What Occurs During the Detox and Withdrawal Timeline for Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that usually comes in a white powder form, and is smoked or snorted. Methamphetamine was formerly a legal medication and was used during WWII so soldiers could stay awake and focus during intense combat. Methamphetamine was also used during the mid-1960s to treat obesity and narcolepsy.

Today, prescription amphetamines such as Adderall and Ritalin are very similar to methamphetamine, but they aren’t as addictive and do not come with as many adverse side-effects. Crystal meth is an illegal version of methamphetamine powder, and the drug looks like small ice shards or crystals, which gives it its street name. This version of methamphetamine is highly toxic, addictive, and comes with a range of severe short and long-term side effects.

The average age of first-use for methamphetamine users is 23, and an estimated half a million people in the U.S. struggle with a methamphetamine addiction. The chemicals used to make and process methamphetamine are highly corrosive and toxic. Without outside intervention, users are at extreme risk of developing long-term, dangerous health conditions from meth addiction, overdose, and death.

Any time a person introduces a substance into their body, they will develop a tolerance level to the drug. To get the same desired effect each time they use the drug, people will take ever-increasing amounts of it to get the same level of euphoria, or high. In many cases, the body develops a physical and sometimes emotional dependence on the substance. When someone stops taking the drug or cuts back on their consumption, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Methamphetamine creates an intense high, where the intensity peaks soon after smoking the drug and then begins to subside within about a half hour. However, the user will experience lingering side effects from an extreme methamphetamine high. To prolong a high, people will binge meth, and continuously smoke the substance. This is incredibly dangerous and very harsh on the body. The more a person uses meth, the more difficult the withdrawal and detox timeline will be.

These symptoms can vary significantly in intensity and duration. The nature of the symptoms themselves will also differ depending on what a person is addicted to, and how long they’ve been addicted. Methamphetamine withdrawals are especially intense and distressing. Getting assistance from a team of caring professionals during the methamphetamine detox and withdrawal process can lessen symptom severity and increase cessation and sobriety success rates.

What happens during methamphetamine withdrawal and detox?

The physical symptoms present during methamphetamine withdrawal will peak within a week after a person last uses the drug. After that, physical symptoms start to subside and are usually gone within two to three weeks. However, mental withdrawal symptoms can last for months after cessation. It can be challenging for people in recovery from methamphetamine addiction to avoid relapse without outside intervention.

The detox process is the part of addiction recovery where the body is given a chance to expel and process of the drug from its system. Methamphetamine is created using a broad range of different, highly toxic chemicals so the detox process for meth can be incredibly harsh. The symptoms for methamphetamine withdrawal include the following:

  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Aches and pains
  • Clammy skin
  • Hyperventilation and irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble regulating appetite
  • Cognitive and memory issues

Studies on people in recovery for methamphetamine have also found that long-term users of meth can experience paranoia, nervousness, and anxiety during the detox process. In some severe cases, detox can lead to hallucinations and psychosis. Some users may also go on to develop an episode of depression after quitting meth.

Are withdrawal and detox from meth dangerous?

In some cases, withdrawal and detox from meth can lead to dangerous situations. Users who experience psychosis may be a danger to themselves or others, and depression greatly increases the chances of self-harm and suicidal behavior.

Why is professional help necessary for methamphetamine withdrawal and detox?

Methamphetamine withdrawal and detox are incredibly intense, harsh, and distressing. When most people attempt to quit taking a drug, they are usually optimistic and determined to get their life back on track. The problem is that drug withdrawals are painful and they can also make a person panic and think they might die if they don’t take a little bit of the substance. When a person is already distressed and also having intense cravings for a drug, it’s all too common for a user to relapse back into drug addiction, and the process will start all over again.

But, going to a medical detox center for professional assistance can lessen the severity of the withdrawal and detox timeline. Plus, it keeps users away from areas and people where they can easily access the drug to alleviate symptoms. In a medical detox center, patients can take safe medications to lessen the severity of methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms, instead of retaking crystal meth and preventing their body from healing itself.

What is the best way to cope with methamphetamine withdrawal and detox?

Going to a rehabilitation center, and detoxing from substances with the help of trained professionals is the safest, and also the most comfortable way to overcome an addiction. Medical detox and rehab centers offer patients access to medical staff and counselors 24-7, and they are kept away from harmful, outside influences which may tempt them to start retaking meth when they are in a vulnerable and painful position. In rehab, patients are also given access to safe medications to lessen the severity of symptoms, and if they do experience psychosis, trained medical staff are there to keep them safe from harm.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, there is hope. Attending a detox and rehab center, staffed by trained professionals, can make the recovery process less painful and scary. Please contact Mission Harbor Behavioral Health today. Representatives are standing by to assist and answer any questions you may have about addiction treatment and the withdrawal process.

The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.

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