Methamphetamine, also known simply as meth or crystal meth is a powerful stimulant that is either smoked, snorted, or injected by the user. It can also occasionally be found in pill form, although this is the less common form taken by most users.
Meth can be extremely addictive since the “high” or euphoria from the drug can start very quickly, but then quickly fade. This creates a cycle of highs, followed by a severe crash, which leads to repeated use of the drug in a short period. This cycle can develop into addiction rather quickly.
Unfortunately, quitting meth use once addicted can be a difficult process involving changes in mood, behavior, and cravings. Because withdrawal from methamphetamines can be dangerous, care and monitoring by a professional is highly recommended.
What Are The Signs Of Meth Addiction?
Many users of meth may not even realize they are suffering from a physical addiction to the drug at the early stages. However, some signs are common with meth addiction and they can include any of the following.
- Weight Loss
- Neglecting work or family responsibilities
- Severe depression
- intense drug cravings
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms after regular usage of meth is a sign of likely addiction. With addiction, it means that attempts to quit the drug will result in meth withdrawal symptoms that may be severe in many cases.
Below we’ll go into more detail about meth withdrawal, the symptoms, and how long someone can expect them to last when quitting the drug.
What Are Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?
Meth withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the individual and the length of time they’ve abused the drug. Outside factors can also affect withdrawal such as the individual’s previous mental health or physical health when deciding to quit.
The most common symptom of meth withdrawal will be a severe lack of energy and feelings of fatigue. It’s not unusual in the first day or two of quitting that users sleep a majority of that time.
However, there are also severe emotional symptoms that will generally arise upon quitting meth.
These can include moderate to severe depression along with psychosis or hallucinations. Milder emotional symptoms may be feelings of anxiety and paranoia mixed with intense cravings for the drug.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last?
Withdrawal symptoms can last up to 5 weeks or possibly longer, but they are most acute during the first two weeks and start to subside. Cravings for the drug also begin to decrease as the patient reaches the 5th week.
How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay In Your System?
Methamphetamine has a half-life of about 10 hours, meaning half of the methamphetamine is out of your system within 10 hours. However, it can take several half-lives for it to be completely removed. The total process generally takes 48-72 hours.
However, just because the methamphetamine is out of your system does not mean that the withdrawal symptoms will end. Withdrawal will begin within 24-48 hours from the last use of the drug. Because of this, it’s important that users have the proper professional support during this initial phase of addiction recovery.
If you or someone you know has a suspected addiction to meth, the Hope Institute of New Jersey is here to help you. We understand meth addiction and can help support patients as they deal with withdrawal symptoms. This support greatly increases the chance of recovery and reduces the possibility of relapse.
Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Meth withdrawal symptoms generally take about five weeks to substantially subside. The initial two weeks are often described as the most difficult for those recovering from meth addiction.
Below, we’ll go over the typical meth withdrawal timeline.
This period can be difficult when dealing with the intense physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms of meth. As the drug entirely wears off and leaves the system, the “crash” period can begin since the body is not used to functioning without the drug being present.
During this first week, patients will experience extreme fatigue due to the crash, but they will generally also experience disruptions to their sleep. This cycle can lead to even more fatigue and feelings of exhaustion.
After the initial crash and about midway through the first week, emotional disturbances can start to occur. This period is generally referred to as the acute stage of meth withdrawal and is often the most unpleasant.
Insomnia, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and hallucinations can all be present during this time.
Professional care is critical during this period to keep the patient safe as well as to minimize the difficulty during this initial phase of withdrawal.
Within 8-10 days, the most severe symptoms will start to subside. Feelings of anxiety and depression can remain but are less severe than during the first week. Patients will generally report they are feeling slightly better during this second week.
Their sleeping patterns should also begin to improve at this point, which helps with their overall physical and mental well-being leading into week three of recovery.
However, although symptoms are improving, strong cravings for the drug generally remain at this point. This further illustrates the need for professional care during these critical stages of recovery to avoid a relapse.
The patient will continue improving at this point and while most emotional symptoms still remain, they have likely further subsided from week two. Sleeping patterns will also continue to improve, further helping the patient to feel better and deal with the withdrawal phase.
Week 5 And Beyond
Most of the physical withdrawal symptoms should be completely gone by this point. Although intense cravings can last into the 5th week. Generally, after the 5th week, the strongest cravings for the drug have subsided.
But even though intense cravings start to subside beyond the 5th week, the patient’s sobriety is still fragile and continued care and support will be needed to prevent a relapse.
Proper care at this point will include counseling, coping mechanisms, and behavioral therapy to deal with any recurring urge to use meth. This support and counseling after the initial withdrawal is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Without these tools, it can be very difficult for an individual to not use again once certain stressors or triggers in their life return.
How To Deal With Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are someone you love is dealing with meth addiction, contact the Hope Institute of New Jersey.
Our professional and compassionate staff understand this disease and we use the latest therapies and medications to help treat and lessen the pain from withdrawal. We then give patients the tools and support they need to complete their recovery.
If you’re experiencing meth withdrawal or addiction, contact the Hope Institute today. We offer a variety of outpatient and partial care plans to help lessen withdrawal and help you live the life you deserve that is free from addiction.