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Methamphetamine Withdrawal | Psychological & Physiological Symptoms

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Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can have severe psychological and physiological effects on the body when an individual tries to quit using it. Withdrawal from meth is a difficult and often uncomfortable process, as the body and brain have to readjust to functioning without the drug. 

In this article, we will explore the psychological and physiological symptoms of meth withdrawal, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. 

Additionally, we will discuss the importance of seeking professional treatment for meth addiction and the role of therapy and medication in helping individuals overcome withdrawal symptoms and achieve long-term recovery.

What is Methamphetamine used for?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is primarily used recreationally. It can be consumed in various forms such as a powder, pill, or crystal, and is commonly referred to as “meth” or “crystal meth.” 

It can also be prescribed by a healthcare professional in some countries, such as the United States, for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. However, the medical use of methamphetamine is limited due to its high potential for abuse and the severe side effects it can cause.

What is Methamphetamine withdrawal?

Methamphetamine withdrawal is the process by which an individual who has been using methamphetamine regularly stops or reduces their use of the drug. It is characterized by a range of psychological and physiological symptoms that can occur as the body and brain readjust to functioning without the drug. 

The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the individual, the amount and duration of drug use, the history of a methamphetamine overdose, and the presence of any co-occurring mental or physical health conditions.

Is it common to have Methamphetamine withdrawal? 

Yes, it is common to experience withdrawal symptoms when getting off methamphetamine, a powerful and highly addictive stimulant drug. When someone who is dependent on meth stops using the drug, their body and brain must readjust to functioning without it. 

This process can cause a variety of uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, as the brain struggles to restore its normal balance of chemicals and functions. Additionally, because of the intense euphoria and energy that meth provides, the comedown can be severe. 

So, it’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the drug and the individual’s brain chemistry returns to its normal state.

Symptoms of Methamphetamine Withdrawal:

Since methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug, regular use of meth can lead to physical and psychological dependence, and stopping use can result in withdrawal symptoms. 

Understanding the symptoms of meth withdrawal can help individuals who are struggling with addiction to the drug, as well as their loved ones, to recognize when help is needed and where to turn for support.

Psychological symptoms

Psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Depression: Methamphetamine increases the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which are responsible for feelings of pleasure and well-being. When meth use stops, the brain can take some time to restore its normal balance of chemicals, leading to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression.
  • Anxiety: Withdrawal from meth can also cause feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. These symptoms can be intense and can make it difficult for an individual to feel comfortable in social situations or to relax.
  • Fatigue: Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that can keep users awake for days or even weeks at a time. When use stops, the body’s energy levels can drop dramatically, leading to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue.

Physiological symptoms

Physiological symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Appetite loss: Methamphetamine suppresses the appetite, and withdrawal can lead to a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite.
  • Insomnia: Regular use of meth can disrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia. Withdrawal can lead to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when the body is physically exhausted.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Methamphetamine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Withdrawal can cause these vital signs to remain elevated, putting an individual at risk for heart problems.
  • Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting: Withdrawal from meth can cause stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.

How to manage Methamphetamine withdrawal? 

Withdrawal from methamphetamines can be dangerous and it’s important to seek professional help to safely detox. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense and can last for several weeks. 

Medical professionals can provide the necessary support and guidance to help an individual through the withdrawal process and provide the best chance for a successful recovery.

It’s also important to note that withdrawal is just the first step on a long road to recovery. It’s essential to follow up with behavioral therapy and other forms of addiction treatment to address the underlying issues that led to the addiction in the first place.

How long can Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms last? 

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when an individual stops using it. The length of time that withdrawal symptoms last can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of the last dose and can last for several weeks or longer. 

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Timeline

Depending on the individual, their medical history, and dependence, the withdrawal timeline for meth can differ, but generally, it can be broken down into two stages… acute and protracted withdrawal. 

Acute Withdrawal Phase

Acute withdrawal symptoms, including dysphoria, anxiety, and agitation, typically peak shortly after the last use and can last for 7-10 days. Cravings are a common symptom during this stage. 

In some cases, acute withdrawal symptoms may persist for up to 2 weeks after the last use. The acute withdrawal stage may also include symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations and paranoia.

Protracted Withdrawal Phase

Protracted withdrawal symptoms are a continuation of the acute symptoms, but they tend to be milder and more stable. They usually last an additional 2-3 weeks after the acute withdrawal stage has ended. 

During this stage, individuals may experience symptoms such as depression, insomnia, and anhedonia (loss of pleasure). They may also experience fatigue, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating. Some individuals may also experience physical symptoms such as increased appetite and weight gain.

Some individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms for a much longer period of time than others. Additionally, it’s important to seek professional help when trying to withdraw from meth, as the withdrawal process can be dangerous and difficult to manage alone hence, often leading to relapse.

Methamphetamine Detoxification  

Methamphetamine detoxification, or meth detox, is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of the drug in a safe and controlled environment. This process is typically the first step in the recovery process for individuals struggling with meth addiction. 

Detox can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience, as the body goes through withdrawal symptoms as it adjusts to the absence of the drug.

What is safe to ingest during Methamphetamine detox?

During methamphetamine detox, it is generally considered safe to ingest a balanced and nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources. Adequate hydration is also important, and drinking water and other fluids can help to flush toxins from the body and alleviate some of the symptoms of withdrawal.

It’s also important to avoid consuming substances that can be harmful or trigger cravings during detox. This may include other drugs or alcohol, as well as high-sugar or high-fat foods.

In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend certain supplements or medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and support the detox process. These may include vitamins, minerals, or amino acids that help to support overall health and well-being during this difficult time.

What you should avoid during Methamphetamine detox?

During methamphetamine detox, it’s important to avoid certain things to ensure the detox process goes smoothly and to minimize the risk of relapse. Some things to avoid during meth detox include:

  • Consuming other drugs or alcohol: These substances can be harmful and can trigger cravings for meth, making it more difficult to overcome addiction.
  • High-sugar or high-fat foods: These foods can increase cravings and make the detox process more difficult. Also, highly processed foods can cause inflammation in your body hence triggering withdrawal symptoms.
  • Skipping meals: Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar levels, which can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and make it more difficult to stay on track with detox.
  • Isolation: Withdrawal from meth can be a difficult and lonely process, It’s important to maintain social support and stay connected with loved ones during detox.
  • Not seeking medical assistance: Withdrawal from meth can be dangerous and difficult to manage alone. It’s important to seek professional help and guidance during detox to ensure a safe and comfortable experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s detox experience is unique and individualized. Seeking the guidance of a medical professional is crucial to ensure a safe detox process and to help address the specific needs of each person.

Bottom Line: Managing Methamphetamine Withdrawal

In conclusion, Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be severe and can cause both psychological and physiological issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. With the right support, individuals can successfully detox and begin the journey toward recovery.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.