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Detoxing from methamphetamines can include a host of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.  From anxiety and chills to dysphoria and clouded thoughts, meth detox can be scary and overwhelming. 

During the early stages of meth detox is also when you’re at the highest risk of relapse, largely due to the discomfort and strong cravings. It’s important to maintain safety and awareness during detoxification and never attempt to do it on your own but rather in a safe, secure, and supportive environment. 

Meth Drug Facts

Methamphetamine or meth are stimulant drugs that are highly addictive [1] and officially listed as a Schedule II controlled substance. The substance is a potent Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant that causes a significant release of dopamine in the brain. 

Due to its slow metabolism rate, meth remains in the system longer than many other drugs, in many cases up to 12 hours. The immediate effects of meth use are bursts of energy and a sense of euphoria. 

Meth is manufactured in two primary forms, a crystalline powder, and small salt-like rocks or crystals. In powder form. it looks similar to other white substances like powdered salt or baking powder. As rocks, it can appear like small shards of glass or rock salt and is what’s known as “crystal meth.” 

In most cases, meth is heated and smoked, snorted, or liquified and injected. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it goes by several street names, including crystal, stove top, speed, ice, bikers coffee, tweak, shards, trash, chalk, and crank.

Meth Overdose Data

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported overdose death rates [2] for 2021 were over 106,000 in total throughout the whole United States. Of those six-figure numbers, over 32,000 were related to meth abuse. In all, that is more than a 15% increase over the previous year’s numbers.

Meth Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms

There are a number of withdrawal symptoms for methamphetamines that range from mildly uncomfortable to dangerously severe. The more mild symptoms include: 

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Profuse sweating
  • Body tremors


There may also be psychological symptoms present, such as depression, anxiety, intense drug cravings, and chronic irritability.

Severe meth detox and withdrawal symptoms can also present other health complications and risks. 

  • Seizures
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased appetite
  • Hallucinations

If you or a loved one are experiencing any or more than one of these severe symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately. 

Short-Term Effects

Due to its stimulant effects, there are several seemingly positive effects (dopamine release and euphoric sensations) that can later turn uncomfortable and even deadly. Other short-term effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Body tremors
  • Development of “meth sores” (acne-like sores on the face and body)
  • Temperature irregularities
  • Pulling back from work, family, and social activities
  • A preoccupation with using, finding, and buying meth
  • Inability to stop using

Long-Term Health Risks Of Meth Use

Long-term meth use [3] can lead to significant changes in brain chemistry and even structure. Particularly, it can cause damage to the areas responsible for cognitive skills and learning.

These cognitive and brain changes to the brain may only be partially reversible, even after long-term abstinence (two years).

Studies also show that long-term meth use leads to other effects, such as:

  • Meth addiction
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Violent and aggressive behavior
  • Chronic flu-like symptoms (coughing, bronchitis, etc.)
  • Mood disorders 
  • Confusion and hearing voices
  • Delusion
  • Chronic insomnia (due to energy boosts)
  • Seizure disorder
  • Severe psychosis
  • Parkinson’s disease symptoms
  • Increased risk of HIV (due to injections) [4]
  • Nosebleeds (due to snorting meth)
  • Increased risk of heart problems

Meth use also poses a significant issue for dental health, often resulting in severe tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth will fall out, and the shape of one’s face will change significantly. 

Over time, meth use decreases your natural dopamine levels, requiring more and more meth to create the same reactions in the brain and the body.  

Meth Detox Timeline

Withdrawal from meth [5] can last from seven days to three weeks. The worst of the symptoms peak at the end of the first week and slowly reduce in intensity over the following weeks. 

Immediately after the effects wear off, you may experience depression-like symptoms or a low mood as the drug begins to leave your system. 

Shortly after is what is known as a “crash,” where you rapidly drop into exhaustion, irritability, and increasing depressive symptoms. The crash can last three to five days and represents the most vulnerable time of your detox, where you’re at the highest risk of relapse. 

Between days three and five, you may also experience paranoia, systemic and internal numbness, and low libido. Over the last two weeks of withdrawal, symptoms will decrease in severity.

After weeks three to four, as symptoms continue to decline, cravings may still be present along with fatigue and depressive symptoms. Implementing a core, reliable support system is crucial during this time.

