We’ve covered meth addiction on Addictive Addiction, but we felt that it was best to cover meth withdrawal as its own topic. The effects of meth withdrawal are far reaching, and it’s important that you understand them if you’re seeking help.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Meth withdrawal produces very severe effects. This is particularly true for those who have used meth for a long time. Before we begin talking about the withdrawal process, let’s look at a few of the meth withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
• Suicidal thoughts
• Fatigue and lethargy
• Slurred or even incoherent speech patterns
• Agitation or outbursts of anger
• Anxiety and mood swings
• Voracious cravings for more meth
• Strong cravings for food, or sometimes non-food items
These symptoms can continue for a month or more, and in some cases cognitive ability is affected permanently. This includes feelings of anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia.
How Bad is Withdrawal from Meth?
After you discontinue using meth, you’re going to feel both physical and psychological effects. Detoxification can be mildly difficult, or it can be agonizing for a user.
The difficulty of meth withdrawal depends on both the frequency and amount of meth used by the addicted, and on other factors such as body weight and composition. Meth withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person, but it’s important to know what to expect if you or someone you love is going through withdrawal.
The individual user and the amount of drug ingested will play a part in the severity of withdrawal symptoms. But the method of ingestion will often impact symptoms as well.
When a user injects meth, it enters directly into the bloodstream. For this reason, the withdrawal symptoms may be more difficult for a person who injects meth than one who snorts, smokes or takes meth orally.
That having been said, the injection method produces the quickest and most intense high. So those who ingest through other means may require more meth to achieve the same result.
Regardless of the method of ingestion, meth withdrawal is very difficult, and we recommend that a physician or addiction counselor be involved in the process.
Meth Withdrawal Compared to Other Drugs
Meth withdrawal compared to other drugs is impossible. All drugs have a physical effect on the body, and most have a psychological effect as well.
Do understand, however, that meth is a highly addictive drug, and it’s difficult to quit because your brain has convinced your body that it needs the drug for survival. Of course that’s not true, but that’s one of the ways the drug affects your brain.
Every person has a different capacity for addiction. Some cigarette smokers will develop a psychological dependency on cigarettes. Some alcohol abusers will do the same with liquor. But of all drugs, those such as heroin, meth and cocaine cause the most severe physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Meth Overdose Symptoms
Meth overdose symptoms are extremely severe, and are extremely dangerous. When you use meth, you experience an accelerated heart rate, slowed breathing and a raised body temperature. You’ll feel a decrease in hunger and your blood pressure will rise.
When you overdose on meth, these symptoms become lethal. Your heart may speed up to the point of heart attack, or you may suffer a stroke. You’ll have chest pains and severe stomach pain. Seizure is a common meth overdose symptom. In some cases, breathing will slow and ultimately stop.
If you suspect someone is overdosing on methamphetamines, call 911 immediately. If you’re not sure, call the poison control center for guidance.
We briefly covered a bit about what you may experience when you stop using meth. But let’s look at what will happen, specifically.
In the first 24 hours following your last use, there is still meth in your system. As the level of meth decreases, you’re going to feel increasingly tired. You may begin to feel depressed, and lose the will to do any other activity than rest.
After the first day, your symptoms will get much worse. During the next week or so, you’re going to experience the worst of the symptoms. Anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations will be intense. You’ll have extreme mood swings and will be prone to angry outbursts. You’ll crave meth, and you’ll crave food, and those cravings will be insatiable. You’ll also be likely to inflict harm on yourself. It’s common to feel suicidal, and we recommend that you do not go through the withdrawal process on your own.
After this stage, your symptoms will calm down considerably. You’ll still feel depressed and crave the drug, but the physical pain will be much less. During this time you may begin to experience insomnia.
It’s important to note that even though you’ve quit abusing methamphetamines, you’re still likely to suffer some long term effects of the drug. Severe depression may continue, and it’s not unheard of for recovering meth addicts to experience hallucinations well after they’ve quit use of the drug.
How Long Does Meth Stay in your System?
We mentioned that symptoms of meth withdrawal may last for quite some time. But how long does meth stay in your system? Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions about meth.
How Long Does Meth Stay in your Blood?
Meth’s half life is between 5 and 34 hours. After this time, only half of the meth initially ingested is still in your body. It can still be detected in your blood from 2 to 10 days after ingestion.
How Long Does Meth Stay in your Urine?
Meth can be detected in your urine for up to 72 hours. Urine tests are becoming increasingly unpopular with medical professionals and law enforcement for this reason.
How Long Does Meth Stay in your Hair?
Meth can be detected in hair follicles for 90 days or more. There are other ways to test for meth, such as saliva tests. Meth can be detected in saliva for up to 3 days. Certain drugs like Zantac may cause a false positive drug test for meth.
Difference Between Adderall and Meth
We’ve gotten a few questions about the difference between the prescription drug Adderall and methamphetamines. Adderall is commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. At risk of oversimplifying the comparison, meth and Adderall are made of different chemical components. Adderall is safe for medical use because it doesn’t affect the barriers in the brain in the same way that meth will.
What is Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is tooth decay, missing teeth and gum disease in meth abusers. It’s caused by several factors. First, meth users are prone to severe tooth grinding.
Second, meth causes dry mouth. Third, meth users typically have poor oral hygiene. And finally, methamphetamines themselves are acidic, causing tooth damage and rotting teeth.
Meth Withdrawal Help
If you or someone you know is addicted to meth, it’s important that you seek help. It’s possible that an addicted user will be able to withdraw and abstain from meth alone, but it’s not likely. Counseling and treatment centers are available for meth withdrawal help, and these have proven to be very effective in supporting recovering addicts.
Supervision during the withdrawal phase may be advisable, as suicide is not uncommon. After the worst is over, consider a support group for recovering meth addicts.
Overcoming a meth addiction is difficult, even excruciating. If you know someone who is suffering from addiction, please get professional help. It’s also critical to understand that it only takes one use to become addicted.
If you’re addicted to methamphetamines, you have help. Try contacting Crystal Meth Anonymous to join a support group in your area. Call your physician, as some prescriptions have been shown to decrease cravings for the drug. And be sure to enlist the support of your friends and family, who can literally be by your side throughout the process.