Crystal Meth Withdrawal
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Treatment Options
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 1.6 million people or 0.6% of the population reported using methamphetamine within the last year in a 2017 survey. The same study says that the average age of new methamphetamine users was 23.3 years old in 2016. Overall, methamphetamine use affects many individuals within a broad age range each year in the United States.
While the use of methamphetamine, or crystal meth — a common form of the stimulant methamphetamine, is quite addictive, recovery is definitely possible. But, without the proper knowledge of detox methods, meth withdrawal can be dangerous.
Remember, for the safety of yourself or your loved ones struggling with crystal meth addiction, it is always best to seek guidance from trained professionals at a treatment center. Read on to learn more about methamphetamine addiction, crystal meth withdrawal symptoms, and steps you can take when seeking treatment for crystal meth addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal?
Along with being aware of the common signs of meth addiction and the long-term effects of meth use, it is also very important for the safety of anyone struggling with meth addiction to be aware of the common symptoms associated with crystal meth withdrawal.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- Red and itchy eyes
- Mild paranoia
- Excessive sweating
- Increased appetite
- Low energy and fatigue
- Lack of motivation
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased sexual pleasure
- Suicidal thoughts
- Severe depression
Typically, the most intense symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal occur within 24 to 48 hours of the last use of the drug. After the first week of sobriety, most of the intense crystal meth withdrawal symptoms begin to taper off. But the effects of meth use can be experienced for months or even years after using crystal meth. Symptoms like depression and anxiety tend to persist on a long-term basis for individuals maintaining sobriety from crystal meth use.
Another struggle many former meth users deal with is the inability to experience pleasure. This inability to experience pleasure is also known as anhedonia. Essentially, many former meth users experience anhedonia because it can take as long as two years for dopamine levels to return to normal after the last use of the drug.
While there will be struggles during a crystal meth detox, recovery can be achieved and maintained. Ultimately, it is important to understand the symptoms of meth detox and the timeline associated with crystal meth withdrawal because symptoms can be dangerous to an individual’s health and safety. Check out more about the timeline of crystal meth withdrawal below.
What Causes Crystal Meth Withdrawal?
Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms begin as a result of dependence on the drug. The brain and body react to the removal of crystal meth from the system, resulting in withdrawal symptoms.
Severity and length of withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person based on the quantity of meth being used, frequency, and duration.
How Long Does Crystal Meth Withdrawal Take?
The most difficult time and most intense withdrawal symptoms experienced during a crystal meth detox generally occur within the first 24 to 48 hours after the last use of the drug. But withdrawal symptoms can persist for weeks, months, and even years after the last use of the drug.
The following is a common breakdown of a crystal meth withdrawal timeline:
Phase 1: First 48 Hours
As discussed, the first 48 hours are often the most difficult in the timeline of crystal meth withdrawal. This first phase is known as the “crash” period. During this time, individuals will experience intense symptoms of nausea, abdominal cramping, and sweating. Due to this experience, it is essential that individuals are monitored in order to avoid extreme hydration. During this phase, there will also be a sharp decline in an individual’s cognitive, or mental, function and overall energy levels.
Phase 2: Days 3–10
During the second phase in the crystal meth withdrawal timeline, withdrawal symptoms typically reach a peak three to 10 days out from the last use of the drug. An individual may experience severe depression, anxiety, or fatigue symptoms during this time as the body attempts to find equilibrium without meth. Drug cravings will be heightened during this phase, and individuals may experience muscle aches, shaking, or tremors.
Phase 3: Weeks 3–4
In the third phase of a typical crystal meth withdrawal timeline, most of the intense physical withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside during the third to fourth week of crystal meth detox. While the physical symptoms will begin to subside, intense drug cravings will probably continue during this time. Along with intense drug cravings, symptoms of fatigue may linger, and depression may be experienced. So, it is essential to have a support team and detox plan even a month out from the last use of the drug.
Phase 4: One Month+
Finally, after a month without crystal meth use, the fourth phase in the crystal meth detox timeline will be reached. During this final phase, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms have typically subsided. But psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety may be in full effect because the body’s dopamine levels have not had enough time to return to normal functioning. The symptoms of depression and anxiety can last for many months or even years after the last use of the drug. Typically, depression and anxiety are worse for individuals who engage in prolonged use of the drug. Ultimately, phase four in the crystal meth withdrawal timeline is where recovery from addiction truly begins.
How to Safely Manage Crystal Meth Detox
While crystal meth detox is not as dangerous as detoxing from other drugs such as opioids or cocaine, there are still dangers associated with crystal meth withdrawal. One of the biggest concerns associated with crystal meth withdrawal is dehydration. So, it is beneficial to be under medical guidance when dealing with crystal meth withdrawal symptoms and when trying to stay hydrated through a balanced diet. Overall, medical detox is very useful for receiving nutritional and hydration support during the throes of crystal meth withdrawal.
Meth Withdrawal Medication and Treatment Plans
Unfortunately, there are not currently any FDA-approved prescriptions specifically designed to ease the methamphetamine withdrawal process like there are with other drugs such as opioids. So, the most common crystal meth treatment methods for withdrawal symptoms continue to be centered around medical supervision and behavioral interventions.
Common Behavior Interventions and Behavioral Therapies
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Motivational interviewing
Medications That Help Manage Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
While there are not currently any FDA-approved medications to help with the methamphetamine withdrawal process, some prescriptions are given to help prevent short-term physical symptoms like tremors, nausea, and vomiting. Some prescriptions are also given to help with psychological and mood symptoms during recovery from addiction to crystal meth.
Medications used during methamphetamine withdrawal or recovery management are usually selected because they help ease one of the following:
- Damage caused by meth
- Depression, anxiety, or other psychological struggles
- Drug cravings experienced during withdrawal or recovery
The following are some commonly prescribed medications that help ease crystal meth withdrawal symptoms:
- Bupropion: A common antidepressant often used to help individuals quit tobacco.
- Modafinil (mild stimulant properties): A medication that is commonly used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD but can also help ease crystal meth cravings.
- Fluoxetine: A common medication used to help individuals overcome panic attacks and ease the symptoms of anxiety.
Remember, when going through crystal meth withdrawal symptoms, it is always in your best interest to seek help or guidance from trained health professionals at a trusted treatment center.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If you or a loved one are currently struggling with crystal meth addiction, there is hope and a road to recovery waiting to be started at a Zinnia Healing treatment center. At Zinnia Healing, we understand the struggles that come along with drug addiction and recovery. Our qualified and professional staff will be there to help you or a loved one through the difficult process of crystal meth withdrawal.
Our staff is available any time, day or night, to assist you or your loved one through the journey of drug addiction recovery. Begin the path toward recovery today by calling us at (855) 430-9439. Zinnia Healing is open to patients across the United States. We know the first step is often the hardest, but we will be here for you or your loved one every step of the way. The road to sobriety starts here.