Methamphetamine Detox & Withdrawal: Symptoms & Treatment

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Methamphetamine | 0 comments


Home » Methamphetamine » Methamphetamine Detox & Withdrawal: Symptoms & Treatment

How to Get Detox Help for Yourself or Family


Before looking at other treatment options that cover behavioral and mental health, a meth detox is necessary. This brings the body of a drug addict back to a normal state, or as close to it as possible. The goal of a medical detox is to remove the chemical dependency that the brain and body have due to drug addiction. Let’s break this down by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about crystal meth detox.

Does Meth Require Detox?

The answer to this question is yes. Being that meth addiction is one of the most severe, the withdrawal signs and symptoms are also among the hardest to deal with. No drug addiction or substance abuse issue should be handled without a medical detox. It provides the physical framework for a successful treatment program.

Quitting crystal meth cold turkey provides many chances for a meth abuser to relapse. Anytime the cravings become too severe and the pain sets in, a crystal meth abuser can just use again to prevent these things from happening. Trying to quit in many cases has actually led to more intense substance abuse.

The Need for Supervised Detoxification

What makes meth addiction particularly in need of a supervised detox is that the withdrawal symptoms are more mental. Usually, people with substance abuse problems have a co-occuring disorder. Commonly, treatment centers will see those with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, depression and anxiety addicted to crystal meth.

Mixed with the pain of withdrawal symptoms, these mental illnesses become even more difficult to understand. Cognitive behavioral therapy coupled with some helpful prescription drugs goes a long way, helping the mood swings that come with any medical detox. A recovery center will try its best to keep meth abusers until they feel comfortable re-entering the world.

How long does meth detox last?

Depending on which recovery center you choose to go to, meth detox can take anywhere from 10-20 days. The withdrawal symptoms during a meth detox can endure for a long time. This is when the most medical attention is required.

What are the withdrawal symptoms during meth detox?

The symptoms timeline for a meth detox goes in stages. Crystal meth addiction latches onto the body fast, so the first thing that happens is called the “crash.” This is when the body realizes its meth addiction is not being fed. The symptoms of the crash are:

  • Sleep
  • Increased appetite
  • Anger or irritation
  • High stress
  • Depression or dysphoria
  • Mood swings

When you think about the signs and symptoms of being on crystal meth, these are quite the opposite. Detox centers take note of how long you’ve been a meth abuser so that they know what to expect from the crash.

Next comes the beginning of the withdrawal timeline, where the signs and symptoms become painful. These symptoms rival the severity of those in alcoholism treatment, which are said to be very hard to get through.

When the Tough Time Arrives

This is a rough time for someone going through meth detox . Staying in the recovery center for residential treatment is recommended. The physical and emotional support goes a long way. Here are the withdrawal symptoms from crystal meth addiction:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach aches
  • Depression
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of memory
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis

After these troubling symptoms comes the last stage of the meth withdrawal timeline. Most physical aspects of the addiction go away, but depression is known to stay for many months to come. Residential treatment should be heavily considered.

What prescription drugs are used during a meth detox?

Unlike alcoholism treatment and opiate detox, there are no prescription drugs that substitute crystal meth and mimic it’s behavior. That is why the withdrawal symptoms for meth detox are quite harsh.

There are medications that assist in making the withdrawal symptoms less painful. These included antidepressants, antipsychotics and benzodiazepines. These drugs calm the heavy moods that can be associated with the detox process.

Common Treatment Practices

There are also prescription drugs that help to reduce meth cravings. These kinds of drugs are common in addiction treatment and they really help. Here are some of these helpful drugs:

  • Bupropion: antidepressant
  • Modafinil: treats excessive sleepiness
  • Dextroamphetamine: reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Methylphenidate: reduces actual use

It is important to note that these drugs do not stop a person completely from feeling their meth addiction. They should not be relied on to stop the brain from wanting to continue its substance abuse. Treatment centers usually mix in mental health help and therapy at the same time as the medical detox to make sure all symptoms are being helped. This prevents relapse.

A Variety of Treatment Options

Important in any treatment center is how much variety there is in treatment options. Not every person is the same. Not every drug addict is the same. So, it’s not possible to help everyone effectively with one kind of treatment option.

To be effective in a smart recovery, addiction treatment should be shaped to the needs of the patient. This makes for a healthier environment where drug addicts can express parts of their identity through their treatment

A Set of Choices to Consider

If a treatment program does not feel right for a certain patient, this can actually cause them to feel uncomfortable. Mental health is a priority during addiction treatment. If someone is part of a program that doesn’t match their beliefs, it could stop them from speaking out during therapy sessions.

At Amethyst, there are a few different treatment programs that patients can choose from. Here is a list of a few of those:

  • Dual Diagnosis: for those struggling with a co-occurring mental health illness
  • Holistic Treatment: for those who believe in holistic addiction treatment, focused on a very organic way of addiction recovery
  • Faith-Based Treatment: for those who are spiritual or religious
  • Alumni Program: for past drug addicts that would like some continuing care after being at the recovery center

At any time, of course, patients can make their treatment for meth a personalized experience. That is, they can mix and match aspects of programs to meet the needs of their mental health.

