Oct 9, 2014 | By Tim Stoddart

What are the Withdrawal Effects of Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine Addiction

Walter White didn’t tell you?? Methamphetamine does serious damage.

meth withdrawal

But first, what exactly is methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.

[via http://www.drugabuse.gov/]

methamphetamineMeth can be smoked, snorted, injected or used via suppository – although we try not to think about that. People who use methamphetamine for recreational purposes do so because of the intense feelings of euphoria is causes. Meth also has physical effects such as in increase in talking and a decrease in appetite.

The real effect of meth comes from the intense and almost delusional feelings of euphoria and invincibility. It is without a doubt one of the most intense highs one can feel.

The effects of meth usually last for a few hours to one day depending on how much the person took. Meth kicks in very quickly and it’s not long until the abuser will experience a series of physical and psychological symptoms withdrawing from the drug.

Physical Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal

The physical withdrawal symptoms of meth are very uncomfortable. Withdrawal effects and their severity will differ from person to person but there are physical symptoms that are very common.

The physical symptoms include:

  • Anorexia or lack of interest in food
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Itchiness
  • Poor Vision
  • Acne Low or High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Breathing
  • In worst cases, meth addiction can cause heart attack, stroke, and even death

Even with the pain associated with the physical effects of withdrawal, most meth abusers report that the real problem is the psychological effects associated.

Psychological Withdrawal from Meth

In addition to the physical addiction, meth abusers will experience a multitude of the following symptom:

  • Significant Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Mood Disturbances
  • Violent Behavior

In more serious cases, abusers will experience psychotic episodes.

If you have ever seen anyone experience these symptoms you may understand first hand just how traumatic these episodes can be. The abuser may experience hallucinations which are both auditory and visual. They may suffer from intense paranoia (usually that someone is out to get them) or may even experience intense delusions; for example many people say they have insects crawling underneath their skin.

All of this may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but in reality these psychological withdrawal effects are not uncommon for people coming off of meth. The reason for such strong effects deals with the changes that meth brings to the brain chemistry.

Studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.

[via http://www.drugabuse.gov]

Meth can permanently destroy dopamine receptors making the effects last a very long time, even years. There are many reports of recovered meth addicts suffering from severe depression, anxiety, loss of sex drive and unstable emotional behavior.

Studies have shown that the brain can heal itself over time.

brain recovery of meth

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Most methamphetamine addicts are forced to attend a detoxification facility where there are structured treatments available for either inpatient or outpatient.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often the therapy of choice for treating many drug addictions like methamphetamine. This therapy aims at treating thoughts and cognition’s, which is directed at correcting errors and modifying the core beliefs that lead to faulty thinking and actions. Detox in a safe and clinical medical center is always your best bet.

If you are experiencing a lot of pain due to meth withdrawal, don’t hesitate to call us for help. 866-317-7050.

Often times meth users are also detoxing from other drugs such as opiates, so they may need to receive medical treatment for other withdrawal symptoms. In the process of quitting meth, a person may experience severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or sleep problems that last longer than one or two weeks. They might be treated with medication like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication (non-benzodiazepine), anti-psychotic medication, or sleep aids.

Meth can be difficult to treat because so many of the lasting problems are psychological. Medications are often prescribed to treat the symptoms, but returning the brain chemistry to normal takes time and long term abstinence.

The most effective treatments are those that are multifaceted and may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling, education on drugs, addiction, and relapse, and a program (for example, a 12-step program specifically for meth addicts is Crystal Meth Anonymous).

After learning about all the facts of meth withdrawal, it may seem like a nightmare. For many people it may be. That is not to say that recovery from meth addiction isn’t possible. With support, determination and guidance many meth addicts recover and stay sober for their entire lives. Many of these recovered meth addicts use their experience to help other people who may also have problems with meth and its withdrawal effects.

Quitting meth is a very serious life choice. Meth has very destructive qualities to it, and it is especially harmful to your body. Your best option is to detox, and then attend an addiction treatment center. Too often people try quitting meth without professorial help, and very rarely does it work out.

