Like with the majority of drugs, when people who use crystal meth abruptly stop using the drug they will go through a withdrawal process. For many users, the methamphetamine withdrawal process can be the scariest part of seeking treatment. Depending on how long the person has been using crystal meth, and in what quantities, the severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary. Becoming educated on what the crystal meth withdrawal effects looks like and how it is treated may help you convince a loved one to get the help they need and begin a life of long-term sobriety.
How Crystal Meth Effects the Body
To understand crystal meth withdrawal, it’s initially important to learn how crystal meth affects the body.
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine, which as was mentioned previously, is a stimulant drug that acts on the body’s central nervous system. Many crystal meth users ingest the drug by melting down the crystalline substance and smoking it out of a glass pipe. Some users, however, may snort, swallow, or inject the drug directly into their veins. When a user ingests crystal meth, the brain releases a surge of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, which create a sense of euphoria and increase the user’s energy, levels of sociability, and alertness.
The effects of crystal meth are intense and fairly immediate, typically beginning within 5-20 minutes after ingesting the drug, and last for a long time. Depending on the dose taken, crystal meth users may feel the effects of the drug anywhere from four to twelve hours after they have initially ingested it. This long-lasting high is one of the reasons users tend to be drawn to crystal meth.
Although crystal meth creates a euphoric feeling for the user, there are other changes in the body that occur while using the drug. In the short term, meth can have several effects on the body, including:
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Heavy sweating
- High body temperature
- Increased blood pressure and breathing rates
- Jaw clenching
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea, and/or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Over time, meth can cause even more detrimental changes to the body. For instance, long-term meth users may begin to experience hallucinations due to changes in their brain chemistry. A common hallucination reported by crystal users is the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin (also known as “meth mites”), which cause the user to scratch and pick at their skin. Crystal meth users also tend to clench their jaws and grind their teeth, which in combination with decreased saliva production due to chronic dehydration, can contribute to what many people call “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is a term attached to chronic meth users who suffer from severe tooth and gum decay. A crystal meth user presenting with blackened, rotting, broken, or missing teeth and gum disease would be described as having “meth mouth”. Some other effects or dangers of long-term crystal meth use can include:
- Decreased learning ability
- Extreme weight loss (due to decreased appetite)
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Intense mood swings
- Irregular heartbeats
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss or gaps
- Stroke (from damaged blood vessels in the brain)
- Violent behavior
Crystal Meth Comedown
When the effects of crystal meth start to wear off, the user will typically start to experience what is known as a “comedown”. A comedown is different than withdrawal (although there are some similarities) and can be viewed more like a hangover. However, due to the way crystal meth affects the body, the symptoms of a comedown are typically far more severe than a hangover from alcohol. When an individual experiences a comedown from crystal meth, the user will usually experience a severe “crash” (both physically and mentally) and may experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
These comedown symptoms occur due to exhaustion from overexertion of the body while using meth, lack of food and water consumption while high, neurotransmitters being imbalanced in the brain, and toxic chemicals being metabolized in the body.
Symptoms of a crystal meth comedown include:
- Decreased appetite
- Headache (usually from dehydration)
- Lack of motivation
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain (particularly in the jaw from jaw clenching)
- Suicidal thoughts
Because comedown symptoms can be severe and uncomfortable, many crystal meth users ingest more of the drug to avoid these symptoms. This can lead to a drug binge. For crystal meth users, meth binges are specifically referred to as “tweaking”.
Tweaking occurs when a crystal meth user binges on the drug in attempts to keep recreating that initial feeling of euphoria. Over time, however, ingesting the drug does not recreate the desired effects, yet the user may still experience other effects of the drug such as decreased appetite, high energy, elevated body temperature, dehydration, jaw clenching, and sleeplessness. While tweaking, the crystal meth user may not sleep for a period of 3-15 days. Due to this lack of sleep, the user can enter a state of temporary psychosis. In this place, the crystal meth user may become aggressive or violent and suffer from intense paranoia or hallucinations.
