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What Happens During Meth Detox

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What Happens During Meth Detox

The process of detoxing from any drug or substance is never a pleasant endeavor. With the rise of meth use over the last few years, more and more people are seeking professional meth detox for either an addiction to meth or an addiction to meth combined with other drugs.

Meth addiction is one that is well known to be detrimental both mentally and physically. Chronic and even short-term meth use has been shown to affect users on both long and short-term scales.

The Dangers of Meth Use

Crystal Meth is a stimulant drug that can be smoked, snorted, or injected. It is extremely addictive and relatively cheap and easy to buy, so there has been a marked upswing in the amount of meth addiction, use, and overdose over the last few years.

Meth is extremely addictive primarily because it is extremely potent, and the high is relatively short-lived. This causes the user to continue using more and more to achieve the desired high they are looking for.

If you are concerned that you or your loved one might be struggling with a meth addiction, here are some of the more common side effects and physical cues to look out for:

  • A highly overactive amount of energy
  • Reduced or no appetite
  • Being very talkative
  • Rapid movements, either jaw, hands, feet tapping, nail biting, eye movement, etc.
  • Scars or scabs on the face, hands, chest, or arms
  • Feelings of paranoia or anxiety or experiencing hallucinations
  • Irrational, delusional, or grandiose thoughts or ideas
  • Inability to sleep

Many people who use meth frequently often begin to undergo severe physical changes. Many people are familiar with the before and after images released from police blotter that show the devastating effects of meth addiction. Keep an eye out for signs of weight loss, sunken face or eyes, scars and scabs on the skin, tooth decay, poor hygiene, and thinning of hair and nails.

What to Expect in Meth Detox

Whether you or your loved one will be undergoing a detoxification process from meth, it is important to keep in mind that meth users will experience severe and seemingly overpowering cravings to continue using the drug. This is why it is often safer and more effective for a person with a meth addiction to attend a medical detoxification center and then an inpatient stay in a rehabilitation center. This also allows a person who suffers from a meth addiction to be physically separated from the drug, which will decrease their chances of relapsing.

There will be multiple phases to undergo in the detox process, and the average timeline is averaged to about 40 weeks. Here are some of the most common signs and withdrawal symptoms to expect.

The Physical Detox

First and foremost, the crucial element that will occur during the detox process will be the physical aspect. Many stimulants are often seen as an “easy” physical withdrawal, and most people with a meth addiction don’t experience the same cramping, fever like symptoms that opiate and alcohol users experience.

However, the physical aspect is still no joke, as the user will probably struggle to eat and find a healthy sleeping pattern for at least the first few days after their last use. The first few to ten days is known as “the crash.” Users should keep an eye out for:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Exhaustion
  • Feelings of depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Migraines
  • Rapid weight gain

The physical detox stage can last anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks, depending on the length and frequency of use. After the initial physical withdrawal will come to the mental withdrawal stage.

meth detox

The Mental Detox

People who use and suffer from a meth addiction will experience extreme cravings during the first few weeks of withdrawing. As said before, this is what most commonly brings meth users back to a relapse. There are also extreme and wild mood swings that can occur during the first few weeks of recovery from a meth addiction.

This is because of the lingering feelings of hopelessness, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain returning to normal. People can experience varying levels of these mood swings, and some sober meth users have likened it to “riding a rollercoaster.”

For some users, there will still be lingering difficulty around sleeping patterns, eating behaviors, and concentration.

The Long Term

Many people with meth addiction are also diagnosed with another co-occurring disorder. The most common are often:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

These diagnoses may or may not always be true, and can sometimes be misdiagnosed based on the symptoms and side effects of a meth addiction withdrawal. However, it is extremely common that people with an undiagnosed mental disorder often resort to abusing drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with their overwhelming mental states. It is a good idea to continue working closely with a therapist and a psychiatrist during you or your loved one’s recovery from a meth addiction, is this will help narrow down any potential co-occurring disorders if there are any present.

A large majority of people who struggle with a meth addiction report experiencing some level of mood swings for anywhere up to 18 months after their last use. With a recovery program, living in a safe and stable environment, and encouragement to live healthy, these users were able to overcome their meth addiction and are still continuing to live clean and happy lives.

Meth addiction is as dangerous as any other addiction, however, it does not mean that there is no hope. Anyone who is willing to seek help, and work on staying sober, will have the same chance of a happy life as anyone else.


If you or a loved one can relate to this article, it may be time to get professional help. Call our meth rehab program today to learn more about the recovery process. Start living the life you deserve today.

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