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What is Meth Withdrawal Like?

The abuse of methamphetamine remains a wide-spread problem. Statistics collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed the scope of the problem in the United States: in 2012, there were over 440,000 past-month meth users. Giving up meth isn’t easy because not only is it physically and mentally addictive, but it also has many harsh symptoms of meth withdrawal to get through when stopping.

3 Minute Read | Published Sep 20 2023 | Updated Mar 10 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by

What are Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

To better understand meth withdrawal symptoms, we will look at what causes them and what a person going through detox can expect.

What Cause Meth Withdrawal?

Symptoms of meth withdrawal, like other drug withdrawal symptoms, occur because of how a person’s body responds to drug use. Drug use is not natural; therefore, the body begins to counteract the presence of a substance like meth by altering its own function. This counter-balance that the body creates is also at the heart of withdrawal symptoms. Meth withdrawal is a result of the body trying to go back to normal function after being impeded by meth abuse.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

A person may become aware that there are withdrawal symptoms from binge or regular use of meth. However, because of how addiction affects the brain, such symptoms do not usually deter substance abuse. While withdrawal from meth is not usually considered life-threatening, a person’s health can have a negative impact on detox. Detoxifying from a severe addiction to meth and in situations where there are prior health concerns should be done under medical supervision at a rehab.

Withdrawal from meth usually has to following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations, which can be problematic in patients with heart conditions
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension
  • Heavy sweating
  • Tremors and shakiness in the body
  • Sleep disturbances
  • An intense craving for meth
  • Severe depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite

Generally, the biggest concern in withdrawal is the heavily depressed state the person experiences. This usually causes a person to experience suicidal thoughts and the person should therefore be kept under close watch to ensure that no harm comes to them.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

The meth half-life is relatively short, lasting around 10 hours. The meth withdrawal symptoms timeline usually begins around 24 hours after stopping, showing signs of many of the common withdrawal symptoms. The peak in the timeline happens within the first week of stopping. Since many of the symptoms are heavily focus on their mental health, symptoms such as depression can last for several weeks; however, most patients show improvement within about 14 to 20 days.

Benefits of a Medical Detox

The symptoms that people go through in the withdrawal from meth can make it difficult to remain clean. The cravings that are experienced are intense and it can even cause a dedicated and determined individual to falter and relapse.

Thankfully, there are medications that can help a person overcome the symptoms. These medications are given in a medical detox at a rehab center. Medications include buproprion, primarily used to counteract the depression, and naltrexone to help in maintaining abstinence from meth use. While still under study, dextroamphetamine, buproprion, naltrexone and rivastigmine are some of the medications that are also used to reduce the cravings in a person going through withdrawal from meth.

Since a medical detox is not a cure for addiction, it is easy for a person going through a medical detox at a rehab center to continue the therapy that is required to beat their meth addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at (800) 429-7690.


bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)(2020)
"Methamphetamine DrugFacts"
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bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2019).
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bullet Shoptaw, S., & Rawson, R. A. (2003)
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bullet Cruickshank, C. C., Dyer, K. R., & Giesbrecht, H. E. (2008)
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