Withdrawing from Crystal Meth
Although crystal meth withdrawal can be uncomfortable, in the majority of cases, the symptoms themselves are non-life-threatening. The exception here is if the affected individual is experiencing extreme emotional instability or depression and engages in self-harm. Some crystal meth users are able to withdraw from meth at home. However, because crystal meth withdrawal is typically accompanied by intense cravings for the drug, crystal meth users may have greater success in the withdrawal process if monitored or assisted by medical professionals. If your loved one is withdrawing from crystal meth and is suffering from depression, psychosis, or any other mental health condition, withdrawal should always be done under the care of medical professionals and addiction specialists.
In addition to intense cravings, depression, and suicidal ideation or thoughts, other symptoms of crystal meth withdrawal may include:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Inability to feel pleasure (also called anhedonia)
- Night terrors
- Increased appetite
- Slowed brain cognition
- Repetitive movements or jitters (finger or foot tapping, pacing).
- Psychosis (typically hallucinations or delusions)
The intensity of these withdrawal symptoms can vary based on how long the person has been using meth, the amount they typically ingested, and their overall physical and mental health.
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Crystal meth is a fast-acting drug, meaning its effects are felt quickly after consumption. The amount of time the drug stays in the system, however, depends on several factors, including:
- How much crystal meth the individual has most recently used and how much the individual normally uses (Higher quantities of crystal meth will take longer to leave the body).
- Whether or not the individual is also using other drugs or alcohol (Additional drugs or alcohol may slow the release of crystal meth from the body).
- Weight, age, and metabolism of the individual (Individuals who are younger, weigh less, and have faster metabolisms tend to metabolize the drug more quickly)
Because these factors all affect how long crystal meth stays in the body, they also affect how quickly the individual will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms once they completely stop using.
In general, however, many crystal meth users will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours after stopping the drug. Once users enter into withdrawal, studies have shown that most people experience the most intense withdrawal symptoms in the first 7-10 days. Withdrawal symptoms, particularly cravings and depressive-behavior, tend to be most intense at the beginning of the withdrawal period and then steadily decrease over time. Symptoms of withdrawal may be felt for up to a month after abstaining from crystal meth. After the initial withdrawal period, however, any remaining withdrawal symptoms tend to be more mild.
Treatment for Crystal Meth Withdrawal
Many crystal meth users fear the withdrawal process because they’re concerned that coming off the drug may be fatal. Luckily, as mentioned previously, crystal meth withdrawal is rarely life-threatening. It can, however, be uncomfortable and cravings for the drug can be intense in the initial withdrawal period.
Consequently, although it is possible to withdraw from crystal meth in a home environment, many crystal meth users may have more success and feel more at ease going through withdrawal in a medically managed treatment center or hospital. In these environments, individuals will experience withdrawal under medical supervision, meaning doctors and other addiction specialists can supervise individuals in case any complications occur.
In medically managed detox facilities, doctors may also be able to provide medication to help ease crystal meth withdrawal symptoms. Like all medication, these need to be tailored to suit the individual’s personal needs. However, most medications prescribed to counter the withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth aim to:
- Manage depressive symptoms
- Reduce crystal meth cravings
- Help individuals obtain a regular sleep pattern
For many crystal meth users, withdrawal is just the first step in the recovery process. Most people find they need ongoing treatment, typically either in an inpatient or outpatient program, where they can work with addiction specialists and medical professionals to get to the root of their addiction and learn how to live life without the need for drugs or alcohol. To learn more about ongoing treatment for crystal meth addiction or discover what steps you can take to begin the recovery process for either yourself or a loved one, contact Nexus today. Our trusted recovery advisors are here to answer your questions so you or a loved one can start living a life of long-term sobriety.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 866.838.1976 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.
I am a short term user, (3 day binge last week) and I began having sever hallucinations beginning when I started to slow down my intake on the last day of my binge. How long with these hallucinations last?