20 responses to “What are the Withdrawal Effects of Methamphetamine?

  • Your close…Unfortunately treatment centers are giving drug addicts drugs to get off of drugs. It’s ubsurd! I was an IV meth user for 10 yrs. When I bottomed out, I went to AA and got totally sober. The 12 steps saved my life. I’m 5 yrs clean and sober. No treatment center, no psych meds, no anti anything. I have a spectacular life today. If your not one of us you just don’t get it. Clean means clean.

    • Lil Ryder

      7 years ago

      I am currently week 2 into my detox. I set meth down completely and have not had any drugs to help me come off this shit. I too have IV used meth for 8 months now. I recently found out Im pregnant. This is the biggest and hardest battle I have faced. The addiction is very powerful. I am detoxing at home. Any advise/tips? Some days its like the battle is with the route of administration and not so much the drug itself. I feel like the needle is an addiction within itself.

    • may i ask you if you had suffer from anxiety?i dont know how to deal with it..as of now im just taking multivatiamins to treat vitamin defeciency that causes my anxiety..hoping for your reply..have a nice day and god bless

    • Congrats. I’m inquireing about withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamine, Adderal that I am prescribed for ADHD. I’m told there are physical withdrawals from my ADHD medication but haven’t experianced any. What can you tell me.
      Email me if you can
      Thanks for your time,
      Bright Blessings ???

  • Amy Brimer

    9 years ago

    You’re exactly right ab not getting it unless you ARE one of us! Lol! But I just wanted to say that not ALL treatment centers do that. I went to 2 that did and got right back on it after getting home. This last time, oooh No, that was a Noooooo detox meds, no narcotic, no exceptions, no benadryl, no Tylenol, basically NO meds and it was a minimum of 6 months and no 8 hr passes with only family for 3 months. No outside influences except AA meetings! I hated it at first, but I ended up volunteering to go stay an additional 6 months at their also super strict halfway house. I’ve never been in such a strict & structured environment! But, it played a HUGE role in saving my life!! Now I’ve been home ab another years & half and still clean/sober, but I stay all up in the middle of my AA group!

  • I used Meth almost everyday for over 8yrs , been off for 2yrs this time . I want to talk about the life long affects of the drug.
    I’m 48 female recovering from addiction,
    my eyes are bad ,see most things in a blur , My bone and body hurt , arthritis has taken over , lost most my teeth , live with server depression, I’ve wasted so much life not wanting to get out of bed, my body hurts to move , bones full with arthritis, still have brain funtching such as thing. Someone (loved ones) want to hurt me , even after 2 1\2 yrs of not using , the affects may not be as strong as when using , but results are still with me everyday . But I’m learning how to live sober and accept the conditions of my body , rehab teaches about life being so screwed ( family friends) I was healthy 33 female when I started on meth , now I feel like I’m 68.

  • I started using meth when I was about 25. First time I quit was at age 27 for about 6 months. Second time was at age 34 for about 1 year. Third time was at age 37 for about 2 years. All those times I quit, they were destined to fail because I was quitting for the wrong reasons. I wanted to quit for everyone else but MYSELF. I suffered through the withdrawals, cravings, and depression each time because down deep I knew I want done. I knew I still liked the drug and missed the feelings it have me. I am now 45 years old and as of January 5, 2015…..i am finally done! Yes, the detox of the first week was the same as before, but as for the craving and the depression…. None. That’s because I no longer miss it. When you have truly finally had enough of the complete dependency and havoc that it can cause your life to become, quitting and remaining clean become a much easier process.

  • I admire you all! You are all an inspiration to me. I smoked Meth for 3 years. I lost EVERYTHING until I became homeless. Im picking myself up from very bottom. I attended AA as well. I currently find myself depressed. A deep sadness. Cleaning up the mess I made of my life, getting back into socieity & loniness is overwhelming & sometimes I feel like giving up, however, I am no loner a coward & have to keep pushing forward. My life is better now. Believing in myself was key in changing my life.

