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Detoxing from Meth: What Is Withdrawal Like?

Detoxing from meth is the first step in taking your life back from drug addiction. If you’re trying to quit methamphetamines, you should know what to expect from meth withdrawal and detox — and what needs to happen afterwards for long-term recovery. Methamphetamine withdrawal has a reputation of being less severe than withdrawal from other drugs. However, many people relapse shortly after quitting meth because of intense cravings and debilitating psychological withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing under the care of medical professionals can ease discomfort and prevent relapse. Here’s what you need to know about meth withdrawal and detox:

What Is Meth Withdrawal Like?

The physical symptoms of meth withdrawal are usually more tolerable than those you would have with substances like opioids, benzos, and alcohol. However, psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal can be intense and last for some time. That’s why meth detox should take place in a medical facility or drug detox center so medical professionals can attend to symptoms during the withdrawal process and manage the long-term effects of meth on your mental health.
In general, meth withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach issues
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Meth cravings
  • Sweating
  • Increased appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts

How Long Is Meth Withdrawal?

The meth withdrawal timeline is different for everyone. Generally, methamphetamine withdrawal lasts a week or two, but mental health symptoms can linger for several months. The severity of meth withdrawal symptoms can vary. Factors that determine the length and severity of meth withdrawal may include:

  • How long you’ve been abusing meth.
  • If you’re abusing other drugs and alcohol as well.
  • The amount of meth you abuse regularly.
  • Your physical health.
  • If you have co-occurring mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

Methamphetamine withdrawal syndrome usually takes place in two phases.

First Phase of Meth Withdrawal

Typically, the worst meth withdrawal symptoms begin within 24 hours of last use. The below symptoms of initial withdrawal may peak within 24 hours and then gradually taper off over several days. The first seven to 10 days of meth withdrawal are considered post-acute withdrawal.
Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms during this phase may include:

  • Drug cravings
  • Agitation
  • Increased sleeping and eating
  • Headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Second Phase of Meth Withdrawal

Many meth withdrawal symptoms subside after the acute phase, but some stick around at lower levels. The second sub-acute phase generally lasts a minimum of two weeks. Most withdrawal symptoms from meth addiction during this phase are psychological. That’s because frequent meth abuse causes an imbalance in brain chemicals. This imbalance can impact:

  • Mood regulation
  • Self-control
  • Motivation
  • Cognitive performance
  • Psychological stress

These alterations can also lead to anhedonia, which is an inability to experience pleasure without drugs. The second phase of the meth withdrawal process involves the brain trying to correct these imbalances. If you’ve been abusing meth regularly for a while, these long-term effects of meth can take months to correct.

Why Does Meth Withdrawal Happen?

Meth effects dopamine, which is a chemical in your brain that’s tied to reward and important functions like memory, motivation, mood, and movement. When you take meth, it tells your brain to produce an excessive amount of dopamine. In excess, dopamine can cause you to feel euphoric, alert, aware, and relaxed. With continued meth abuse, your brain’s resources of dopamine are depleted. It begins relying on meth to produce dopamine. You become physically dependent on meth.

When you stop taking meth, your central nervous system goes into shock trying to rebalance itself without the presence of the drug it’s now reliant on. This is what sends you into crystal meth withdrawal. Essentially, your systems go into overdrive to re-establish homeostasis. The result is physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Can Meth Withdrawal Be Fatal?

Withdrawal from methamphetamine is rarely fatal. However, methamphetamine abuse can lead to death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that overdose deaths involving meth and other psychostimulants were around 23,827 in 2020. In addition to meth overdose, meth users are at higher risk for premature death by:

  • HIV
  • Suicide
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Homicide

Do You Need Medical Detox for Meth Withdrawal?

Withdrawing from methamphetamine or other drugs of abuse without medical help is never recommended. Many users relapse when they try to detox at home because of meth withdrawal symptoms. The physical symptoms of meth withdrawal aren’t as intense as drugs like heroin. However, the psychological withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult.
The media often portrays psychotic symptoms as a hallmark sign of meth use. In actuality, depressive symptoms are far more common. These symptoms can be severe and debilitating among heavy meth users. Some of meth’s side effects and withdrawal symptoms overlap with depression. Meth withdrawal can intensify already existing depression.
If left untreated, depression from meth can:

  • Reduce adherence to drug treatment
  • Increase the likelihood of relapse
  • Elevate the risk of suicide

Without medically supervised detox and treatment to prevent relapse, you’re at risk for a number of physical and mental health problems. These may include:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Aggressive, violent behavior
  • Homicidal or suicidal thoughts
  • Heart problems
  • Stroke
  • Infections from abscess and burns
  • Damaged blood vessels
  • Mental health disorder symptoms
  • Diseases like cancer and HIV

Meth detox treatment involves withdrawal medications to help ease physical discomfort. It may also include psychiatric medications to assist with erratic mood shifts and suicidal ideation. Most importantly, addiction professionals are with you around the clock monitoring your vital signs and comfort level and ensuring your safe.

What Is Meth Detox Like at Vogue?

Vogue Recovery Center’s medical team is highly experienced in drug detox and alcohol detox. We’ll help you through this first critical step in freeing yourself from methamphetamine dependence. Drug and alcohol detox includes:

Assessment

We’ll assess your physical and mental health. We’ll ask you questions about your meth abuse and any other substance abuse. Our substance abuse and mental health assessments help us determine the best approach to meth detox.

Medically Supervised Detox

You’ll undergo meth withdrawal and detox in the care of our 24/7 nursing staff. We’re with you around the clock to attend to any discomfort. We’ll monitor your vital signs and make sure you’re safe and as comfortable as possible.

Research-Backed Medications

Certain medications can ease meth withdrawal symptoms. We’ll administer medications to help any physical or psychological distress.

Home-Like Comfort

Our detox centers and drug rehabs are warm and welcoming. You’ll enjoy comfortable furniture, gathering areas, and pleasing decor.

Inividualized Treatment Plans

After you’ve detoxed from meth, we’ll discuss next steps. Meth detox is the first leg of your recovery journey. People with substance use disorders need drug addiction treatment to stay sober.
Vogue Recovery Center offers both inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Many methamphetamine users find residential treatment to be most effective. It provides space and time away from triggers to focus on getting better. Inpatient rehab is often followed by outpatient treatment to help you transition back into everyday life.
Our treatment programs draw on therapies and recovery activities backed by science. We use a blend of traditional and holistic approaches so you can heal wholly. Your treatment plan may include approaches like:

Does Insurance Cover Meth Detox?

Paying for treatment is a concern for many people. The good news is that today most insurances cover rehab in the same ways they do other medical conditions. Typically, insurance plans have a behavioral health component that may cover medical detox and drug or alcohol rehab at least partially. Depending on your insurance plan, you may need to meet a deductible or obtain preauthorization from your physician. Vogue Recovery Center works with several insurance companies. Call us today to see if your insurance covers detox and addiction treatment.

Take Back Your Life From Meth

Methamphetamine addiction is a serious condition, but also a treatable one. Vogue Recovery Center provides safe and comfortable meth detox and evidence-based meth addiction treatment that will help you rebuild your life. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071736/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071736/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786221/
  4. http://jhrba.com/en/articles/19679.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21806520
  6. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse
  7. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/methamphetamine/what-treatments-are-effective-people-who-misuse-methamphetamine

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