Hallucinations, no matter the origin, are always a very serious symptom that should be addressed by medical professionals immediately. I would recommend to anyone experiencing ongoing hallucinations following the ingestion of methamphetamine or any other drug for that matter, to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department and let them know exactly what they are experiencing now, and details of behaviors leading up to the hallucinations.
Hello I only used twice in my life this time I went all out. Now it’s been almost a week. When I look around it feels like I am light headed and my eyes are high. Or better yet feels like iam high on weed. How long will the effect like this last? I have ADHD and this is more annoying then anything. Any help is welcomed.
I am sorry to hear that you are still having residual effects. It is always a good idea to see your primary care physician or stop into an urgent care or emergency room near you. To address your question about how long this will last, it is based on many variables and must be looked at case by case by a medical professional and therefore we are not able to answer that specifically. If have any questions regarding substance abuse treatment options please feel free to reach out to us. Wish you all the best.
Hello my 17 year old son is going through meth withdrawal, going on 6 weeks now. He says he used daily for about two years and was eating it.. My question is, Should he still be having nausea and vomiting?
Hi i need help this my 2 time usiing crystal but this time i uses alchol and smoke weed i being feeling sick for 5 days already what can i do
I have stopped injecting crystal meth and be sober and clean for 2 yrs, but i cant get rid of the overwhelming feeling of things crawling on my skin and hair. I am at a breaking point where i dont know what to do . will this sensation ever go away
Hello, I am advocating on behalf of an acquaintance who asked for my help as I work in the mental health field and am not afraid to provide my email in hopes of getting some ideas to pass along to her. So here goes nothing. Any suggestions for SHORT TERM, IMMEDIATE tasks or things one can do to provide ANY relief/reduction/acceleration of “come down” symptoms for someone just ending a 24 hour binge? Please only those types of suggestions as she is providing a very temporary (1 day) safe place (her home) for her close friend until the individual’s family arrives to care for and get him to a treatment facility. Thanks in advance for your help.
Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, our number one recommendation to those struggling with withdrawal symptoms is to seek the help of a medical professional whether that be by visiting the emergency room or dialing 911. You can never be 100% sure what someone has been using or how their body may react so it is important to seek the help of professionals. Treatment resources can be found by calling SAMHSA at 800-662-HELP or online at https://www.samhsa.gov/. We wish her and her family the best of luck on the next phase of her journey.
I was hoping only to get a bit of information on a tongue-in-cheek type level about specific symptoms when someone has stopped injecting meth.
Specifically numbness and pain in hands and wrists, and an all over body ache pain feeling that were similar to having the flu. Thank you for any and all bits of information you can provide for me please spare me the go-to treatment talk as I am already scheduled to WD enter a residential treatment program in 2 weeks.
Glad to hear you are entering treatment soon. Hopefully, you will be meeting with medical professionals there who can help answer all of your questions. Best of luck with this process.
I’m having a tremor right now. My body feels a chills. And i think this is also anl side effect of my short term using. I hope that it could be treated. What are the possible ways to treat my condition?
We highly recommend that you visit the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care facility to be checked out by a trained medical professional. They should also be able to provide resources for addiction treatment if indicated. Hope you feel better soon.
I haven’t used in 3 days I’m a short-term user I’ve been using for a few months snoring everyday but I still feel dizzy and my head in my eyes how long does it usually last
I have been doing Meth straight for 75 days. Is that considered long term or short term? How severe are my detox symptoms going to be. I have noticed in just 20 hours I have very short temper and severely angery.
We highly recommend that you visit the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care. Tell them all of your symptoms and be honest about the meth use, and any other substances, including alcohol, that you have been using. Get checked out medically and let the professionals there make referrals for you.
Is it safe to take a sleeping pill when coming down from meth use?
We cannot provide medical advice. We urge you to be honest and consult with a medical professional who is trained in addiction medicine with any and all medical related questions. Best of luck.
I have been doing merch since I was 16 now 35 I want stop but I don’t know how
It is so great you are looking to recover. It is always a good idea to see your primary care physician or stop into an urgent care facility or emergency room near you. Having an assessment by an addiction professional can help you find the level of care to best suit your needs. Do not go through this alone. For addiction treatment resources in your area visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or give us a call.
