Crystal Meth Withdrawal & Detox

Crystal meth is a particular form of the drug methamphetamine (“meth” for short) named for its appearance. The production methods of this substance cause the end product to look like small crystals or shards of glass. These are often heated up to be smoked or dissolved into a solution to be injected directly into one’s veins.

Overview of Crystal Meth Addiction

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can cause a rush of euphoria followed by the other effects of meth, such as high energy and decreased appetite. The rush often only lasts for around 5 minutes to a half-hour at most. However, the other effects may last 6 to 12 hours. To maintain the pleasant effects and prevent the “crash” that follows, in which users may experience opposite effects like fatigue and depression, people tend to take repeated doses. This behavior is referred to as “binging.”

Repeated drug use can result in the user building up a tolerance to the substance. Tolerance occurs when a substance is present in the body enough that the body begins to adjust to it. Users then need higher and higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. Dependence is when a person’s body only functions normally if the drug is present; individuals can become dependent on methamphetamine. When intake of the drug stops, these individuals then experience withdrawal.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal symptoms can be very intense. Though stimulant withdrawal is not as dangerous as withdrawal from some other drugs (such as alcohol or sedatives), it can be very unpleasant and potentially harmful. Cravings may last for 5 weeks or more.

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Cravings.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Fatigue.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Irritability.
  • Paranoia.
  • Decreased motivation.
  • Psychosis.

Psychosis, paranoia, and severe depression are some meth withdrawal symptoms that may be especially dangerous because they can lead to harming oneself or others. Anyone with serious symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

How Long Does Crystal Meth Withdrawal Last?

Meth withdrawal symptoms may last for only a few days or persist for a few weeks. The acute phase may be worst on the second or third day after last use. Some symptoms, such as cravings, sleep problems, and mood swings, may persist another couple weeks. Depression may even last months or a year in severe scenarios.

Many people experience a “crash” when they stop using meth, but not all of these individuals will have a full withdrawal syndrome. A crash may last a few days. Common symptoms include:

  • Increased sleep
  • Irritability
  • Increased appetite
  • Generally feeling anxious, flat, or dissatisfied

Meth, sometimes called crystal meth or ice, is a potent synthetic stimulant chemically similar to amphetamine. It can come in various forms. Crystal meth looks like crystals, shards of glass, or bluish-white shiny rocks.

Most meth in the U.S. is manufactured in Mexico then transported to the US. To restrict meth production in the U.S., pharmacies and other stores are required by law to keep documentation of purchases of pseudoephedrine-containing products and to institute measures to limit sales of those products. Pseudoephedrine is commonly used in the manufacture of meth.

This drug is dangerous and can cause serious physical and mental harm. Meth is very addictive, but it is possible to overcome an addiction to crystal meth. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational incentives, can treat meth addiction.

FAQs about Meth Withdrawal

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