Home » Meth Addiction » Meth Detox: Symptoms, Timeline, and Managing Withdrawal
Meth is a highly addictive illicit stimulant. If you have developed a meth addiction – stimulant use disorder – you will experience aggravating withdrawal symptoms when you discontinue use. This guide highlights how to detox from meth as safely and comfortable as possible.
Ingesting meth causes the release of excessive amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger associated with positive mood. Taking meth induces a euphoric high, and dopamine levels remain elevated until you stop using the substance.
If you have been using meth long-term, withdrawal will involve severe physical and psychological symptoms. You will feel flat and drained of energy, experiencing depression and anxiety. Meth withdrawal is also characterized by intense cravings for meth. If you attempt to detox from meth in a non-clinical setting, cravings can be so overwhelming that you use the drug to alleviate the urges, relapsing before your recovery gets underway.
Meth detox is the first pivotal step in an ongoing process of treatment and recovery. The aim of meth is to purge all toxins from the body safely, stabilizing you physically for ongoing treatment and breaking physical dependence on the drug.
While meth withdrawal can be challenging and unpleasant, a supervised medical detox can mitigate complications and help you to build a firm foundation for ongoing meth addiction treatment.
Getting the meth out of your system, then, is the first step to recovery. It’s important to detox from meth in a safe, professionally staffed environment. This is because your brain may have become dependent on it, or you could end up harming yourself while tweaking. “Tweaking” is when a meth addict uses more meth to counter comedowns and could stay awake from 3-15 days.
Everyone will have a unique experience of meth withdrawal, but there are some common withdrawal symptoms that include:
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Studies show that there are two phases to meth withdrawal.
The first phase of detox is the most intense during the first 24 hours of withdrawal, lessening in intensity over the following week.
Often, a subacute phase of meth withdrawal persists for another two weeks. In the event of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) symptoms may linger for many months.
Various factors influence the severity of meth withdrawal, including:
Generally, the longer you have been using meth, the more intense and long-lasting the withdrawal symptoms are likely to be.
Research suggests that acute meth withdrawal lasts for 7 to 10 days, with cravings the most reported symptom. Acute withdrawal symptoms may persist for up to 2 weeks after the last use of meth.
You’ll experience strong cravings for food that is high in sugar or carbs that can last up to 3 weeks. You can expect to experience anxiety that can last up to 5 weeks. You may also experience depression and meth cravings.
Unlike the hyperactive high of meth, you’ll feel extremely sleepy and lethargic during the first week of your withdrawal. By the fifth day, you may experience hypersomnia and sleep excessively, typically up to 11 hours in a day
You can expect to continue to feel tired and inactive during this time. You may start to experience feelings of depression or a low mood that will begin to subside in the third week, depending on the severity of your addiction.
Regrettably, there are currently no medications approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of meth withdrawal. Treatment for meth addiction and detox typically focuses on medical supervision combined with behavioral interventions.
During supervised meth detox, a treatment team can manage physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. The medications used during meth detox may vary depending on your symptoms and your medical history. Some medications commonly used during the detoxification process include:
The above medications can be administered by a treatment team, and they will also intervene in the event of any complications during meth detox.
While medications for anxiety and depression may be beneficial, it is vital to address the underlying cause of any co-occurring mental health conditions during ongoing meth addiction treatment.
While detox is the first physical step to recovery, there are mental steps involved in recovery after detoxing from meth. Structured activities, group therapy, and individual counseling are built into your day when you stay at a residential addiction treatment facility such as Gratitude Lodge. After that, you’ll be able to transition to outpatient care, where you can stay in your own home, attend work or school, and attend therapy in the daytime or evening.
You’ll feel your withdrawal symptoms become manageable after meth detox with the support of medical therapy. Then, you can partake in group activities, benefit from a structured schedule, develop responsibility, and become self-sufficient again. Taking all of the steps from detoxification to outpatient rehabilitation is what helps establish the foundation of lasting recovery and decreases the chance of relapse.
At Gratitude Lodge, we accept most PPO insurance for our Meth Detox program including BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Aetna, along with many more. We’re happy to check if your insurance will cover detox. Whether you’re staying with us for as little as 7 days or more than 90 days, the cost depends on your insurance policy deductible and your policy co-pay. Inpatient and outpatient facility costs may also vary.
Some insurance may limit your care providers and the types of medication covered. They may also want you to contribute to the cost. Most treatment facilities, including ours, can help determine if your insurance is eligible. When you choose Gratitude Lodge, you’re choosing to invest in a new you.
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During the process of meth withdrawal, your body undergoes significant changes as it adjusts to the absence of the drug. Some common physical symptoms of meth withdrawal may include fatigue, increased appetite, headaches, muscle aches, and vivid dreams. Additionally, you may experience psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, irritability, psychosis and intense drug cravings. As the meth withdrawal process continues, these symptoms may become more intense, leading to a potential for relapse. A supervised meth detox can mitigate these complications.
The length of meth withdrawal can vary depending on factors that include the frequency and amount of meth use, as well as your general health and personal circumstances. That said, there are some general patterns to meth detox. The onset of withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as a few hours after the last use of meth, lasting for several days. During this time, you may experience a range of symptoms from fatigue, depression, and anxiety to irritability and intense drug cravings. The acute withdrawal period, when symptoms are at their peak, can last from several days to a week. However, you may continue to experience residual symptoms, including cravings and mood swings, for several weeks or even months after discontinuing use.
Mild drug withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the drug in question, but some common mild symptoms include:
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