By having variety in treatment programs and the kinds of addictions we treat, patients feel encouraged to be themselves. The comfort of abuse treatment will make it easier to open up and get clean and sober.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of meth detox:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach aches

Combating Withdrawal Symptoms May Vary

To combat this, a treatment team of addiction specialists and nurses will figure out what prescription drugs a patient needs for their symptoms. Drug addiction treatment looks different for everyone. It could be that a meth detox for one patient is very painful and hard while another patient feels slight symptoms.

With opioid addiction and alcoholism, there are usually prescription drugs that mimic the effects of the drug. In the case of meth addiction, there is not a specific prescription drug that directly creates the effects of it. Because of this, other prescription drugs are used to calm down the withdrawal symptoms.

A Good Staff to Patient Ratio


Because addiction recovery is based on both mental and physical health, there needs to be different kinds of professionals working with each drug addict. This means that the staff to patient ratio should make each patient feel cared for as they go through addiction treatment.

At Amethyst, there are about 160 staff members and 60 beds. This means that each addict gets 2-3 staff members there to assist them that at all times. These staff members are medical professionals. They are therapists. They are addiction specialists and they are friends.

Support Is Key For Recovery

Support is important during this process because the mental health of a meth user goes through a transformation when the drug isn’t being used anymore. Having people who understand allows a drug addict to focus on recovery rather that what people think around them.

In addition to a good ratio, it’s important to have a staff that is understanding and patient. Meth detox will not always be easy. The process to recover from withdrawal symptoms is frustrating. Having people who understand patients instead of being stern or reprimanding them is a lot more functional in treatment centers.

Different Types of Therapy Sessions

When it comes to meth addiction treatment, therapy is vital. A medical detox and therapy work hand in hand to ensure that patients become clean and sober. There are different kinds of therapy. A good drug rehab facility will offer a variety of therapy sessions to fit the needs of the addicts.

The common method of therapy for mental health treatment in a recovery center is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. CBT focuses on behavioral health. It gives patients the ability to learn about meth and what it does to their behavior. It will then focus on the addict without meth abuse and relearn behaviors that will improve their life.

The Family Program

Another great therapy that should be found in all drug rehab facilities is the family program. A family program addresses the usual problem of how a family is affected by drug addiction. When a loved one has a drug and alcohol problem, the entire family is effected.

Family therapy allows loved ones of the meth addict to sit down and have a health conversation about what can be done to mend relations. Trust may be broken and the conversations might be awkward. Family therapy gives loved ones a chance to learn about meth and understand what everyone can do to make life better.

There are many other types of therapy sessions, but these are the two central methods used in meth addiction recovery.

Physical Treatment for Meth Addiction

Being that meth users can very quickly pick up a chemical dependency, a physical treatment plan comes first. Patients need a meth detox before they jump into mental health treatment.

Here are some common physical signs and symptoms of meth abuse:

  • Hyperactivity or high energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe weight loss
  • Extreme sweating
  • Nose bleeds
  • Dilated pupils
  • Burns
  • Rotting or broken teeth

Here are some common signs and symptoms of meth withdrawal:

  • Exhaustion
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stomach aches

To treat these symptoms, medical staff in the rehab facility will provide patients with prescription drugs that make the symptoms less severe. Because it is hard to focus on mental health and awareness when you don’t feel good, this step comes first in the meth treatment process.

Mental Health Treatment


Something unique about being addicted to crystal meth is that the symptoms of use and withdrawal are a lot more mental. The brain is heavily affected by changes that methamphetamine makes.

This is a serious issue when it comes to having a smart recovery from drug addiction. In order to allow heavy focus on treatment plans and behavioral therapy, a patient must first get a medical detox for mental health as well.

Here are the mental signs and symptoms of meth use:

  • Loss of interest
  • Elevated mood
  • Forgetfulness
  • Risky behavior
  • Distracted behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Isolation from relationships

Here are the mental withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Depressed mood
  • Mood swings

Amethyst’s Focused Care

At Amethyst, extreme care is focused on mental health symptoms that come from meth withdrawal. It is understood that patients, both with and without co-occurring disorders need extra help controlling their painful emotions.

Just like medical detox for physical signs and symptoms, prescription drugs are provided for patients as they struggle with mental illness. This is a highly valued treatment option and it helps ease the discomfort and anxiety that meth abusers may have about coming to a recovery center.

Therapeutic Options In Recovery

In addiction to prescription drugs, there is therapy. Therapy provides patients with a mental health expert that can teach them new ways to behave, cope with pain and stay sober. The crystal meth addiction will be picked apart.

Depending on what kind of patient it is, there are different kinds of therapy. A common therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy which focuses on mindfulness and behavior. There is also therapy for patients who have experienced extreme trauma.

All of the roads lead to a healthier mind in a rehab facility. There are people who understand the roots of drug addiction.

Meth Emergency Treatment vs. Rehab

Often times with crystal meth substance abuse, there can be emergencies. The drug addiction is potent. Because a tolerance can come very quickly, drug addicts will use more and more of the drug to feel something.

In the case of emergency, 911 should be called for immediate medical assistance. From there, a patient will head to the emergency room and then treatment plans will be made when they’re in more stable condition.

A recovery center is a place to go when a medical emergency has been taken care of. Emergencies need to be dealt with immediately and while a treatment center is open 24 hours, the resources needed to stop a complete overdose are found in the hospital setting.


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