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Meth Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Detox Treatment

Methamphetamine is a highly potent stimulant drug that causes individuals to develop an addiction quickly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.9% (or about 2.6 million people) reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months.”[1] 

If you abuse meth, your brain and body will become dependent on the substance to function properly. Physical dependence occurs when you become addicted to any substance. When you suddenly stop using meth, your brain will think it has lost a substance that is vital for your survival, causing you to experience symptoms of withdrawal. 

Oftentimes, the fear of experiencing withdrawal symptoms is what prevents people from seeking the help they need. Thankfully, meth detox programs can limit the symptoms and cravings that you experience by providing you with medications and treatments. Being aware of the meth withdrawal symptoms, timeline, and how it is treated can motivate you to seek the treatment you deserve.

What are the Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal?

Meth is a stimulant drug that increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels when you abuse it. If you are addicted to meth, your brain and body will become accustomed to experiencing these high levels consistently. When you stop using meth suddenly, those energy levels will decrease substantially, causing you to experience symptoms of withdrawal. 

The common symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal include:[2]

  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased appetite
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe depression
  • Dehydration

While meth withdrawal is not as severe as other drugs like benzodiazepines and alcohol, some of the symptoms can become life-threatening without proper treatment. For example, if you experience severe dehydration and do not receive the fluids your body needs, you could suffer fatal consequences. Even further, psychological symptoms like depression, paranoia, and hallucinations could cause you to experience suicidal ideations. 

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

The timeline of meth withdrawal depends on a variety of personal factors, and how long meth withdrawal lasts varies from person to person. However, there is a general timeline that most people experience.

Most individuals begin experiencing symptoms 24 hours after their last dose of methamphetamine. By the 7th day of withdrawal, the symptoms will peak in severity and completely subside after about 2 weeks. However, this timeline can differ slightly based on several personal factors that must be considered.

For example, the following factors may contribute to how long meth withdrawal lasts:

  • How long you have been abusing methamphetamine
  • The dosage and potency of the meth you are abusing 
  • The frequency with which you abuse the substance 
  • The method of use (smoking, snorting, injecting, or swallowing)
  • Whether you abused other substances 
  • Your overall physical health
  • Age, weight, and metabolism rate 

Someone who was abusing meth for several years may experience withdrawal symptoms longer than a person who only used it for a few months. People with slower metabolisms, poor health, or physical health conditions like liver damage may have a longer withdrawal timeline. 

Since the duration of meth withdrawal varies and symptoms can be unpredictable, you should always attend a meth detox program, as the medical staff can determine how long you will require treatment for withdrawal based on your personal factors and information about your health. 

Understanding the Meth Withdrawal Timeline

Meth withdrawal includes physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms can become unbearable without proper treatment and medication, making it vital that you receive support from a medical detox program. Being aware of the general meth withdrawal timeline can make you less worried about the detox process, motivating you to get the help you need.

The general methamphetamine withdrawal timeline is as follows:

1-10 Days After Last Dose

Within 24 hours of your last dose of meth, you will begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The early symptoms of withdrawal usually include fatigue, cravings, decreased energy levels, and an increased appetite. 

Between days 3 to 7, your symptoms will reach peak intensity. Oftentimes, severe depression and suicidal ideations are common during this phase of meth withdrawal. This is when it is most important to have access to medical detox services, as many people relapse to soothe their symptoms during this stage. 

10-14 Days After Last Dose

Once you have reached the 10th day of meth withdrawal, most of your symptoms will be psychological. However, the psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal are typically the most severe, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, anxiety, and even hallucinations.

During a detox program, you will be given medications to keep these symptoms at bay. Typically, these symptoms subside after 14 days. However, you could continue to experience psychological symptoms much longer if you develop a condition known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).[3]

14+ Days After Your Last Dose 

If you develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), you will continue to experience symptoms of withdrawal after the normal timeline. Symptoms may include intense drug cravings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and paranoia. PAWS is typically managed with symptom-specific medications, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes.

How is Meth Withdrawal Treated During Detox?

Meth detox centers can prescribe medications, facilitate treatments, and offer the support required to keep you comfortable and healthy throughout the withdrawal process. Detox is the first step in addiction recovery, which means it prepares you to continue your healing process in additional programs like inpatient or outpatient meth treatment

During methamphetamine detox, you will be prescribed medications to soothe your withdrawal symptoms. While substances like opioids and alcohol have tapering medications that can be used, meth requires medications that target specific symptoms. 

For example, if you are experiencing severe depression and insomnia, you will be given antidepressant medications that also help you sleep. On the other hand, patients who experience severe mood swings, paranoia, and hallucinations may be given a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic to manage their symptoms temporarily. Physical symptoms of meth withdrawal like dehydration will be treated by providing you with fluids.

Meth detox centers provide the treatment you need to successfully overcome your symptoms so you can move on to the next phases of recovery where you learn how to maintain long-term sobriety and cope with your emotions healthily.

Finding Help for Meth Abuse and Addiction Today

If you or a loved one suffers from methamphetamine addiction, recovery is possible. Overcoming an addiction to meth can be extremely difficult, but with the help of a medical detox program, you can overcome your symptoms and prepare for the psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction recovery. 

To learn more about our drug and alcohol detox center in South Florida, contact Mandala Healing Center today.