Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine that resembles glass or bluish-white rocks. As a central nervous system stimulant, it causes a rush of pleasure, energy, and confidence.
It also poses a high risk of physical dependence. When you’re physically dependent on crystal meth, you’ll face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it.
If you or a loved one struggles with crystal meth abuse, it’s important to understand the withdrawal process and how to manage it.
What Is Crystal Meth Withdrawal Like?
Crystal meth increases the amount of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that helps regulate pleasure, motivation, movement, and memory. If you’re physically dependent on crystal meth and stop using it, you’ll experience a sudden drop in dopamine.
It might take days, weeks, or even months for dopamine levels to return to normal. During this time, you may experience both psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms.
The most common psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- intense cravings for meth
- suicidal thoughts
- loss of motivation
- difficulty concentrating
- insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
- increased appetite
Another common symptom is psychosis. Psychosis is a feeling of disconnection from reality that typically involves paranoia (irrational distrust of others), delusions (beliefs that aren’t based in reality), and hallucinations (sounds, images, or other sensations that don’t exist in reality).
The most common physical symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- red, itchy eyes
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- muscle spasms
Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline
Your exact experience of crystal meth withdrawal will depend on a variety of personal factors, including:
- your age
- your physical and mental health
- how long you’ve been using crystal meth
- your frequency of crystal meth use
- the amount of crystal meth you use
However, for many people, crystal meth withdrawal follows this general timeline:
Initial withdrawal (also called the “crash”) occurs within the first two days after you stop using crystal meth. It’s characterized by a sudden drop in energy. Other common symptoms include nausea, sweating, and stomach pain.
For most people, withdrawal symptoms peak (reach their most severe point) between days three and ten of withdrawal. Common symptoms during this period include intense cravings for meth, depression, anxiety, excessive sleepiness, and increased appetite.
Most withdrawal symptoms fade away within two or three weeks after your last use of meth. However, some symptoms, such as cravings and depression, may last for months, especially if you don’t get professional help.
How To Manage Crystal Meth Withdrawal
In most cases, crystal meth withdrawal isn’t life-threatening. However, it can be extremely uncomfortable. To minimize discomfort, take care of yourself by:
- getting plenty of sleep
- exercising regularly
- eating nutritious foods
- staying hydrated
These behaviors can decrease withdrawal symptoms by boosting your physical and mental health. However, if you’re like most people, you may still find crystal meth withdrawal too difficult to manage on your own.
In that case, you should seek treatment at a medical detoxification program.
Medical Detox Program
During medical detox, you’ll receive 24/7 supervision and care from a team of medical professionals. They’ll help you stop using the drug gradually rather than quitting cold turkey.
This strategy gives your body time to adjust to life without meth, which can prevent or reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Your detox team will also ensure you get proper hydration, nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
In addition, they may prescribe medications to ease certain withdrawal symptoms, such as antidepressants or anti-nausea medications. Some detox centers also offer activities to help you relax, such as massage therapy, meditation, and yoga.
Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment
Many people who are physically dependent on crystal meth are also addicted to it. Crystal meth addiction is a disease that makes you feel unable to stop using the drug despite negative consequences.
Other symptoms include frequent cravings for meth, loss of motivation, trouble maintaining relationships, and trouble completing tasks at work or school.
If you show signs of crystal meth addiction, your health care provider will likely recommend that you attend an addiction treatment program after you complete meth detox. During addiction treatment, you’ll have access to services such as:
- behavioral therapy, where you can learn coping skills to manage meth cravings and stay sober
- family therapy, where you and your loved ones can learn how to resolve conflicts and support your long-term recovery
- support groups, where you can share your experiences with other people who are recovering from meth addiction and other substance use disorders
To learn more about methamphetamine withdrawal and addiction treatment options, please contact a Recovering Champions specialist. We offer counseling, therapy, and a variety of other substance abuse treatments to help you lead a fulfilling, drug-free life.