Methamphetamine, or “meth”, was originally discovered in 1893 and in the decades since has become a very valuable medication that is used to treat a wide variety of disorders and conditions. These can range from the more recent ADHD symptoms in individuals of all ages, to the treatment of obesity, and even an alertness aid in the past for people in many different industries.
It is a dangerously powerful stimulant, and it has seen a meteoric rise in illicit use and abuse in recent years. Using it even for a short time can result in strong dependencies being built, and severe withdrawal symptoms.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms experienced during meth withdrawal, as well as their intensity, will depend greatly on the individual seeking recovery. If they were a light user for a relatively short period, they may only feel a small number of symptoms and they may be brief in duration. On the other hand, if the user had a habit of using larger amounts, had a habit that lasted a long time, or was an intravenous user, the symptoms will often be much more severe and lasting. Symptoms include:
- Elevated appetite
- Suddenly becoming very easy to agitate or become upset
- Upset sleep cycles, including insomnia and parasomnia
- Excessive fatigue
- Uncontrollable or excessive sweating, no matter the temperature
- Confusion, sometimes to the point of paranoia
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Nausea and vomiting, often resulting in dehydration
- Itchy, red eyes
- Tremors, or uncontrollable shaking in the limbs
- Anxiety and depression
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
In most cases, the symptoms will be severe enough that it will be beneficial to work with treatment professionals. The addiction cycle for meth starts so quickly and the chemical dependence builds so rapidly, that it is always wisest to detox under medical supervision just in case anything should go wrong.
Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Since everyone is different, the timeline for withdrawal symptoms from meth will vary for each recovering individual. Often, the peak of the acute phase of detoxing from meth will be 48-72 hours from the last time of use. The acute phase will last about a week in most cases, though some of the symptoms can drag on for months.
When starting on the journey of recovery, and estimating the severity of the meth withdrawal, it will depend heavily on many factors. These will include, among other factors, the amount of meth that was used, the frequency, and the length of the addiction.
Meth creates an incredibly strong chemical dependency, and this can complicate the initial phase, known as the “acute phase” as well as the success of the ongoing recovery. For users that experienced extended periods of use, or using through injection, it may be in the recovering individual’s best interest to work with treatment professionals who can help supervise the detox from meth and minimize the potential for any medical complications.
The First 48 Hours
This is known as “the crash”, and will usually occur 24-48 hours after the last use. During this period the individual in recovery will usually feel a significant drop in both cognition and physical energy levels. This mental and physical sluggishness can also include nausea, cramping in the abdomen, and sweating.
Days Three Through Ten
This is the time when the severity and intensity of the withdrawal symptoms usually peak. Many individuals will experience debilitating and generally painful conditions when dealing with withdrawal symptoms from meth. This adjustment period will often feature waves of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as shaking, tremors, achiness, and a strong desire to use meth again. Most relapses happen during this period, often due to the peak of the symptoms.
The bulk of the symptoms experienced while detoxing from meth will only last about 2-3 weeks and so it is during this period that many individuals in recovery will begin to notice their symptoms tapering off or fading entirely. In many ways, the worst is over by now. The cravings for meth as well as the chronic fatigue and depression can all drag on for quite some time after the rest of the withdrawal symptoms have disappeared.
One month following the last time of use, the recovering individual should feel that most if not all of the physical withdrawal symptoms from meth are gone. The few that may remain are, by now, measurably decreased in severity. Even after this long, there will likely be some psychological symptoms that can persist, such as diminished feelings of pleasure. Neurochemical balance problems can also persist and may require medication to help treat.
How to Safely Withdrawal From Meth
Meth can be one of the most difficult substances to break free of and recover from. If someone close to you, or even yourself has found that they need to safely withdraw from meth, the first steps are reaching out to your support network, your friends, and family. Then you should work with an experienced local treatment center on a recovery plan that works for the individual seeking recovery.
Safely withdrawing from meth can be challenging, especially if the individual has used it for a long time, used large amounts, or has used certain administration methods such as injection. In cases like these, the withdrawals can be much more severe than with those who used smaller amounts, or for briefer periods for example. These are individuals that would benefit most from working with medical professionals during detox, to help avoid any potentially dangerous medical complications.
Not only will this ensure the safest possible detox environment for someone addicted to meth, but it will also give them a chance to learn how to control their cravings and triggers in the future. Going forward, if the individual knows how to better handle their emotional state when a situation or event happens that makes them want to use, they have a much better chance of maintaining their recovery over the long term.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to meth, the time to get help is now, before it is too late. Reach out to a friendly enrollment advisor today to be on the path to a better, more fulfilling life, free from drugs, right now.