One month after the last dose of meth, most, if not all, physical symptoms have subsided, but the psychological symptoms may linger. This is related to your brain beginning to adjust to the change in dopamine levels and return to your natural production. 

Anxiety and depression may linger the longest, in most cases for several months, after initial detox. It’s important to receive long-term, ongoing treatment and support to maintain personal wellness. 

Meth Detox and Substance Abuse Treatment

Residential services for medically supervised meth detox offer the safest route for treatment and recovery. There is a myriad of dangerous, painful, and frightening symptoms that can be intimidating to face on your own. 

Entering a professional detox facility offers safety and constant care during your most vulnerable stages of recovery. From 24/7 monitoring and around-the-clock attention from clinical staff to customized and chef-prepared meal plans and medication-assisted treatment, it’s all offered to give you the best chance of success without compromising your safety. 

After detox, there are multiple options for ongoing treatments that are offered as inpatient and outpatient treatment. Inpatient Programs offer a similar level of care to inpatient detox while also supplementing daily treatment and therapy sessions. 

After inpatient care is Partial Hospitalization Programs that offer top-tier daily support but still offer the freedom of living at home. Intensive Outpatient Programs offer a step down in care with several treatment sessions per week and more flexibility in your schedule. 

Outpatient programs are a good fit for those who have already completed higher levels of care and are ready for an increased level of personal autonomy. Once all higher levels of care are completed, or all required levels, a customized aftercare plan will be developed to support you in your long-term recovery. 

Recovery is also most successful when supported by holistic therapy interventions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Experiential Therapy, mindfulness interventions, Reiki practices, and physical mind/body activities like yoga, barre, and personal training all offer effective solutions for lasting recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions About Meth Detox

What is a medically supervised meth detox?

A medically supervised detox is the safest way to face and navigate the physical symptoms of meth withdrawal. It is considered the first step in addiction treatment before beginning long-term therapy or rehab programs. 

Physicians will prescribe medications to ease the most severe symptoms of meth withdrawal to help you be as comfortable as possible during the process. This allows you to focus solely on your recovery without being consumed by your symptoms. 

How long is meth detox treatment?

Every patient’s treatment plan is individualized based on their unique needs. The timeline for detox treatment will look different for everyone as designated by their treatment plan. 

Treatment timelines are determined by how long meth has been used, how frequently it was used, and one’s overall health. On average, an estimated length of stay for medical meth detox is anywhere from 4-7 days.

Is there legal meth?

According to the DEA [6], there is only one legal meth prescription, Desoxyn®. It is administered in tablet form with has very limited medical use, primarily to treat obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How addicting is meth?

Due to the extreme highs and euphoric effects of meth, it is a highly addicting substance. Meth is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its effects on the brain and its propensity for addiction. 

Safely Navigate Meth Detox Under The Watchful Eye Of Trained Medical Professionals At Ascendant NY

Safely Navigate Meth Detox Under The Watchful Eye Of Trained Medical Professionals At Ascendant NY

If you or a loved one are struggling with meth use and are considering undergoing meth detox at home, there is a better way. We want you to succeed in your recovery and offer medication-assisted treatment and monitoring to give you the safest and most effective path to long-term healing. Call Ascendant NY today to learn more.


[1] Methamphetamine. DEA. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/methamphetamine on 2023, March 8

[2] NIDA. (2023, February 9). Drug overdose death rates. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates on 2023, March 8

[3] National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Methamphetamine trends in the United States. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/methamphetamine-trends-in-the-united-states on  2023, March 8

[4] Rippeth JD;Heaton RK;Carey CL;Marcotte TD;Moore DJ;Gonzalez R;Wolfson T;Grant I; ; (n.d.). Methamphetamine dependence increases risk of neuropsychological impairment in HIV infected persons. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14751002/ on 2023, March 8

[5] Barr, A. M., Panenka, W. J., MacEwan, G. W., Thornton, A. E., Lang, D. J., Honer, W. G., & Lecomte, T. (2006, September). The need for speed: An update on Methamphetamine Addiction. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1557685/ on 2023, March 8

[6] Drugs of abuse – home | dea.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/Drugs%20of%20Abuse%202020-Web%20Version-508%20compliant-4-24-20_0.pdf on 2023, March 8

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful children.

Last medically reviewed March 13, 2023