Meth Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Detox Treatment

Meth is a dangerous illicit drug that causes immediate and long-term harm to your health and well-being. People who use meth must seek professional, comprehensive substance abuse treatment to stop using the drug and learn how to avoid relapse for the rest of their lives.

Detoxing from meth can be incredibly challenging. Meth withdrawal can cause disturbing physical and psychological symptoms that require medical support.

Knowing what to expect during treatment can help you stay motivated when things feel challenging. This guide will explore what is likely to happen during meth detox, which is the first stage of recovery. For more information about the meth withdrawal timeline or starting treatment, reach out to the specialists at Arise Treatment Center today.




What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a potent, illicit stimulant drug. It is a synthetic drug people make in unregulated labs. The production of methamphetamine requires dangerous, toxic chemicals.

Crystal meth is a form of the drug named for its glass or crystal-like appearance. It comes in fragments that resemble shiny shards of glass or bluish-white rocks.

Meth works by increasing the activity of your central nervous system (CNS). Meth is highly addictive. People typically ingest meth by smoking, snorting, or injecting it.

The effects of meth are similar to other stimulants like cocaine. Short-term effects of meth use include:


Short term effects of meth use


  • Increased physical activity
  • Fast breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite

Using meth for an extended period can lead to significant long-term health effects, including:


Long term effects of meth use


  • Addiction
  • Extreme weight loss and malnutrition
  • Severe dental issues
  • Skin problems
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Sleep issues
  • Violent or aggressive behaviors
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Meth use can permanently alter the function and structure of your brain. People who use meth are also at risk of a deadly overdose. You must seek treatment as quickly as possible if you use meth.

Meth Abuse and Addiction

Because methamphetamine is an illicit drug, all meth use is considered drug abuse or misuse. When taking the drug, meth users experience a brief but powerful “high” soon followed by a crash. The effects of meth are short-lived, causing people to take frequent doses to maintain the desired effects. Users may binge on meth, taking the drug every few hours for days at a time.

Methamphetamine increases a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is involved in motivation, pleasure, and body movement. Drugs that increase dopamine are highly addictive because they motivate users to take the drug again and again.

Addiction is defined as a loss of control over your drug use, even when you experience significant, even life-threatening consequences. Addiction is a complex condition that affects a person’s mental and physical health, behaviors, and emotions. People who use meth or other addictive drugs become focused on getting and using it at the expense of everything else.

Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal

Over time, the body adapts to the presence of meth and will begin to depend on it. If someone who uses meth suddenly stops, they will likely develop withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can cause people to start using meth again.

People often experience acute symptoms for a period and then slowly begin to improve. However, some people develop prolonged withdrawal symptoms that can last several weeks or longer.

Acute symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Low energy
  • Weight gain
  • Extreme irritability
  • Depression with the potential for suicidal thoughts
  • Chills
  • Insomnia for some time, then too much sleep
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Intense cravings

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Drug cravings
  • Loss of pleasure in enjoyable activities
  • Fatigue
  • Too much sleep
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Psychosis

It is incredibly difficult to stop using meth without professional support. People who attempt to stop using meth “cold turkey” will likely relapse.

Understanding the Meth Withdrawal Timeline

People who use meth more frequently, take it in higher doses, or have been addicted to it for long periods of time are more likely to have severe, longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms. While many personal factors, such as mental and physical health and extent of substance use, can affect your meth withdrawal timeline, many people experience symptoms around the same time during the detox process.

Here is a typical meth withdrawal timeline.


Meth Withdrawal


24 hours

Within 24 hours of your last dose, withdrawal symptoms will likely begin. Acute symptoms like depression, anxiety, chills, and cravings may be intense and uncomfortable at first.

Week one

Acute symptoms may peak during the first week but begin to improve toward the end of the week.

Week two

Acute symptoms may begin to improve significantly around day 10, although some people continue to experience cravings into the second week.

Week three and beyond

Protracted withdrawal symptoms may linger for another few weeks. Symptoms during this stage are typically much milder and easier to manage.

Knowing what to expect at each stage of the meth withdrawal timeline may help you stay motivated when detox is challenging. Remember that symptoms usually get better in time, and seek professional support to stay as comfortable as possible during detox.

Treatment for Meth Withdrawal

Managing meth withdrawal means treating the symptoms of withdrawal and preventing early relapses. A medically supported detox program is often the first step of a substance abuse treatment program.

In a medically supported detox program, people receive treatments, supervision, and support that allows them to have a safe, complete detox. Meth detox programs usually include:

  • A structured routine
  • Round-the-clock support and monitoring
  • Distance from triggering people, places, and situations
  • Nutrition support
  • Medications to manage physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental health treatment
  • Holistic therapies to support healing

After a complete detox, people must move on to a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes education, therapy, medical care, and aftercare planning that will help them avoid relapse for life.

Get Help For Meth Abuse and Addiction

At Arise Treatment Center, our meth addiction program offers an individualized, adaptable approach to meth addiction recovery. If you or a loved one require medically supported detox to manage the symptoms of meth withdrawal, reach out to the caring team at Arise Treatment Center now to explore your treatment options.


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