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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms: 5 Symptoms to be Aware Of

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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms: 5 Symptoms to be Aware Of

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

January 13, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Methamphetamine, primarily known as meth, is a highly addictive drug. Meth addiction comes with various types of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of meth withdrawal are generally associated with severe physical and mental agitation. If the symptoms are not treated properly, they can permanently harm an individual.

Here are some common meth withdrawal symptoms and genuine ways to deal with them.

Stats About Meth:

Drug overdose fatalities in the US involving stimulants have spread rapidly in recent years. The leading source of these deaths is meth and its derivatives. As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health held from 2015 to 2019, meth use disorders or MUDs have increased fourfold among people aged 18 to 23 years, greatly surpassing senior age groups. 

What is Meth?

Meth is an extremely potent stimulant that’s highly addictive. Originally used as a treatment for obesity, sleep disorders, and other medical issues, methamphetamine fell out of favor rapidly due to its addictive qualities. Desoxyn, an ADHD medication, is the only drug on the market that uses methamphetamine.

Nowadays, most meth consumed in the US is made in massive “superlabs” outside of the US. This meth is very pure and is smuggled into the country. However, some individuals still "cook" methamphetamine in dingy laboratories with over-the-counter medicines and hazardous ingredients.

The most common way includes using pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, common ingredients in flu medications. The poisonous fumes created by the ingredients used make meth production very dangerous. They have the potential to cause mishaps and fires. The result is a white powder with no odor.

Crystal methamphetamine resembles little glass fragments or blue-white boulders. Crystal meth is a smokable form of meth that’s also widely abused.

What are Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?

Meth withdrawal happens when a person stops using meth. Like other drugs, the body quickly gets used to meth being in its system. When a person stops using meth, their body is suddenly thrown out of balance, which is also known as homeostasis. This imbalance creates symptoms known as withdrawal.

However, certain specific factors affect the intensity of these symptoms:

  • Brain chemistry

  • Age and gender

  • Any underlying health conditions

  • Method of administration (snorting, swallowing, or injecting)

  • Quantity of dosage

  • Frequency of consumption

  • Drug potency

  • Prior encounter with withdrawal

  • Background of drug misuse

  • Period of consumption

What are the Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal?

A meth-addicted body will start to show withdrawal symptoms if one stops the dosage. And it will happen within the first 24 hours of the last consumption. The initial phase is generally 2 weeks long.

Here is a list of immediate and long-term symptoms of meth withdrawal:

Acute Symptoms

  • Fatigue

  • Increased appetite

  • Dehydration

  • Intense cravings

  • Muscle spasms

  • Insomnia

  • Dysphoria

  • Anhedonia

  • Anxiety

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Hallucinations

Post-acute Symptoms

  • Depression

  • Psychosis

  • Boosted appetite

  • Strong cravings

  • Sleep deprivation or hypersomnia

Now, let’s look at the 5 most common signs of meth withdrawal.

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5 Most Common Signs of Meth Withdrawal

Signs of meth withdrawal may vary from individual to individual, but there are some specific symptoms that are most frequent.

Here are the 5 most common signs of meth withdrawal:

Insomnia and Hypersomnia

During the meth addiction phase, an individual may feel highly energetic and unable to sleep. During the first week of withdrawal, the individual starts feeling incapable of physical activities, fatigued, and sleep-deprived.

At the end of the first week, the signs of fatigue will be most prominent. Then hypersomnia will take effect, making the individual sleep for 11 to 12 hours.

Meth Cravings

After discontinuing or even lowering the intake of meth, an individual will experience stronger cravings for the substance. This is because the scarcity of meth in the system makes the brain dopamine deficient. A brain habituated with a highly abnormal amount of dopamine will try to regain the balance to feel normal again.

The intensity of the cravings is so strong that it becomes impossible for someone to cope with it without external help, be it from other people or medication.


Psychosis after discontinuation of taking meth varies significantly among individuals due to its mental nature. However, can be divided into three common symptoms:

Disturbing and Puzzling Thoughts

Disturbing, uncontrollable, and puzzling thoughts are one of the main symptoms of meth withdrawal. In addition, one can find the individual speaking constantly in a confused manner.


Hallucinations may include various physical experiences ranging from seeing things to tasting things that are not even there.


People undergoing meth withdrawal can experience delusions, where they will start firmly believing in something false.


