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Finding Relief from Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Like cocaine, methamphetamine is a stimulant, and the withdrawal symptoms caused by these drugs are largely psychological. According to the NLM, it was once underestimated how extreme stimulant withdrawal can be, but now, we understand that “the level of craving, irritability, delayed depression, and other symptoms produced by cocaine withdrawal rivals or exceeds that felt with other withdrawal symptoms.” Amphetamines like meth cause effects on the brain that are very similar to those caused by cocaine, including withdrawal symptoms.

For these reasons, finding relief from meth withdrawal is not easy. But there are several ways that you can make the process more bearable.

Learning and Preparing for the Syndrome

One of the first ways to find relief for meth withdrawal is to know what you are up against. Many individuals abuse methamphetamine for a long time before deciding to quit, and in most cases, the longer you have been taking the drug and the more frequent and heavy your doses were, the more intense your symptoms will be.

Methamphetamine withdrawal can cause symptoms that come in three stages:

meth withdrawal symptoms

Meth withdrawal generally involves crash, fatigue, and recovery.

  • Stage One: The Crash
    • The individual will initially experience a crash period that often occurs after a long, drawn out methamphetamine high. Excessive sleeping, anxiety, and agitation will occur. However, for some individuals, withdrawal also includes symptoms of a psychosis similar to schizophrenia. According to CESAR, this condition is “characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, self-absorption, auditory and visual hallucinations, and sometimes episodes of violence.” It often lasts for a few days and, in the presence of severe psychosis, must be managed in an inpatient treatment facility.
  • Stage Two: The Fatigue
    • People during stage two often feel depressed and generally fatigued. It will be difficult for them to do much of anything for several weeks. Someone in this phase should be watched for signs of suicidal thoughts or feelings as well as relapse. This stage is also marked by strong cravings for the drug.
  • Stage Three: The Recovery
    • This stage can sometimes last for a year or more. While most symptoms have generally begun to subside, individuals can suddenly be hit with intense cravings for the drug months after discontinuing their use of it. In addition, the NIDA states some individuals experience sudden psychotic symptoms up to a year after quitting meth when placed in stressful situations.

Meth withdrawal is not easy, and it can be very hard to find relief, especially as these symptoms can drag on for a long time. Understanding the syndrome itself will allow you to prepare for it by doing several important things:

  • Make sure any drugs or objects that will tempt you toward drug abuse are removed from your home. You will also need to stay away from individuals who are not conducive to your recovery for a while.
  • Surround yourself with individuals you can trust and who want to see you succeed in your withdrawal and eventual addiction recovery.
  • Avoid the places you used to use meth and do not give yourself an excuse to visit them.
  • Do not introduce unnecessary stress into your daily life.
  • Avoid being alone during the moments where you experience severe cravings and/or depressive symptoms.

Choose a Rehab Facility

Methamphetamine is not a drug that is simple to detox from; in most cases, you will need to attend addiction treatment while you are going through withdrawal. Because the syndrome can be very long, you will benefit from attending treatment at a rehab center for both your withdrawal and addiction symptoms.

Treatments used in methamphetamine rehab includes:

  • Medication
    • Unfortunately no one medication is approved by the FDA to treat methamphetamine addiction (NIDA). However, antipsychotics and antidepressants are often prescribed during rehab to give relief to patients still struggling with meth withdrawal symptoms and to allow them to better focus on therapy.
  • Behavioral therapy
    • Several different types of behavioral therapy are used in meth rehab including:
      • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
      • The Matrix Model
      • Contingency management
      • Group therapy

Addiction treatment is usually most successful when it lasts for three months or longer, but some individuals may stay for a full year (NIDA). By treating your withdrawal symptoms, the possible symptoms of psychosis or any other co-occurring disorders, and your addiction to the drug, you will be able to more easily cope with any withdrawal symptoms that continue to occur through treatment or afterward.

You can find a state directory of recovery centers for meth withdrawal and addiction treatment on our website.

Choose an Aftercare Treatment

Because methamphetamine can cause many of the same symptoms to occur even up to a year after your drug abuse has ended, it is important to seek out another form of treatment after you finish your rehab. There are several different types of programs that will help you find relief from the symptoms that may reoccur including cravings, paranoia, hostility, and depression.

  • Individualized drug counseling
    • You can continue your therapy sessions after your recovery treatment has ended by visiting a drug counselor consistently. According to the NIDA, “Through its emphasis on short-term behavioral goals, individualized counseling helps the patient develop coping strategies and tools to abstain from drug use and maintain abstinence.”
  • Support groups
    • You may choose to attend a support group, especially if you found the social aspect of your addiction treatment program beneficial. Groups like Crystal Meth Anonymous bring together individuals who have all shared a common experience and allow them to provide support and encouragement to one another. These meetings can often be found every day in different facilities like churches, libraries, and outreach centers.
  • Sober living houses
    • If you don’t have a safe or stable home environment to return to after addiction treatment, you may choose to live in a sober living house which provides a drug and alcohol free environment to all residents. You will be able to come and go as you please, work, pay rent, and still be able to live in a home that provides additional support and protection through your withdrawal and addiction recovery.

Meth withdrawal can last a long time, and individuals may struggle with specific symptoms during their entire recovery. This is why finding relief requires so many steps and different methods. But eventually, you will begin to feel that the worst is behind you.