Meth Withdrawal and Detox Treatment

Methamphetamine, known simply as meth or crystal meth, is a potent nervous system stimulant that is dangerously addictive. This physical dependence can make it difficult to fully and safely stop using meth. Methamphetamine withdrawal can be extremely distressing and is often difficult to overcome without medical detox treatment.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from methamphetamine can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms. The severity of withdrawal can differ according to individual factors such as height, weight, duration of meth use, dosage, and history of substance abuse. Though withdrawal can differ from one person to another, some common symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Anhedonia
  • Brain fog
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Cravings

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

The duration of meth withdrawal can be affected by the same individual factors that also influence symptom severity, making it difficult to estimate an exact timeline. However, withdrawal typically begins around 24 hours after the last dose. Severe symptoms, known as acute withdrawal symptoms, often peak 2-3 days after last use and may persist for several days to a week. In some individuals, this period can last up to two weeks.

Milder symptoms can last for several weeks, also known as protracted withdrawal. These symptoms may include more manageable cravings and mood swings. Even after acute withdrawal, protracted withdrawal symptoms may make it difficult to resist cravings without professional help.

Why Does Meth Withdrawal Occur?

The body can be incredibly adaptive and learn to function despite the continued use of toxic substances like meth. With repeated use, the body can actually become accustomed to methamphetamine. Over time, the amount of meth considered necessary for “normal” functioning may increase, slowly changing the chemical makeup of the central nervous system.

When meth use is suddenly discontinued or drastically reduced, it causes a chemical imbalance. Suddenly, the high level of certain pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin drops, causing many of the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. Since continued meth use can reduce these unpleasant symptoms, withdrawal reinforces meth use. Breaking this cycle might require professional intervention and continuous supervision.

Meth Addiction vs. Meth Dependence

Though these terms are often used interchangeably, meth addiction is a clinical classification whereas meth dependence refers to a physical process which is important in diagnosing addiction. It refers to the physiological adaptation to meth that takes place when the substance is used regularly. Meth dependence is what underlies withdrawal symptoms when an individual stops using meth.

Meth addiction is a clinical definition that refers to continued compulsive use of meth despite the harm it causes to one’s life. Addiction more broadly encompasses physical symptoms including dependence but also behavioral and emotional symptoms that may result from problematic drug use. Since meth dependence creates a physiological need for the substance, it makes addiction to meth much more likely.

Can you experience withdrawal after using meth only once?
Withdrawal typically occurs when meth use is habitual, and chemical changes have occurred in the nervous system that result in withdrawal symptoms when the substance is reduced. That doesn’t mean that using meth only once is safe. Any meth use can increase the likelihood of repeated use, which can therefore lead to withdrawal.
Are there medications for meth dependence?

Some medications can be helpful to reduce substance abuse by replacing the illicit drug with something that can help alleviate the effects of chemical imbalance in the brain without causing the drug’s dangerous high. However, no such medications are approved for treating meth specifically.

Nonetheless, some medications can help alleviate symptoms of meth withdrawal to make the process easier. These include antidepressants such as Wellbutrin or Prozac. Drugs that treat insomnia or daytime sleepiness can also be useful in treating meth withdrawal. These medications should only be taken under the recommendation and supervision of a physician, which underscores the need for medical detox.

What is the safest way to detox from meth?
Meth withdrawal can be uncomfortable and distressing. Depression and depressive symptoms are common in individuals suffering from meth withdrawal, putting them at risk for suicidal ideation or self-harm. Therefore, the safest way to detox from meth is medically supervised detox. During medical detox, individuals are observed around the clock to ensure that they are comfortable and treated to reduce symptoms of withdrawal.
How can you avoid relapsing after detoxing from meth?
Though relapse is often part of the ongoing process of substance abuse treatment, it may be more difficult to avoid relapsing without additional help. Detox alone is not sufficient to maintain long-term recovery. Factors that may have contributed to addiction in the first place may increase the likelihood of relapse. The best way to avoid relapsing is to enter a substance addiction treatment program. This can help provide coping and relapse-prevention skills as well as identify psychological triggers and other mental health issues that influence meth use.
Meth Withdrawal Detox Treatment

Detoxification is the process of eliminating a substance from the body. Though you can undergo detox at home, this is not recommended because withdrawal symptoms can cause complications and without medical supervision, relapse is more likely. Medically supervised detox from meth is an inpatient treatment that typically represents the first stage of a substance addiction program.

Meth withdrawal detox can help:

  • Monitor vitals for severe withdrawal symptoms and health risks
  • Alleviate withdrawal symptoms through supervised medication treatment
  • Provide an environment of support away from a potentially enabling home environment
  • Prepare individuals for longer addiction treatment

Comprehensive addiction treatment begins with detox and progresses to inpatient and eventually outpatient rehab. During rehab, individuals learn adaptive strategies that can prevent relapse including stress-management skills and other life skills. Additionally, rehab is designed to provide psychiatric treatment that may uncover and treat triggers and issues that lead to addiction. This is done through one-on-one behavioral therapies including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can replace unhealthy or maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving that affect addiction.
  • Contingency management therapy, which makes use of positive reinforcement to reward desirable behavior like passing a drug test.
Medical Withdrawal Detox at Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

At Riverwalk Ranch, we offer meth withdrawal detox as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, our professionals can provide you with 24-hour nursing care to help you safely and comfortably detox as you journey toward recovery. Our facilities provide an encouraging and safe haven to detox, surrounded by medical professionals, addiction specialists, and other like-minded individuals all working toward a healthier drug-free life.

If you or a loved one is suffering from meth withdrawal, don’t hesitate to contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you call Texas home or you’re looking for a fresh start in a new environment, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a therapeutic and supportive home for you to detox. We are committed to helping you overcome meth withdrawal by providing medical and psychological support during the detox period.

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