Understandably, a person going through all of these symptoms is under a lot of stress. Unfortunately, all the stress accumulates, but does not get any way out, and causes the person to suffer severe anxiety disorder.

In most cases, getting out of the loop of distress, mental or physical, becomes impossible without professional help.


A continual lack of interest in daily activities, mood swings, and manic episodes are the signs of depression as well as meth withdrawal. It takes 3 weeks to regain normalcy from depression and drug addiction for most people, but for some, it can continue further.

How Does Meth Work?

Meth floods the brain with excessive dopamine, a hormone on which feelings of accomplishment, victory, concentration, motivation, bliss, euphoria, etc., depend. The substance stimulates such feelings in the brain and reinforces it to crave the substance and makes it depend on it.

People can take meth by smoking, swallowing, injecting, and inhaling. However, the "high" from a dose does not last very long, so many people take frequent doses compromising their eating and sleep cycle.

What are the Effects of Meth Abuse?

Meth abuse and meth addiction generally come with both instant and long-term effects on the human body.

The immediate effects are:

  • Physical vigor and wakefulness

  • Faster heartbeats

  • Faster breathing

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Increased body heat

  • Decreased appetite

  • The Long Term Effects are:

  • Hallucinations

  • Paranoia

  • Memory loss

  • Skin sore

  • Weight loss

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Confusion

  • Brain damage

Meth abuse and mental health are closely related. A prolonged phase of meth addiction may permanently affect the individual's mind and body. However, for any patient, a proper meth abuse treatment will surely help to regain the semblances of everyday life.

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What is the Duration and Severity of Meth Withdrawal?

The duration and severity of the symptoms of meth withdrawal depend on individual circumstances. For instance, the symptoms may vary if an individual is “binging and crashing” or he or she is someone who takes a limited amount of meth daily for an indefinite period.

Let’s look at how long meth withdrawal lasts with the help of this timeline:

Days 1-2

The most challenging meth withdrawal phase, known as the "crash", happens within 24 hours of not using the drug. During this phase, an individual is the most vulnerable. A decline in usual mental functions and physical strength is coupled with strong bouts of abdominal cramps and nausea.

Additionally, a patient detoxing from meth must stay under surveillance due to the risk of overhydration.

Days 3-14

Days 3 to 14 are the time when the symptoms of meth withdrawal peak. It is the time when anxiety and depression kick in completely. The body fails to meet the abnormal dopamine deprivation, and the mind cannot find a single way to satiate it.

It is the phase where complete fatigue makes the individual completely burned out, and physical symptoms of muscle spasms appear.

Days 14-30

Now, it is time for most of the physical symptoms to fade away gradually. However, some individuals can still feel powerful meth cravings.

Physical fatigue and signs of depression will continue to persist during this stage.

30 Days and More

After a month, in most cases, significant bodily symptoms completely go away. If the individual stays under the proper supervision of a caregiver and does not relapse, their recovery is almost complete.

However, stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms may still linger and continue for some months.

One can decrease the torment in these phases depending on the individual’s situation and resources for relief.

Why Do People Go Through Meth Withdrawal?

Meth addiction develops rapidly, especially if a person regularly uses meth. Many meth users develop a tolerance to meth, which means they have to take larger and larger amounts of meth to feel the same effects. This is why many people start using meth habitually.

Physical reliance arises when a person consumes methamphetamine to the point where the body believes it requires the drug to keep working efficiently. As an outcome, if a methamphetamine addict abruptly discontinues or reduces their substance consumption, they may experience meth symptoms of withdrawal.

Once this occurs, it drives the meth abuse cycle. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, an individual feels the need to continue their consumption.

Meth withdrawal happens due to sudden brain modifications arising from constant meth intake, mainly in the brain's reward circuit. When a person consumes meth, their mind generates excessive quantities of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasurable reward and motivation. 

When an individual takes meth routinely and adapts to the dopamine release meth use causes, their pleasure centers are compromised. This causes issues in achieving satisfaction from regular life, such as pursuing a hobby, eating good food, sexual activities, and working out. This reduced happiness effect could increase their need to continue using the medication.

Methamphetamine users are frequently unable to find satisfaction in anything besides their daily dose of meth.

What Can One Do to Get Relief?

People facing symptoms of meth withdrawal can better cope with the phases if they open up and seek help from a trusted family member or someone they can rely on.

