The methamphetamine epidemic has reached critical mass around the country, and now the scourge of methamphetamine addiction can be seen on almost every city street, in our towns and suburbs, and even in what previously were idyllic rural sanctuaries. The incredible potency of meth leads to a near-instant dependency once the chemical reaches the brain.
Even if the initial use can be stopped, the following crash that users new and old feel when stopping after a period of use can last days, with the symptoms of withdrawal setting in soon after the end of the initial effects. These withdrawal symptoms can be devastating and painful and are often the reason that the user begins using again. They use to stop the symptoms, which reinforces the dependency, making future withdrawals worse, and the cycle just keeps repeating.
Often, by the time many users admit they have an issue and try to stop using meth, they experience withdrawal symptoms that are too severe or intense to try to tackle by themselves. In many cases, this is where friends, family, and professional guidance can be most effective at supporting their recovery.
Side-Effects of Meth
Methamphetamine is a complex drug that affects individual users in a variety of ways, and the withdrawal symptoms can turn out to be just as diverse. Often highly dependent on the frequency of use, and the duration of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms can range in severity from mild to incredibly serious.
Those who favor injectable forms of meth will find that their withdrawals will be much more intense and last for a far longer time than other forms of use. This can be exacerbated if the user was using other substances at the same time, also known as polysubstance abuse disorder.
Common withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Return of appetite
- Increased agitation
- Disrupted sleep & insomnia
- Excessive sweating
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Red eyes, often itchy
- Severe levels of depression
- Suicidal thoughts
Remember that many users will not experience many of these symptoms. While most will experience at least one, and a few will experience many, the intensity of the symptoms will also vary based on the use history profile. If there has been heavy use for an extended period, it may be wise to work with medical supervision while going through meth detox.
Meth Detox Withdrawal Timeline
The exact nature of the withdrawal timeline will vary between each recovering individual, but the peak of the acute phase is usually between 48 and 72 hours following the last use. This phase will only last about a week, but the mental side effects can last for months or more.
If the person in recovery was a heavy meth user or used meth for an extended period, there will likely be an incredible amount of chemical dependency in effect. This means that it may be a wise choice to consult with treatment professionals before beginning detox. Sometimes it may be necessary to detox under medical supervision to ensure the safety of the recovering individual.
The First 48 Hours Of Meth Detox
This is usually known as the “crash” and will occur within the first day that the use stops. During the first 24 to 48 hours, the recovering individual will feel a sudden loss of energy and cognitive function. This fatigue and brain fog can also be accompanied by nausea, abdominal cramping, and uncontrollable sweating.
Days 3 Through 10
This is the peak of many physically painful or debilitating withdrawal symptoms, while the body and brain begin to function without meth again. During the adjustment, those in recovery will often experience crippling depression, anxiety, and extreme fatigue. There will be some people who will also experience shaking or tremors, and lingering aches, in addition to intense cravings for meth.
Days 14 Through 20
The withdrawal symptoms generally last 2 to 3 weeks, so this should be the point when symptoms and their remaining severity taper off and eventually subside. It is worth noting that the intense cravings that the recovering individual feel for meth can persist for quite some time, as can the continuing fatigue and depression.
One Month And Beyond
At the one-month mark, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms should be done, and any that remain should taper off over time. The ones that will linger the longest are going to be the psychological effects and lasting neurochemical balance issues. Feelings of severe depression and anxiety can last for many months after the initial meth detox before they begin to fade away.
If the person seeking recovery has a history of heavy use, it is highly recommended that help through medical supervision or a treatment center to assist with detox is utilized. In fact, some rehab/detox centers will be able to provide a treatment plan that is tailored to meet the individual’s unique needs.
How to Get Help With Meth Detox
Many meth users are initially very hesitant to go through the detox process. This is often due to shame, guilt, or a sense of having failed their family and friends. However, when family and friends reach out and let the person seeking recovery know that they have a support network, it can often be the difference between another failed attempt at sobriety, and a final and lasting recovery effort.
If you or someone you know is thinking about going through a meth detox, it is important that they know they are not alone, and that help is available from several sources if they want it. If they decide to go through with a meth detox, they should be aware of the greatly increased chances of recovery success when working closely with a professional treatment center.
Not only will an experienced treatment facility be able to provide the recovering individual with a safe detox environment, but they can also help formulate a treatment plan going forward. This can increase the chances of long-term recovery significantly.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to meth, the time to get help and safely detox is now. Reach out to a premier detox center that can be the help, support, and guidance you need to start your recovery on solid ground, so that you can walk out the rest of your life drug-free.