Methamphetamine Withdrawal: What are the Symptoms?

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Methamphetamine (meth) is one of the most potent and addictive illegal drugs known. It may come in the form of street drugs such as crystal meth or prescription drugs that are illegally obtained. It’s easy to become addicted to methamphetamine, even prescription methamphetamine used as directed. When you stop using methamphetamine, your body goes into severe withdrawal. Meth withdrawal symptoms come on swiftly and strongly, and they’re very uncomfortable.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

A methamphetamine high may last as little as 30 minutes, but the drug remains in your system for up to 12 hours. That’s when withdrawal symptoms will kick in, but they become most noticeable after about 24 hours. Symptoms may be both physical and psychological.

Some common meth withdrawal signs include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of memory
  • Exhaustion
  • Sleeplessness
  • Intense craving for the drug
  • Diarrhea/Constipation

Additional symptoms include:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Breathing problems
  • Sweating/Clammy skin
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable shaking

Detox from meth can be a tremendously difficult experience. The inability to tolerate withdrawal symptoms is a major reason most people need assistance quitting. Professional substance abuse treatment not only helps you manage withdrawal, but also teaches you how to deal with the negative behavioral cycles that influence addiction and learn long-term strategies for staying sober.

The Importance of Detox

Common methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can put even a healthy person in a medically fragile state. If you have heart problems, respiratory conditions, or any other health problems, it’s best to detox under professional medical supervision. Detoxing from meth by yourself can be difficult, and professional support helps you manage the psychological and physical components alike. It’s worth repeating that if you have heart problems or other medical conditions, it’s best to detox under medical supervision.

Some of the more uncommon severe symptoms include visual or auditory hallucinations. These can put you in an altered mental state which may result in self-harm or harm to others. It’s not uncommon for meth users to suffer from extreme anxiety during withdrawal. Once the initial symptoms have run their course, you may experience extreme exhaustion paired with insomnia. This is a nearly intolerable condition that can drive you to use again, just in an effort to feel normal.

Supervised detox allows you to transition to treatment and recovery. During treatment,  you learn about the dysfunctional behaviors and thought patterns of addiction. Your clinicians will also help you learn the long-term skills you need for sustainable recovery.

It’s not uncommon for depression to set in and persist for a long time after completing detox. Long term users may also have a condition called anhedonia, which is the inability to experience pleasure.

After Detox, Treatment Helps

Along with other health problems such as skin lesions and dental problems, anhedonia may cause stress and discomfort long after you stop using. That’s why seeking treatment for meth addiction is so important. Professional counselors, therapists, and peers help you establish healthy routines that support long term sobriety. These routines gradually become your new normal, and your body adapts to life without meth. After treatment, community support through groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) help you stay in recovery. Recovery peers help you through your hard days, and remind you to practice gratitude for the good days.