A caregiver in this situation could provide help by:

Making More Time for Them

Taking care in the initial phases of meth withdrawal is crucial for many reasons. First, the caregiver can alter their daily routine and, if needed, cancel or postpone some of their engagements to make extra time for their loved ones.

Letting Them Be Comfortable

In times of suffering, everyone needs someone to provide care and comfort.

It can be little things, like preparing a hot bath, keeping the environment peaceful, tidying up their room, cooking a nutritious meal, ensuring that they stay hydrated, and so on, that can make a big difference.

Being Prepared to See the Worst of Them

The caregiver must also keep in mind that the person they knew might not be the same while suffering meth withdrawal.

The process of detoxification is hard both on their bodies and their minds. So, staying prepared for it will give a caregiver the opportunity to provide the necessary comfort.

Being Patient

Overall, patience is the thing that will ultimately let the caregiver see positive changes. They must remember that all the symptoms will eventually fade, and the care they are providing will make the recovery process easier.

However, taking sole responsibility for a patient suffering meth withdrawal can have adverse effects. It is always best to seek professional help in these situations.

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How do Professionals Treat Meth Withdrawal?

Caregivers have to remember that meth addiction is a chronic disease. One cannot hope to just endure the withdrawal symptoms to cure the disease completely. One might need both medicinal support and meth abuse counseling to recover completely.

Any effective drug abuse treatment program should have some principles at its core. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Addiction affects brain function and physical health, and it is treatable.

  • Implementation of treatment in the early stages is more effective.

  • Effective treatment not only treats the symptoms but the whole person.

  • Medication plays a vital role in the treatment with behavioral counseling.

  • An effective treatment should address dual diagnosis.

A professional meth abuse treatment center will guide the patient through five phases of a principle-based treatment program to achieve complete recovery from meth withdrawal symptoms.

The five phases of treatment are:


The first stage of rehab for meth addiction involves monitoring the patient’s vital signs while providing necessary medication and counseling. This process continues until the patient is at ease without meth inside the system.


The next stage carries the treatment forward with a residential surrounding. It intends to acclimatize the patient to a homely environment.

This phase helps the patient to get further control over their cravings. This stage allows an individual to recover free from any triggers, negative influences, and social stigmas.

Partial Hospitalization (PHP)

A partial hospitalization (PHP) stage means that an individual can stay at his home or a sober living home while continuing the treatment. In this stage, a patient will participate in group therapy and one-on-one counseling sessions. These sessions are for an individual to gain self-knowledge, a better understanding of addiction, and what recovery means for them.

The PHP phase provides a safe space for an individual to talk and learn about issues they are facing while recovering. It enables them to transition to a freer phase of treatment.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

A patient is prepared for independent living at this stage. An individual will participate in therapy sessions that are concentrated on a long-term view of recovery.

In this phase the emphasis is on relapse prevention, learning life skills, and developing new meaningful and healthy relationships.

Patients can participate in their other obligations such as school or work while continuing treatment in the intensive outpatient (IOP) phase.

Outpatient (OP)

When an individual reaches this stage, it means that they have recovered completely and are suitable for living independently.

In the outpatient (OP) stage, an individual needs to attend the facility for not more than a couple of hours.

Getting relief from meth withdrawal or addiction demands serious attention, both from the suffering individual and the caregiver. With the right professional help, one can not only cure the disease but uncover their inner superhero and live the best life possible.

What are the Dangers of Meth Withdrawal?

Detoxing at home, using a so-called “detox kit,” or taking the “cold turkey” approach are all terrible ideas for detoxing from any drug. At best, it’s likely to be unsuccessful – as we’ve said, withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. At worst, meth withdrawal can be dangerous, with potential medical complications like dehydration and suicidal ideation.

If you or a close one is under the influence of meth and wishes to cease their consumption, it’s always best to talk to an addiction center. They can guide you on the best path of treatment, help you find meth detox, and more.

Medicine Administration in Meth Withdrawal

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized pharmaceuticals to address meth addiction or withdrawal. However, if a person undergoes medically supervised detox, they could be given additional drugs to treat side effects like migraines or sleeplessness that might occur during withdrawal.

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Can Medication Help with Meth Withdrawal?

Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs for treating meth withdrawal. However, some meth withdrawal symptoms can be treated with medications. Prescription medications can help a person deal with the psychological issues meth withdrawal causes – as well as treat any underlying co-occurring disorders that may be driving meth addiction. This combination is known as a dual diagnosis.

That said, there are some common prescription medications used during meth withdrawal:


This prescription medication helps people treat their anxiety and avoid panic attacks brought on by meth withdrawal.


This is an antidepressant used to help people quit smoking. The good news is it also helps people stop using meth.


This is a stimulant drug that is used to treat ADHD – but it can also act as a bridge between meth addiction and sobriety.

Risks and Outcomes of Meth Withdrawal

The most serious hazards of meth removal include possibly severe despair and suicidal ideation, which may contribute to acts of suicide and self-harm. Practical evaluation, assistance, and supervision are required to assist people in efficiently navigating these hazards and remaining safe.

In addition, variables including medical concerns, psychological disorders, and multiple substance use, can exacerbate methamphetamine abstinence.

Individuals can effectively detox from methamphetamine and return from an addiction or meth habit with the right treatment. Following detox, it is frequently necessary to continue participating in an aftercare program to assist people in acquiring innovative abilities, avoiding relapse, and strengthening their recovery. 

How is Meth Addiction Treated?

Several psychological treatments utilized to assist a person in conquering their methamphetamine addiction include:

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a therapy strategy that is especially effective in coping with the uncertainty that leads to risky conduct. This scientifically proven strategy boosts a person's conviction in their ability to change their behavior effectively. It aids people with SUD in examining their inner desire to change and begin to make a difference.

MI is designed to be a rapid procedure and may thus be effective in distant primary care areas where access to professionals may be limited.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT was originally prescribed to treat depression, but it is now used to treat a broad spectrum of substance use disorders, especially in treating stimulant addiction. CBT teaches clients how and when to notice problematic behaviors and signs of drug addiction and how to develop impulse control. The effects of CBT have been shown to endure long after the counseling sessions.

Various medical authorities recognize CBT as a scientifically proven treatment for various substance and alcohol addiction disorders. 

12-Step Groups

A 12-step program is a short, systematic process that includes psychological, emotional, and cognitive components. Alcoholics Anonymous developed and popularized the 12-step method, a 12-step strategy for overcoming addiction. The primary idea behind this method is that while people can help each other achieve and sustain sobriety from substance misuse, recovery cannot occur until people with dependencies submit to a higher authority.

Ensuring a patient gets enough nourishment and physical activity during detoxification and all phases of treatment is crucial for keeping them healthy as they recover.

What is The Difference Between Meth Addiction and Dependence?

Meth reliance is a physiological response of the human system in which the body grows so accustomed to methamphetamine that discontinuation signs appear when a person reduces or quits consumption. In simple terms, the body believes it requires methamphetamine to operate physiologically. Without meth, dependency may result in high impulses and obsessive intake to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Substance use disorder (SUD), or addiction, is the obsessive, unrestrained consumption of meth/ Addiction includes bodily changes (like dependency) and detrimental habits that affect all aspects of a person's life. In addition, addiction causes brain alterations that affect a person's desire, inspiration, mental process, and actions to such an extent that meth usage gets preferred above everything else.

Get Treatment for Meth Addiction at The Forge Recovery Center

The Forge Recovery Center provides expert, evidence-based treatment for meth addiction. With us, we'll provide you with the tools for building a life free from meth addiction. Our compassionate staff will be your partners on the road to recovery.

Don't risk a meth overdose. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more about our programs for meth addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can it take for an individual to overcome meth addiction?

Generally, it takes 2 to 5 years of hard work and commitment to completely overcome drug addiction. The duration can depend on various factors like how deep the people into meth addiction were, how well they are treated to get out of it, etc.

What are the stages of meth addiction?

There are generally 7 stages to any addiction, namely - Initial use, Abuse, Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction, and Relapse.

What are the primary risk factors for meth addiction?

The primary factors for meth addiction include - Peer pressure, Family history, Mental health disorder, and Lack of familial attachment.

Is addiction always treatable?

Addiction is a treatable disease. Be it meth addiction or anything else, it can be treated if the addicted individual or the people close to him takes initiative and seeks to change the condition.

What is the primary cause of relapse?

Stress is the primary reason why people revert back to substance abuse. Everyone recovering from addiction is bound to face a lot of stress throughout the process. So, they should figure out safer ways to avoid and manage stress.

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