The abuse of methamphetamine (meth) is a growing problem in the United States. Meth is extremely addictive and due to its potency, it is able to lead to dependency very rapidly. In general, when an individual stops taking meth they go through a period of fatigue and withdrawal symptoms. Many of the symptoms of meth withdrawal are painful and debilitating and often cause individuals to begin using meth again in order to counteract the uncomfortable symptoms. This may then lead to repeated uses of meth, which then develops into a cycle of addiction.
The withdrawal symptoms from meth often vary for each person. The variation is symptoms is due to the differences in the amount of meth used, the length of time that meth was used, how often meth was used, and if more than one substance was used during the time meth was used (i.e., polydrug use). Another factor that affects withdrawal symptoms is the method in which meth was used. Symptoms of meth withdrawal can include the following: nausea, fatigue, confusion, agitation, increase appetite, loss of motivation, tremor, insomnia, suicidal ideation, sweating excessively, upset stomach, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, anxiety, red and itchy eyes, fever, and dehydration.
Meth Withdrawal and Detox Timeline
Typically, individuals who become dependent on meth find that their withdrawal symptoms are too severe to treat on their own. It is crucial that individuals who are dependent on meth and intend to detox enter a medical detox program. Medical detox is the safest and most effective method to treat the symptoms related to meth withdrawal. Medical detox programs provide around the clock care by healthcare professionals throughout the entire detox process. Medical staff monitor patients’ vital signs and develop individualized treatment plans based on patient needs. After withdrawal symptoms begin to dissipate, patients are able to engage in counseling and other treatment services in order to support them in maintaining sobriety and achieving long-term recovery.
The timeline for withdrawal often varies between individuals. During the first 48 hours of withdrawal, individuals experience a rapid decline in cognitive function and energy. They will also begin to experience sweating, abdominal cramping, and nausea. Throughout the third day through the tenth day, the withdrawal symptoms peak and the body begins to adjust to having no meth. This causes individuals to experience anxiety, extreme levels of fatigue, severe depression, muscle aches, involuntary movements, and intense cravings for meth. Throughout days 14 through 30 of meth withdrawal, individuals experience symptoms that are beginning to decrease in intensity. Several symptoms are still present and do not subside after this time period including depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
After a month following the initial withdrawal of the substance, the symptoms are usually alleviated or very mild. Some psychological symptoms related to withdrawal may still be present including anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance. These symptoms may continue to persist for several months up to a year or more. In summary, the first (acute) phase of meth withdrawal generally peaks at approximately day three after the last use of the substance and the physical withdrawal symptoms are generally alleviated after a week of no substance use. Withdrawal symptoms that are psychological may continue to persist for months or up to a year in some cases. These symptoms include agitation, cravings for meth, disturbances in sleep, and mood swings.
The withdrawal and detox of meth is made up of three stages in order to ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate care for their needs. Individuals going through the detox process have a comprehensive review of their current mental and physical health in order to give health professionals information to formulate an individualized treatment program. The three stages of detox include: evaluation, stabilization, and transition. The evaluation stage allows a team of medical professionals to assess the overall health and well being of an individual entering withdrawal. After completing the assessment process and a treatment plan is finalized, the stabilization stage begins. During this stage, individuals are treated for symptoms of withdrawal in order to stabilize their health. Finally, after detox individuals are assisted in gaining further treatment such as counseling, attending a five step program, or an outpatient program.
If you or a loved one would like more information regarding treatment and detox for meth, please contact us at 833-497-3812. Our highly trained staff looks forward to speaking with you and assisting you during this time.