Withdrawal from Meth

Withdrawal from Meth

Last Updated: Fri, January 19, 2024

Meth is a CNS stimulant. This means it causes changes in your central nervous system and brain. Coupled with the fact that one fix of meth is continually absorbed throughout the day and you have a dangerously addictive stimulant. The body and brain can become dependent on the substance very quickly.

When the body does not a have a dose of the drug, it suffers withdrawal. The pain of withdrawal can be excruciating regardless of whether someone has been addicted for a few months or a few years. That said, in general the withdrawal timeline is 31-40 days. Once that milestone has been achieved, the suffering lessens and some familiar function returns. Withdrawal happens as early as one day without the substance and here’s what to expect:

Physical Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal can be especially difficult to handle on your own and it’s why many suggest treatment to get off the drug. The side effects of withdrawal can be life-threatening. The physical side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Seizures

  • Respiratory failure

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Hyperthermia

  • Fever / Chills

  • This is especially dangerous as fevers can reach brain-damaging temperatures.

  • Tremors / Shaking

  • Insomnia or irregular sleep

  • Coma

  • Intense craving for methamphetamines

  • Death

Psychological Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

When you’re recovering from meth, you are truly fighting a battle of mind and body; it feels as though you’re fighting for your life. Part of the reason, treatment by trained professionals is recommended is, even if you know what to expect, when you’re in the throes of withdrawal, it’s almost impossible to think clear-headed. In addition, many of the psychological side effects of meth withdrawal require supervision lest you become a threat to yourself or others. The psychological side effects include:

  • Psychosis

  • Hallucinations

  • Severe depression

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Erratic (often violent) behavior

  • Paranoia

  • Anxiety

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

The range fluctuates depending on how long you’ve been addicted, your current health state, your tolerance, metabolism, and even the method with which methamphetamines was used (i.e. snorting, swallowing, smoking, injecting, etc.). In general however, 30-40 days is the worst of it.

Days 1-3: Methamphetamine withdrawal usually starts within 48 hours of the last dose taken. As a result, the initial 3 days sober are usually representative of deep fatigue. It’s not uncommon for the first 72 hours to be spent in bed. It’s worth noting that this can also lead to dark thoughts and depression.

Days 4-10: The next 6 days are grueling. This is where the intense cravings for meth kick in and sleepless nights occur. The lack of sleep as well as the ongoing withdrawal can cause hallucinations, headaches, paranoia, and overall achiness. There will be violent mood swings and bouts of aggression. It will feel like a do or die situation – the pull to relapse will be overwhelming.

Days 11-30: The remainder of the month is much of the same with some recovering addicts claiming day 11 is when the effects lessened, but many more saying they continued to feel excruciating pain, depression, anxiety, sleepless nights, and the unyielding urge to take meth.

Days 31-onward: After one month of being clean and sober, most meth addicts feel better and do notice some functionality returning. However, even with the increased brain function and decreased pain, many addicts continue to suffer from depression and cravings.

Meth Withdrawal Treatment

It is highly recommended that anyone undergoing methamphetamine withdrawal does so with professional help. The side effects of meth withdrawal can be life threatening, so having a support system as well as experienced professional guidance is paramount.

Numerous rehabilitation centers offer inpatient detoxing, but some even offer outpatient detoxing.


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