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Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Learn the challenges and symptoms you may experience on the pathway to recovery.

Methamphetamine is a powerful and dangerous stimulant that can cause dependency after just one use. Withdrawal symptoms, including extreme cravings and feelings of depression, can be emotionally and physically intense and even lead to fatalities if not properly treated. Whether you have only recently started using or you have used methamphetamine over many years, recovery is possible.

Common withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression and thoughts of suicide
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • Extreme cravings for methamphetamine
  • Increased appetite
  • Jitteriness
  • Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and other signs of psychosis

Methamphetamine “comedown” versus withdrawal

Once the effects of methamphetamine begin to wear off — 12 to 24 hours after use — a person using it will experience a comedown. Symptoms are similar to those of withdrawal but resemble a hangover from alcohol. If a person does not ingest more of the drug, these symptoms can resolve themselves; however, comedowns can also lead to binges, as many who use the drug will take more methamphetamine to combat comedown symptoms.   

Comedown symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain and weakness

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Timeline

Seeking treatment

Withdrawal from methamphetamine typically lasts a week or two. While this might seem a short amount of time, medical supervision for the process is highly recommended to help someone cope with potential symptoms of psychosis.

Because cravings and feelings of depression can last for several weeks or years after the initial detox, cognitive behavioral therapy can help people manage triggers and keep them safe while in recovery.

Medications:

There isn’t an FDA-approved medication to treat methamphetamine withdrawal. However, some medications can safely help manage the symptoms: Antidepressants and mild stimulants can reduce cravings and help people cope with feelings of depression and trouble sleeping. If a patient experiences delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms, their doctor may administer antipsychotic medications, which take effect immediately.

Life after withdrawal

While most withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamine tend to last only 14 to 20 days, cravings can persist for years after someone has quit using. These cravings can develop suddenly and may catch you off guard, making them difficult to manage. But should a relapse occur, it doesn’t mean you failed. Knowing what to expect and how to manage these cravings will prepare you if a relapse does occur.

Work with a medical professional to diagnose your level of dependency to methamphetamine and create a safe treatment plan that works for you. Recovery is a lifelong process, and there are many resources and communities available to help you stay on that path.