Meth Detox: Overview, Withdrawal, How It Works, and Detox Length

Breaking the hold meth has on you is often something you can’t do yourself. Many people turn to drug and alcohol detox as the first-step in maintaining long-term sobriety. In medical drug detox, you’ll get help from medical professionals as you slowly wean off meth and fight withdrawal symptoms. Learn everything you need to know about meth detox so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

An Overview of Meth Detox

Meth abuse is a widespread problem across the country, with 1.2 million people reporting meth use during the last year in a 2012 survey. In that same survey, 440,000 people reported using methamphetamine in the last month.

The reason these statistics are so high might be because of meth’s highly addictive properties. When you take a dose of meth, you experience an extreme rush that lasts for only a few minutes. Many people want to maintain that rush, so they take more meth, even though the drug is still in their system.

Because of this, meth users quickly build up an increased tolerance. Tolerance is when you need to take more of a drug to achieve the same effects as you did previously. Tangential to increased tolerance is dependence, which is when your body relies on meth to function normally. When you’re dependent on meth, your body will start going through withdrawal if you miss a dose.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamine is a long-acting drug because your body metabolizes it slowly. A full 12 hours after taking your last dose, you’ll still have 50 percent of the drug in your system. Because of this, you might have a high that lasts for up to 24 hours. Unfortunately, after that, you’ll start to crash and go through withdrawal.

Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Severe fatigue.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Depression.
  • Hypersomnia.
  • Tension or anxiety.
  • Psychotic symptoms.
  • Food and drug cravings.

While these symptoms aren’t deadly, they can be extremely annoying and uncomfortable, which is why drug detox is recommended.

How Meth Detox Works

Meth detox works by assisting you through withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, there is currently no FDA-approved medication to treat methamphetamine withdrawal, so much of detox simply involves managing your symptoms individually. However, scientists are currently hard at work testing out a molecule called lobeline, which stems from the Lobelia plant and could help those suffering from methamphetamine addiction during the detox process.

Since that’s not currently an option, you’ll instead be kept hydrated and given medications, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics, to help reduce your symptoms.

How Long Is Meth Detox?

Acute withdrawal typically lasts for one to two weeks. During this time, you’ll stay at the detox center to get help managing your symptoms. Once your symptoms start to clear up, you’ll move from meth detox to drug and alcohol rehab. You may have some symptoms of protracted withdrawal for several months afterwards, which can include having trouble thinking clearly and extreme cravings.

Drug rehab is the next step in maintaining long-term sobriety. It’s where you’ll learn the behaviors and skills you need to maintain a drug-free lifestyle. With dedication and motivation, you can put your meth use behind you for good.