meth withdrawals wolf creek recovery
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Does the thought of having to endure meth withdrawals stop you from starting the recovery process?

Methamphetamine can be a scary substance to withdraw from given its profound psychological effects. In Arizona, where meth is a top drug threat, the price of the substance decreased by 58% between 2015 and 2019, leading to a 342% increase in methamphetamine seizures. Fatal overdoses involving meth have also risen. Fortunately, it is possible to live a life free from meth.

Wolf Creek Recovery is here to set you on the path to healing. Our staff is also in recovery and will be working alongside you as you build new skills, discover healthy hobbies, and strengthen your relationships. We also know how to have fun in recovery by participating in rewarding activities like pickleball, softball, and disc golf.

Let’s learn more about what meth withdrawal involves, the psychological and physical symptoms, and the timeline to expect.

Meth Withdrawals

Methamphetamine is a substance that acts on the central nervous system. It can be inhaled, smoked, injected, or swallowed. Its effects include increased energy and alertness and decreased appetite, which are felt almost instantaneously but last for many hours. Repeatedly taking methamphetamine can result in tolerance. In an attempt to intensify the effects, some people will take higher doses of meth, or take the substance more often.

Because meth is powerful, its withdrawal effects are, too. This can make the substance very difficult to quit. However, there are ways to make meth withdrawal an easier experience. The fear of this process does not have to stand in your way of making a full recovery.

What Is Meth Withdrawal?

Meth withdrawal refers to the process that occurs when you abruptly stop taking or reduce the use of methamphetamine after you have become dependent on the substance. The body, having adapted to the presence of meth, experiences a wide range of symptoms as it adjusts to functioning without the substance. Meth withdrawal can be challenging and uncomfortable due to the psychological effects that occur. But, with the right support, you can overcome a meth use disorder.

Causes of Meth Withdrawal

When you use meth regularly, it artificially raises dopamine levels in the brain. Over time, the brain relies on meth to maintain elevated dopamine levels, decreasing its own production. This adaptation makes you dependent on meth to feel good and function normally.

Chronic meth use can also cause you to develop tolerance, meaning you need increasingly larger or more frequent doses to achieve the desired effects. If you attempt to quit or cut back, the body experiences a sudden drop in dopamine, causing various withdrawal symptoms. This makes it difficult to regulate your mood, energy levels, and bodily functions.

Dangers of Meth Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal carries significant risks, especially in terms of mental health. The process can be intensely uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous in certain situations. One of the most critical risks during meth withdrawal is severe depression. The sudden drop in dopamine levels after stopping meth use can lead to profound feelings of sadness and emptiness. This depression can be enough to trigger suicidal thoughts or behaviors, making proper support and monitoring crucial.

Using meth in high or frequent doses can also lead to psychotic symptoms during the withdrawal process, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. Other complications that can occur during meth withdrawal are anxiety, agitation, sleep problems, and cravings. To prevent these negative effects, it’s best to detox in a controlled environment with supervision and monitoring.

what is a meth withdrawal

Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal

The symptoms of meth withdrawal can be severe, primarily affecting mental and emotional health. The severity of symptoms depends on how much meth was used, how long it was used for, and individual factors.

Psychological Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal can produce powerful psychological symptoms, which can last for weeks or months. They include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Cravings
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of motivation

Physical Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

The physical effects of meth withdrawal usually peak around day 2 or 3 and last about a week. These effects can vary in intensity depending on the severity of the meth use and individual factors:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Aches and pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

The meth withdrawal timeline can vary from person to person. Below is a general timeline to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • The Crash (24 to 72 hours). The initial phase begins within 24 hours from the last use. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, long periods of sleep, and severe depression. It’s also common to experience irritability and anxiety.
  • Acute Withdrawal (Up to 2-3 weeks). As the crash phase winds down around day 3 or 4, it’s normal to experience ongoing depression, cravings for meth, sleep disturbances, and mood swings. Some people may also experience paranoia or hallucinations. Physical symptoms tend to ease up around this time.
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Known as PAWS, this set of symptoms may begin after the acute phase and last for months. The symptoms are usually less intense but still include mood swings, meth cravings, and depression. PAWS can be unpredictable, with symptoms ebbing and flowing. It’s the brain’s way of correcting the chemical imbalances that have occurred.

When Is Medical Detox Necessary for Meth Withdrawal?

Medical detox is highly beneficial when withdrawing from meth, particularly if you have a severe dependence or are at risk of developing intense withdrawal symptoms. Meth withdrawal can lead to severe psychological symptoms, and medical detox provides a safe space where these symptoms are closely monitored and managed. Supervised detox also provides the necessary support and interventions to help manage cravings and other symptoms. Furthermore, if you have a co-occurring condition, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, it can be managed as well, allowing you to make a full recovery.

symptoms of meth withdrawal

Get Help for Meth Addiction in Prescott, AZ

At this point, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine use disorder are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The recovery process typically starts off with a detox program to purge meth from the body and help you acclimate to functioning without the substance. Counseling addresses the psychological components of meth use disorder and educates you on how to resist temptation, manage cravings, and maintain abstinence. Recovery from meth is an ongoing process, but each step you take in a positive direction gets you closer to living a life free of methamphetamine use.

At Wolf Creek Recovery, we recognize that meth can be a difficult substance to recover from. We also know that it’s possible. Our comprehensive treatment services for methamphetamine use involve behavioral therapies, life skills education, and holistic practices, including outdoor therapy. We empower our clients to thrive in recovery while building a life they love. Start your journey today by calling Wolf Creek Recovery at 833-732-8202

FAQs About Meth Withdrawal

What is meth withdrawal? 

Meth withdrawal is the process that occurs when you abruptly cut back or stop taking methamphetamine when you have become dependent on the substance.

What causes meth withdrawals to happen? 

When the body adapts to having meth in its system, it becomes dependent on it to function normally. If you stop taking the substance, the body has to adjust, creating a range of withdrawal symptoms.

What are symptoms of meth withdrawal?

Psychological symptoms are intense in meth withdrawal, causing severe depression, anxiety, agitation, irritability, psychotic symptoms, and meth cravings. Physical symptoms also occur and include fatigue, sleep problems, and aches and pains.

Are there any medications to help meth withdrawal symptoms?

At this time, no medications have been approved to treat methamphetamine use disorder in itself. However, there are medications and interventions that can treat withdrawal symptoms, such as antidepressants for depression, anti-anxiety medications for anxiety, and sleep medications for insomnia.