Hello im a long time user..going a yesr and half..i sleep eat and function normal..but im scared of the withdrawls..what should i do and how to put this drug behind me.
Recovery is possible! Wanting to stop is a step in the right direction! You do not have to recover on your own. The support of professionals trained in addiction and other people who are recovering from similar addictions are essential. It is always a good idea to see your primary care physician or stop into an urgent care facility or emergency room near you. For addiction treatment resources in your area visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or give us a call.
I keep coming down for two to 5 days and then the aching in my jaw and the horrible depression always get me going back. I had pretty much been high every day for 10 or 13 years. I want to go to a residential treatment but I don’t have money and can’t burden my family any more.
For treatment centers in your area, and help with placement at your price range, we suggest contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration (SAMHSA) online at https://www.samhsa.gov/ or give their treatment helpline a call at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357). Hope you find a program that can meet your needs.
I got a question.
Been using daily with unlimited availability.
Outta last 6 months.
Was only not wasted
for about 3 hrs couple
times a day !
I am thinking it is gonna b bad. With that amount daily, am a bit worried!
I only started using 6 months ago. And had some let’s just call them “trips” visual and auditory.
I know I should go with detox center.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Detox is often the first step in recovery for many. Getting an assessment by an addiction professional and a medical professional can help ensure that you get the help you need. For resources in your area visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline. Wishing you all the best.
I did meth once for less than 24 hours. Then stopped. It’s now been 8 days and I have severe brain fog. My mind won’t clear up I feel dehydrated no matter how much I drink and I feel nauseous. I don’t know how to get back to normal. I do know I’ll never do meth again in my life!
Never doing meth again is a great start. However, it is always a good idea to see your primary care physician or stop into an urgent care or emergency room near you. Hope you feel better soon.
Hey… Hope this finds you. Former user … The hallucinations would happen when I was absolutely exhausted but unable to fall asleep and restless… It goes away…. At a price… Don’t use Meth … Trust me.
I have been using meth once a week for 2 years….how intense are the withdrawal symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms vary in severity from person to person. It is always a good idea to see your primary care physician or stop into an urgent care or emergency room near you. Addiction treatment programs may be a helpful solution for long term recovery. For resources in your area please visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.
I haven’t used meth since the first week of November. However my girlfriend notices i mumble and can be jittery,/twitchy. Is this common after four months with no use? If so how long will this behavior remain?
Any prolonged symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional. When you visit this professional whether it be a primary care physician, urgent care, or emergency room be sure and be honest and fully disclose your current and past alcohol and other drug use.
Hello, I did meth one for a few hours, then stop, haven’t don’t it in over 2 years when I did it also once.
Since it was just for a few hours, what to expect?
I have been addicted to methamphetamine going on 12 years in that time I never have gone more than 72 hours without using meth….how can I quit using I’m tired of living my life dependent on meth….and no I’m not considering suicide…please help
We recommend you get an assessment with an addiction treatment professional for starters. These professionals can then help you find a substance abuse treatment program, if indicated and guide you in finding the right level of care. Addiction is not a disease that can be treated on your own. Support of addiction professionals and a recovery community are extremely important to lasting recovery. For resources in your area visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline. Best of luck.
I tried meth for the first time last night, after working a 13 hour day. I stayed awake after the first little line, and was insisted to just stay awake the whole night, even though I had to work another 13 hour day. I did roughly 10 little lines. It did not hit me until I became more active – jittery, cotton mouth, nausea/butterflies in my stomach, rapid heart beat leading to hyperventilating, body shakes and chills. It was suggested to me to force myself to vomit to quite down the symptoms. Well, 3 hours later and I’m still puking. I’ve tried taking volume to reverse the affect of the meth, but it only got me a couple hours of sleep. More than 12 hours later after my last line, I am still very anxious, very nauseous, and shaking. Is this normal?! Because my side effects are nothing like I was told they would be. I’m not “speeding”. I’m sick. Please advise. This is completely out of my norm and comfort zone to do something like this. If I snort more, will I feel better? But if these are signs that I am coming down, I will not, because this is the worst mistake and regret of my entire life.
