Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth or simply “meth,” is an addictive, illicit drug. Detoxification, or detox, is the first step toward overcoming meth addiction.
Meth detox can be an uncomfortable process physically and psychologically, due to withdrawal. Withdrawal is a set of symptoms that can develop as a result of chronic and frequent meth use.
After detox, beginning a drug abuse rehab program for meth addiction is strongly recommended. This can help prevent relapse and provide tools for maintaining long-term recovery.
Who Needs Meth Detox?
Meth detox is a type of drug treatment program. Detox programs offer treatment for drug withdrawal symptoms that can develop as a result of meth dependence.
Signs of meth dependence include:
- feeling the need to use meth very often
- taking higher doses of meth over time
- constantly thinking about meth
- craving meth
- feeling sick if you go more than a few hours without meth
Physical dependence on meth can become more severe the longer you use it and can cause the body to go through withdrawal with any attempt to go longer than a few hours without.
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Side Effects And Withdrawal Symptoms During Meth Detox
Meth withdrawal can begin within hours of a person’s last use of the drug, and can be worse for people who are coming off a “binge”.
Withdrawal can be physically uncomfortable and can also affect a person’s mental health and general state of mind.
Meth withdrawal symptoms may include:
- low energy
- red, itchy eyes
- increased appetite
- sleep difficulties
- vivid dreams
- lack of motivation
Cravings for meth can also be strong during this time. Without clinical support, this can put a person at risk for relapsing to meth, which can perpetuate a dangerous cycle of addiction.
Timeline For Meth Detox
Meth is a highly addictive and short-acting drug that moves through the body fast. Because of this, people addicted to meth may begin to experience withdrawal very quickly, within hours.
Day 1: Withdrawal symptoms generally begin to develop within 24 hours of your last use of meth. At this time, cravings for meth and other depressive symptoms may kick in.
Days 2-5: Withdrawal symptoms will intensify over the first couple days. Psychosis and intense drug cravings may develop. Most severe symptoms decline or disappear completely by day five.
Days 5+: Some long-term effects of meth use, and lingering symptoms of withdrawal such as depression, may persist for some time after acute detoxification.
Protracted Withdrawal After Meth Detox
Protracted withdrawal is a period of withdrawal that can occur after the acute detox period in which a person may continue to experience depression, anxiety, and strong cravings for meth.
Protracted withdrawal from stimulants, such as meth and cocaine, can last for one to two months. People who used meth for years may experience this for longer.
Is Meth Detox Dangerous?
Detoxing from meth can cause symptoms capable of putting both the person detoxing and others in danger, due to symptoms of psychosis that can develop.
Primary dangers of meth detox include:
- drug relapse
- accidental overdose
- increased risk for suicide
Within a detox center or an inpatient facility, these risks can be effectively managed, as long as symptoms of meth withdrawal are properly identified and treated.
Risk Factors For Severe Withdrawal During Meth Detox
Using meth once, or a couple of times, is unlikely to lead to severe withdrawal. People with certain biological, physiological, and other personal risk factors may be at higher risk.
Risk factors for severe withdrawal can include:
- long history of meth use
- regularly using excessive amounts of meth
- going on meth binges
- use of other addictive substances (e.g. opioids, cocaine, alcohol)
- having co-occurring mental illness
- poor overall health
- detoxing without medical support
Within a drug abuse rehab program, individuals can be clinically assessed by an addiction treatment team, and receive a treatment plan to help them begin their journey toward recovery.
Meth Detox Programs
Getting sober from meth can begin either in a medical detox facility, or an inpatient treatment center that offers medically supervised detox services for methamphetamine dependence.
What a meth detox program can offer:
- 24/7 medical supervision
- medicine for severe withdrawal
- a meth-free environment to get sober
- a quiet and supportive setting
- referral for additional addiction treatment
Detox is only the first step on the road to recovery. Experts strongly recommend that individuals formerly addicted to meth be regularly monitored for the first few months after getting sober.
Meth Detox FAQs
Find answers to some of the most common questions asked about methamphetamine detox and withdrawal.
❓ What Does Meth Detox Feel Like?
✔️ Coming off a meth binge, or trying to quit meth cold-turkey, can be very physically uncomfortable. You may feel physically sick, tired, restless, and depressed.
Most physical symptoms of withdrawal generally last no longer than five days. Cravings for meth, as well as difficulty sleeping and depression, may continue for some time.
❓ Can You Detox From Meth At Home?
✔️ Attempting to detox from meth at home isn’t recommended. This carries a high risk for relapse and overdose, due to reduced tolerance for meth after detox.
Most home environments can’t offer the support system necessary to treat severe withdrawal from meth, or to prevent relapse shortly after detoxing.
❓ What Kind Of Treatment Is Used For Meth Detox?
✔️ Meth withdrawal syndrome is generally managed through supportive care in a medically supervised setting, such as a detox center or inpatient rehab facility.
Treatment offered during meth detox may include:
- fluid support (i.e. IV therapy)
- behavioral management strategies
- medicine for psychosis or agitation
- multivitamin supplements
- follow-up treatment for addiction
Achieving recovery from meth is a multi-step process.
Healing from meth addiction may require both medical and psychological treatment, as well as support services for issues such as mental illness, legal trouble, or homelessness.
Find A Meth Detox Program Today
Overcoming an addiction to meth is possible. If you or a loved one is addicted to meth and needs help getting sober, we may be able to help.
Call our free and confidential helpline today to connect with a specialist who can find available detoxification and substance abuse treatment options capable of meeting your needs.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Methamphetamine DrugFacts
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Methamphetamine Research Report
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Withdrawal Management - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Withdrawal symptoms in abstinent methamphetamine-dependent subjects