Meth withdrawal symptoms occur during detox, once someone stops using meth. These symptoms range from mild to severe and could warrant medical supervision.
When someone’s brain and body are exposed to meth over an extended period and they become dependent on the drug, withdrawal symptoms can occur when the individual stops using it. Meth withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological. They may be so severe that medical supervision during detox could be required.
While each person may experience withdrawal differently, certain meth withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur in most cases.
The harmful effects of a meth comedown, while not the same as withdrawal, can occur before the person begins full detox from the drug. These effects worsen with continued usage. Symptoms of coming down from meth can include:
Some people may experience these symptoms for a few days, especially the psychological symptoms. To combat the symptoms of coming down from meth, some people will go through cycles of binging. They will use the drug frequently in a relatively short period to maintain their high and avoid coming down.
If someone doesn’t do this and continues to abstain from meth, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Primary symptoms include:
Symptoms of withdrawal begin within 24 hours of the last usage of the drug and can continue for 3–5 days. Symptoms may last as long as seven days for those who use large amounts of stimulants.
It is recommended to stay hydrated with at least 2–3 liters of water during withdrawal. Aside from staying hydrated, it’s advised to supplement with a multivitamin containing B and C vitamins. Within a supervised detox program, treatment professionals may offer medications for anxiety, aches and other symptoms.
The meth withdrawal timeline is different for every person. Factors that can play a role in how long meth withdrawal symptoms last include:
For many people, the initial symptoms of meth withdrawal start within 24 hours after the most recent use, and peak meth withdrawal symptoms may occur within 3–5 days.
Following this period, the intensity of symptoms usually declines. For most people, the acute symptoms of meth withdrawal last for 5–7 days, but protracted symptoms can last as long as 30–60 days.
While there isn’t a specifically approved meth withdrawal medication, there are options to help alleviate symptoms. Bupropion is an antidepressant, and it is associated with more weekly periods of abstinence in people with low-to-moderate dependence.
A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may also be an option because it can help reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety. However, SSRIs have not proven effective for cravings or addiction treatment. They can only treat certain mood symptoms.
Mirtazapine is an antidepressant that works differently than SSRIs. It has been shown in two randomized clinical trials to reduce the use of methamphetamine over 24 weeks of treatment and 12 weeks of follow-up.
It’s important to keep in mind that these medications are not provided at every detox center, and they can only be administered when medical requirements are met.
Because of the many complications associated with detoxing from meth, a medically supervised detox is the safest option. Detox could be associated with many psychological effects, like extreme cravings, although those decline over time. Depression is one of the most common psychological meth withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to dangerous complications such as suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Some people also have psychotic symptoms during meth withdrawal, including paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. In these situations, medication may be necessary, and the person may require constant care as they go through the process. Someone with pre-existing conditions may be more likely to develop these severe symptoms when they withdraw from meth.
For people addicted to methamphetamine, there are a number of challenges that can impede recovery — relapse often occurs in the weeks following the cessation of meth use. During this period, withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, and continued meth use relieves those symptoms.
Orlando Recovery Center offers a variety of treatment options to help people with a methamphetamine use disorder improve their chances of success. Our staff are professionally trained and licensed to provide expert, compassionate care that’s tailored to your individual needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, give us a call.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.