Updated on April 1, 2024
3 min read

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal Last?

Methamphetamine, also called meth, is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug. When you quit using, your body feels drained, you crave it a lot, and you experience significant sleep disturbances.

Meth withdrawal is also tough mentally. You might feel depressed, anxious, and irritable. The type and length of these symptoms will vary from person to person and depend on how heavily and how often the drug was used.

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

Quitting meth abruptly will cause your body to adjust to the drug’s absence. Here’s a sample timeline for meth withdrawal:

Initial 24 to 48 Hours (Crash Phase)

Withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as 24 hours after the last dose. This period is often referred to as the "crash" phase.

The following symptoms characterize the crash phase:

  • Intense cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety

Days 3 to 10 (Acute Phase)

The acute withdrawal phase typically lasts from 3 to 10 days. During this time, symptoms may peak and then gradually begin to decrease.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances

Weeks 2 to 3 (Subacute Phase)

After the acute phase, people may enter a subacute phase of withdrawal, which can last an additional 2 to 3 weeks. While the intensity of symptoms generally diminishes, some people may continue to experience mood swings, cravings, and other psychological symptoms.

What are Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)?

Some individuals may experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms, known as PAWS. This can include mood disturbances, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), and cravings.

PAWS symptoms can persist for several weeks to months after cessation.

Factors Influencing Withdrawal Duration and Severity

What you experience during meth withdrawal will depend on different factors, such as:

  • Frequency and Dosage of Use: People who use meth more frequently and in higher doses tend to experience more severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms.
  • Method of Use: The method of meth ingestion (smoking, injection, etc.) can also affect the withdrawal experience.
  • Individual Physiology and Mental Health: Personal health history, including co-occurring mental health disorders, can influence the withdrawal process. Those with underlying mental health issues may experience more intense psychological symptoms.

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How to Cope With Meth Withdrawal

Quitting meth can be incredibly challenging, but with the right support system and resources, you can overcome it.

Some of the methods to help with your recovery include:

  • Medical Detox: This is the safest way to manage the physical and mental discomfort of meth withdrawal. Doctors and staff offer support and resources.
  • Treatment Programs: After detox, entering a treatment program is vital. It helps you get to the root of your addiction and gives you the skills to resist relapse.
  • Behavioral therapy: Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management can help you address underlying psychological factors contributing to addiction.  

Quitting meth is a huge, courageous step. There will be challenges along the way, but recovery is absolutely possible.

If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, please remember that you're not alone. Help is available, and it's the first step toward rebuilding a healthier, happier life.

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Updated on April 1, 2024

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