These symptoms are serious. Should you find yourself in a similar situation in the future go directly to an emergency room or emergency care facility. If you have any questions about substance abuse treatment, please feel free to reach out to us.
I stopped using meth after a 6 month binge 12 days ago. I used a small amount yesterday because I’m so tired of feeling fatigued! I know the longer I abstain the better I will feel. I have struggled a couple different times in the past 15 years with meth. This time was the least amount of time. I’ve made it through the excessive eating and sleeping days. And I’m not craving it a whole lot.
Itsthe weakness that seems to stay. Is there ways I can help the dopamine chemical reuptake or is it irreversible?? The damage is done? I’ve been to treatments so I know the tool, just need to continuously use them in my daily life. But even they dont help with the extreme fatigue.
You should go see your primary care physician for a full check up as you don’t know if your lack of energy is due to withdrawal or something else. Research tells us that exercise, meditation, healthy diet, and healthy sleep habits all contribute to recovery and brain health. Wish you all the best.
I was given meth at 54 y/o. By my trusted therapist of 10 years. That began to quick and painful cycle as his abuses and the ruin of my family, loss of my teaching career. Have Been devastating I have been to a combination of 3 different treatment centers? Including Betty Ford for three times over 140 days. I’m On IOp in my towns local treatment center.now. And still had another relapse again sbout two weeks ago when I was in treatmentbtro weeks ago. They had us identify onna timeline the episodes of grief and loss we had. There was no closure. I went home feeding like hell. I didn’t realize it until after I got high agsin. . I wasn’t using that day or night and only became of the trigger AFTE R I’d used some. I used from January 4,2018 to Dec 13, 2018. Then came the 17th relapse I’ve had since that January. I have spoken to therapists who agree with me that this man caused the destruction of my life. We are toxic, intensely attracted to each other. We Smoked meth constantly, every hour from January to August when he went to treatment. Once he was gone I felt comfortable going to treatment myself . My most recent relapse I was obsessed with him, we had a one night stand on Feb 7 ( we each have restraint order and broke them both.). He was the path that not only gave me meth during an alcoholic black out ( he gave me whiskey during a session). The grief group also was Devastating I have bipor 1 with psychotic features and PTSD plus OCD and an eating disorder. I just feel that I’m too far gone to be helped. There’s a treatment center in Arizona that specializes in trauma and substance abuse. Ive been away from my hone for over 9 months. I’m
Not giving up. I go to AA/ NA. I have my living room set up as what might look like s therspist office. Literature. devotionals, soft meditation music ( every day I do prayer and meditation along with gratitude journaling and my regular writing as well I I have written a manuscript that is over 700 pages about the damages done to hurt my devstating year. My family still won’t speak to me. Do you have sny creative ideas to help me along ? I also have severe back pain and numb fingers because this man. who
I now know is a predator, , tackled me multiple time.s on concrete and wooden linoleum
Floors in his home.
So detox AGAIN in a treatment center is out. I was going to hire someone to stay with me. It was too costly. I get suicidal depression when I’m coming down. I have to starting tomorrow. I need to come down for drs appointments so I’ll need to drive On Monday. But what do I do? all my friends use and I don’t trust them anyway. To sit with me in my apartment while I sleep it off. I made them all mad st me because I started setting boundaries with them. Good riddance
If you are feeling as if you cannot guarantee your own safety and/or need immediate medical care call 911 or visit your local ER. Detox and treatment are highly recommended after continuous use. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help you find a program, detox, residential or outpatient, in your area. You can find out about these option by visiting them online at https://www.samhsa.gov/ or give their treatment helpline a call at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
On another note, we recommend contacting the licensing board or organization in your state to report the abuses of this therapist. They may even have additional assistance or resources for you.
Sincerely wishing the best for you on this journey.