  • Hi I am almost 17. Lets see. It was Thursday at 5am I smoked it and it kicked in I was pacing around the house my heart was beating I was scared and had anxiety and my bf told me to go to bed that was around 8 or 9 am and I woke up felt fine took a shower got scared again now its Sunday I’m a little tired and doing some outside work had a little depression am I gonna be okay please calm me down

    • J
      Your very young, I have kids older then you and it upsets me to hear this. I know from personal experiance that telling you what to do or what you should do makes you do opposite and that’s the way all teens are. If I could go back and know then what I know now my life would be so different so much better. Carefree and living life . I am now in my mid 40’s and I hate the bad decisions I made in my life. Please reconsider your choices and be a kid. Don’t grow up faster then u have to and good luck J and take care of yourself. I’ve list many to many friends to drugs all shapes and sizes through the years so be a kid have no regrets, it ruined my life and still haunts me the bad choices I’ve made.
      Bright Blesdings

  • I am a 59 year old woman who just stopped using 3 weeks ago. I don’t plan on going to a rehab facility but trying to find iut whst my be instore for me now. My blood pressure is all over the place with the highest so far being 170/111..down the road what might iexoect

      • theironthumb

        5 years ago

        Diana, how did you make out kicking the habit? You and I are/were the same age with the same history. I realize this was published 3 years ago… just wondering. Steve St Pierre Father of 4 … Grand Father of 5. Ex husband of 1 soon to be 2.

  • And read what it does to your brain and body the 2 junkies this is what they do shit in catboxes and eat rotten bin food nand attack people with axes

  • So children a lesson there that one don’t do drugs the police will shoot you dead with leatal force doesn’t matter the drug

  • Hey, I see everyone sharing their experience. Here’s mine.
    I became an IV meth user at the age of 15 years old, and continued use until the age of 17. One day I just got tired of being tired and threw my siringes and pipes away. One week later, moved to Florida. Just two years of heavy use has resulted in serious issues that someone of my age, now 20 and 2 years sober, should never have to deal with. I have extreme back pain all the time, and and my vision is terrible. I was bulimic for the first year of my recovery and now I have terribly high blood pressure. The psychological effects are the worst, though. I can make up literally anything in my head and believe it to the core of me being. Sometimes I have vivid night terrors. I am depressed a lot of the time. But I am learning to cope with these long term symptoms through the help of AA. I am accountable to a sponsor and a couple of sponsees, i get my ass out of bed and shower when most.days i dont want to, because i fill my schedule with commitments, and life is great. Just a few years ago I was on the sidewalks turning tricks, and now I live in my own home with a wonderful husband and we are expecting a child. Most importantly, i am experiencing peace and content like i never have before. I am better than happy now, i am calm. All thanks to God and the 12 steps.

  • Hi I’m 17 years old I’ve been smoking meth since I was 15 I’m tired of using this drug i want to go back to my old life I know I’m addicted to it but I realize and tell myself all the time to guit I was sober for a week and a half and I’ve been constipated and my stomach feels like I have air in it when I smoke weed I’ve had alil bit of back pains and the side of my stomach hurts a bit today I smoked some meth and it made me feel better for some reason am I having meth withdrawals? Idont know wats happening to my body but iknow it’s not right can somebody reply fast to me and help me find out what’s wrong I went to the doctors and they told me I was having abdominal pains but iknow something isn’t right inside my body

  • Can someone help me figure out what’s wrong with me. I have been clean for 18 days today and I do not plan on taking anymore meth. I did it for four months and I overdosed once. But since I quite my heart will start pounding really hard randomly throughout the day lasting for a few minutes to a few hours. This has happened every day on average about three times a day. It makes my chest hurt sometimes or I can feel a pressure in my neck or jaw. What is it and is it going to go away anytime soon or will I just drop dead eventually from this heart thing???

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