How Long Does It Take to Detox from Meth?

Meth Detox: Everything You Need to Know

Detoxing from meth can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience to navigate on your own. Knowing what to expect during meth detox can set you up for success in recovery.  

Understanding Meth Withdrawal

Meth is a powerful and highly addictive drug. Many individuals who use meth will report a “crash” once the effects of the drug wear off, usually within the first 24-48 hours. The crash period is known as acute withdrawal. However, persistent use and high doses, can lead to longer-term withdrawal symptoms that can last several weeks.1

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

While meth withdrawal is very different from the withdrawal processes of opiates and alcohol, it is by no means easier. Methamphetamine is hard on the body and disrupts the brain's release of dopamine leading to exhaustive and depressive withdrawal symptoms.2 


Meth withdrawal symptoms vary in severity, depending on an individual's history with meth. Withdrawal symptoms of meth include:3

  • Lack of ability to feel pleasure
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety, paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Intense cravings

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

meth detox

The meth detox timeline can also vary. While the process of detoxing meth can last up to fifty hours, the overall meth detox timeline can span several weeks. The first withdrawal symptom is usually fatigue, then an overwhelming depression. Symptoms will be most intense for the first two days and gradually decrease over time.4 

Most symptoms of meth detox will resolve within fourteen days, but cravings may last longer. Some individuals will experience protracted withdrawal with symptoms of depression, suicidal ideation, and lack of pleasure in life that can last for a few months. Cravings may also become more intense at this time. This is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, also known as PAWS.5

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What to Expect During Meth Detox

Expect first and foremost to be uncomfortable, exhausted, and irritated. Typically, meth detox symptoms are worse for older individuals or with a long history of methamphetamine use. Additional factors such as mental and physical health before and during meth use also impact withdrawal severity.5

What Happens During Meth Withdrawal

During meth withdrawal detox, the body undergoes the process of removing the toxins left behind by meth. At this time, the brain is also depleted from dopamine, resulting in the symptoms associated with withdrawal.

Evaluation

Upon arriving at a detox center, you will be asked about your relationship to methamphetamine, including questions about duration and frequency of use. You will also be evaluated for any other conditions that may need treatment or other complications related to your use.

Stabilization

Once you have been evaluated, the staff will get you stabilized by providing fluids and medications necessary for treatment. Treatment will depend on the severity of your withdrawal symptoms and other existing conditions upon arrival.

Transition into Further Treatment

You will transition into a longer-term rehabilitation treatment at this point in your journey. Some individuals will benefit most from residential rehab, but others may want to continue treatment on their own through outpatient programs.

Medications Used to Assist Meth Detox

Currently, there are no medications available to help detox the body from meth. However, a few drugs are used as support during detox. Modafinil can help regulate sleep and help with the cognitive effects of meth use. Additionally, antidepressants such as Fluoxetine or Bupropion may be combined with therapy to manage anxious-depressive symptoms.

How Long Does Meth Detox Take?

Meth detox can take up to fourteen days, dependent on the intensity of use. The recovery period for meth addiction is long and can be broken up into three stages. These will be detailed below.

Stage 1: Crashing

The crash comes within 24 to 48 hours of last use. This is by far the worst stage in the detox and recovery process. Most individuals need to sleep and rest for several days. Upon waking, they may experience an increase in appetite. Additionally, there may be symptoms of psychosis, anxiety, and depression at this time.

Stage 2: Craving

Once the initial crash phase ends, users will move into the craving phase. This phase can last anywhere from 14 days to several months. This phase is characterized by intense cravings and depression. Sleep can also worsen at this stage, and you may experience insomnia.  

Stage 3: Rehabilitation

Cravings can last a long time when recovering from meth addiction. However, rehabilitation is possible. Rehabilitation can look different for everyone and is not a one size fits all process. Working with a licensed health professional to create a recovery plan is immensely beneficial. Through therapy and rehab services, recovery can be sustained, and the effects of use can be reversed.

