Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Crystal methamphetamine—called crystal meth for short—is a highly addictive man-made psychostimulant that affects the nervous system. There is no legal use for it.

On the streets, crystal meth is known by a variety of nicknames including blade, crank, crystal, ice, speed, Tina, and glass. The substance, which can come in an odorless, crystalline powder form or rocks that are either brown, white, pink, or yellow, is made in illegal, secret laboratories that are sometimes located in people’s homes. 

Table of Contents

Smoking it is the most popular way to use it, but users can swallow, snort, or inject it intravenously with a needle. It contains pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in many cold medications, which is regulated by the U.S. government. Crystal meth gives people a quick, euphoric high that elevates their moods and energies. Those who want to increase their alertness or confidence, boost their brain function or enhance their sexual performance turn to the drug, but many will find it hard to turn away once crystal meth addiction sets in.

Need help overcoming crystal meth addiction? Let our experienced addiction treatment experts help! Request a call now!

Need help overcoming crystal meth addiction? Let our experienced addiction treatment experts help! Request a call now!

crystal meth withdrawal

What Are the Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal?

Crystal meth users are at risk of overdose as they seek out and take higher doses to reach the same peaks they did when they first started using the drug. The reason is that once a substance is introduced into the body, it adjusts to functioning with it. When that substance is taken away, it must readjust again to find its balance. Quitting crystal meth abruptly typically brings on uncomfortable symptoms for long-term or frequent users. These crystal meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiac issues (arrhythmia)
  • Increased respiration
  • Numbness
  • Skin issues
  • Excessive sweating
  • Urinary issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Reproductive issues
  • Severe chest pains
  • Weight loss
  • Increased activity
  • Increased alertness
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Delusions, Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disturbances
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Severe dental problems ("meth mouth")

Symptoms such as seizures, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts are life-threatening to the user and others around the person. If you or someone you know uses crystal meth and experiences these symptoms, call 911 for immediate medical help or go to an emergency room or urgent care center for medical attention.

Can Meth Withdrawal Kill You?

Meth floods the brain with dopamine and meth binges can wear down and destroy dopamine receptors. Meth is incredibly addictive, so much so that a high dose can cause dependence after just one use. Dopamine has several functions in the brain, including signaling rewards for desirable activities. This is part of the reason it is so powerfully addictive.

Your brain’s reward center (the limbic system) is responsible for identifying activities that should be repeated—like eating and sleeping—based on dopamine release. Meth use releases a lot more dopamine than normal, so the limbic system tells the brain to repeat it as much as possible.

When you stop meth use, you are shutting down the dopamine-producing effects that your brain has grown used to—but is it deadly? Quitting meth doesn’t typically produce intense physical responses like opioids or alcohol. It’s unlikely that quitting meth would be fatal outright. However, it does cause some intense psychological symptoms. Since meth destroys dopamine receptors, users often lose their ability to feel pleasure outside of meth use and it can take up to two years to regain normal dopamine functions.

People who quit meth often find themselves in a state of deep depression and anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure).

Ready to get help?

Let our treatment experts call you today.

 In some cases, feelings of depression can cause suicidal thoughts or actions. Studies often show that suicide is aleading unnatural cause of death in meth users. While meth withdrawal does not cause physical symptoms that can typically kill people, intense psychological symptoms can be dangerous.

Detoxification in a facility with both medical and psychological expertise can help alleviate some of the negative symptoms of meth withdrawal.

What Are the Stages of the Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline?

Like most drugs, the effects and timeline of crystal meth withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person depending on several factors, including:

  • The person’s age, health, and medical history
  • How long crystal meth has been used
  • How much meth is used
  • The manner in which crystal meth has been used
  • If meth has been used with other drugs
  • This amount of the last dose
  • Co-occurring disorders

However, there are several common symptoms that generally occur on a specific timeline. Here is a general overview of what happens when a crystal meth user stops taking the drug.

Crystal meth withdrawal can begin within the first 24 hours after last use. It can last up to a month or longer depending on the factors listed above. Some factors can last a long time without treatment and some psychological factors need to be addressed by therapists or counselors. If meth was initially used to mask symptoms of a co-occurring disorder, symptoms may return and remain until they are addressed and treated.

1-3 DAYS

Users are in the “crash” phase of the meth withdrawal timeline, which is when they have low energy and limited cognitive functioning. In this stage, users may eat and/or sleep more because they are exhausted. They may also experience emotional highs and lows, including depression and anxiety.

4-10 DAYS

Intense meth cravings make it difficult for users to feel motivated, concentrate, or sleep. They may lack energy and experience headaches as well as other aches and pains. Their appetite may also increase during this period. Frequent crystal meth users may have paranoia, hallucinations, or severe anxiety. Users may also see an increase in appetite.

AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS

Physical withdrawal symptoms may begin to calm down at this stage, but users may still have trouble relaxing or sleeping. Drug cravings may linger as well as psychological symptoms like depression. At this point, users are vulnerable to relapse, so professional drug treatment is recommended to help users avoid a return to crystal meth use.

30 DAYS AND BEYOND

Recovering crystal meth users may finally start to feel a physical recovery as most symptoms fade by this point. However, Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can continue for several more weeks or even months during intermittent, unpredictable periods. These include depression, irritability, short-term memory loss, anxiety, cravings for crystal meth, other drugs and alcohol, and loss of a sex drive. Recovering crystal meth users should consider continuing a treatment program to manage this rough period.

Ready to get help?Let's get started now

Let our treatment experts call you today.

Should I Detox from Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth withdrawal is not life-threatening in many cases, but it can be difficult for users to manage the symptoms on their own, which is why a medically monitored detox is recommended.

Going through crystal meth detox is an uncomfortable process for many as those first few days can be hard on the body, mind, and spirit. Quitting crystal meth abruptly, a practice known as “going cold turkey,” is not recommended. 

Plus, stopping cold turkey is almost always a one-way ticket to relapse as people go back to using to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms they experience. Entering a detox program will help ensure that you or your loved one is kept safe as crystal meth withdrawal runs its course. Through detox, you can rid your body of the drug without the risk of relapse or seizures, which can be deadly.

A 24-hour medically assisted detox ensures your vitals are monitored in a controlled setting as symptoms are managed. There currently are no medications that are specifically for crystal meth withdrawal. However, clients could be given medications to help ease nausea, chills, crystal meth cravings, depression, and other symptoms.

What Is the Next Treatment Step After Crystal Meth Detox?

After going through a medically-supervised detox for crystal meth, the best thing to do next is to go to a residential treatment center. There, you will be able to live in a secure, comfortable, and drug-free environment while working daily with counselors and therapists to get to the root of your addiction. Through therapy, you can address the behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that led you to crystal meth addiction.

Once residential treatment is over (it usually takes 30-90 days), the journey doesn’t end here. Returning home can bring all sorts of new and old triggers and stressors that can lead you straight back into relapse. By participating in outpatient treatment programs, you can continue your therapy sessions and be held accountable for your lasting sobriety.

Start Crystal Meth Withdrawal Treatment Today

Going through crystal meth withdrawal should never be done alone or without medical supervision. As the first step to any successful crystal meth withdrawal treatment program, Maryland House Detox offers comfortable accommodations, caring staff, and a connection to continuing treatment across the nation.

Our 24-hour medically-supervised detox program is the place to go if you or a loved one is suffering from crystal meth addiction. Call us today at (855) 969-8748 to begin your life to sobriety.