant issues that can pose a serious risk to their health.

Signs and Symptoms Of Withdrawal

Physical Signs of Meth Withdrawal

The physical signs of meth withdrawal are often severe, but they tend to be less severe than the psychological symptoms.

Within the first 12-24 hours after you stop using meth, you may experience:

Persistent thoughts about methamphetamines

A person in withdrawal is likely to have their own mind turn on them and beg for more. Thoughts that they are dying will be almost non-stop and they believe they won’t feel any relief until they get the meth. 

Restlessness and paranoia

You may feel extremely restless and develop a heightened sense of anxiety. It’s also common for people who are going through meth withdrawal to become paranoid or suspicious that someone is trying to get them into trouble.

For instance, someone might suspect that his boss wants him fired or that law enforcement authorities are out to get him and start acting out of character.

Extreme mood swings

It’s normal to experience changes in your mood while you’re going through meth withdrawal. The degree of fluctuation is often marked and may be severe enough to lead you back into using the drug again just so you can feel “normal.” 

For example, one day you might feel extremely depressed, then suddenly become happy or excited after moving around more than usual. Such extreme differences in how you’re feeling are common during meth withdrawal.

Exhaustion, lethargy, and loss of motivation

Extreme fatigue is a primary sign that you’ve stopped using meth as well as other stimulants such as cocaine and Adderall. In addition, it’s not uncommon for people to feel lethargic, run-down, and generally uninterested in participating in activities that they once enjoyed.

Psychosis

The development of psychosis suggests that your brain has been significantly altered by the amount of meth you’ve taken over a long period. 

Weight loss from reduced appetite

It can take weeks before your appetite returns after quitting meth. This is often accompanied by significant weight loss because the drug provides a sense of euphoria that causes people to lose interest in eating and leads them to a state of decreased appetite. It is common for individuals to develop sugar cravings and seek out candy and other sweets.

If you have a family history of schizophrenia, bipolar or some other type of mental illness, it’s more likely that you’ll experience acute psychotic symptoms when going through meth withdrawal. These may include delusions and hallucinations.

Other Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Coming down from meth is a very unpleasant process. The symptoms make it very difficult to quit. A person going through withdrawal should seek professional help for addiction treatment at a detox center before they get worse. Some of the meth withdrawal symptoms are mental, while others are physical. These may include:

  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Itchy eyes
  • Loss of appetite

The timeline of these recovery symptoms can be as little as a few days, or up to a few weeks. Those who have been using meth for longer typically experience more prolonged symptoms. Attempting to use meth withdrawal home remedies is common, although it comes with the risk of using the drug and relapsing again.

FAQs

Is Meth Withdrawal More Severe Than Cocaine Withdrawal?

Meth and cocaine are both stimulants and withdrawal symptoms are similar. The determining factor is how much cocaine you were taking, what it was cut with, and how you were ingesting it. Meth is made in a lab using Sudafed and other chemicals. These chemicals also leave your system during meth withdrawal and may make it more difficult than cocaine withdrawal.

How long do the most painful withdrawal symptoms last?

Generally, withdrawal symptoms last 3-7 days. But, the exact length depends on the substance being misused and the severity of the misuse. In some cases, it can take days, weeks, or months to rid the body of substance completely. However, with Meth use, many remnants of use remain and may remain forever. For instance, skin issues, "meth mouth" and teeth problems that occur as a result of use may need separate medical care to heal.

Delay Only Makes it Hard, It’s Now or Never

As someone with a history of substance abuse, you have two roads that you can choose at this point in your life. The first is to continue with your meth addiction or ineffective meth withdrawal home remedies. That means you’re more likely to keep suffering from aches and pains, decreased appetite, severe depression, life-threatening symptoms, and perhaps even violent behavior.

The second option is a much brighter picture, where you seek help at caring addiction treatment and increase your quality of life. You can be a new person who overcomes meth withdrawal at a medical detox center with emotional support and professional help. This road will allow you to end substance use and addiction to methamphetamine.

Delaying your admittance to an effective treatment center will only make it harder to free yourself from drug addiction. Be the person you truly are inside: contact us today to learn about rehab and recovery options that can provide the recovery you deserve.

Find Help For Meth Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with meth addiction, please let us help you get started on the path to recovery. You will be connected with resources that can provide you with the best treatment options for your specific needs. Remember that you are not alone.

https://vertavahealth.com/meth/withdrawal/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354220/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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