Meth Withdrawal: Risks & Outlook

Meth Detox

While the withdrawal may seem frightening, the benefits of getting clean from meth outweigh the risks. When supervised by a medical health professional, withdrawal and detox risks can be reduced greatly.

Are Withdrawal and Detox From Meth Dangerous?

Withdrawal and detox are usually relatively safe in comparison to the detox processes of other drugs such as opiates and alcohol. Regardless, some dangers such as dehydration, nutritional deficits, and self-harm are related to depression or psychosis.

What Is the Best Way to Cope With Methamphetamine Withdrawal and Detox?

Meth withdrawal is notoriously uncomfortable. First and foremost, extend yourself grace and kindness during this time. At this time, your body will benefit from getting lots of sleep and eating a healthy balanced diet. Exercise can be beneficial in reducing anxiety associated with withdrawal. 

Can You Die From Meth Withdrawal?

Meth withdrawal doesn’t typically result in death.  However, meth withdrawal is characterized by intense feelings of depression, which often includes thoughts of self-harm or harming others. Individuals may be at risk of harming themselves during this time. There is also a risk of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies during withdrawal. 

What Does Withdrawal Do to the Brain?

Withdrawal is a side effect of the brain not having enough dopamine. During this time, the brain is trying to produce dopamine and re-establish the dopamine stores in the brain. 

Finding Treatment for Meth Addiction

There are many treatment options available for meth addiction. Treatment can begin at detox through a drug detox center and continue to inpatient rehab, or it can be outpatient intensive in combination with therapy. Working with your doctor can help you decide what kind of treatment is best.  

Drug Detox Center

A drug detox center is a safe place for individuals to be supervised and supported through detox and withdrawal. Supervised by medical staff, the risks of suicide and other detox hazards, are minimized. Additionally, staff can prescribe medications to manage meth detox symptoms that are otherwise unavailable.

How Does Treatment Help?

Treatment helps by providing the support you need to recover and to maintain abstinence from meth. Treatment allows you to address your addiction in therapy and any underlying conditions or disorders. Treatment also will allow you access to medications that can help manage your symptoms and make recovery easier.

Meth Treatment Medication

Unfortunately, no medication can cure meth addiction or remove it from the body. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are mostly used in treating meth addiction. Other drugs may be prescribed if there are other disorders requiring treatment.

Why Does Meth Withdrawal Occur?

Essentially, withdrawal is a period where your body is trying to reset after use. Withdrawal from meth occurs because of how methamphetamine affects your brain’s natural reward system. The brain normally produces and releases a chemical known as dopamine.


Dopamine is the ‘feel-good’ chemical, and its release is the high that individuals experience when they take meth. However, once the effects of meth wear off, the brain is left depleted of dopamine, and symptoms of meth withdrawal set in.

Why Is Professional Help Necessary For Methamphetamine Withdrawal and Detox?

While many individuals choose to detox meth at home, it is recommended that it be supervised by a medical health professional. Although no medications work specifically to remove meth from the body, a health professional can prescribe medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, detoxing meth can cause severe dehydration and psychosis. During the initial phases, it is safest to have a health care professional on your team to help monitor you and address meth symptom warnings before they get out of hand.  

Help From a Professional

Getting help from a professional is crucial to recovery and maintaining sobriety. Recovery from meth addiction is difficult, but the path is much easier with the right support. According to your needs, there are many levels of support available, including:

Often it can be helpful to change your environment when going through detox and withdrawal because it can be triggering to remain in the space where use occurred. A medical professional can help guide you to the right care for you in your journey.

Effects of Meth Addiction

The effects of meth addiction are widespread. In the United States alone, approximately 1.5 million people suffer from meth addiction. Methamphetamine affects many systems in the body with disastrous effects. Outside the body, meth affects relationships, families, and society. 

In the US, the estimated economic burden associated with meth addiction is around 23.4 billion. This includes treatment costs, costs related to death, and costs related to criminal activity associated with methamphetamine.6

Dental Health

One of the most well-known effects of meth addiction is its effect on dental health. People who use methamphetamines are four times more likely to have cavities than those who do not. Gum disease, tooth decay, and dry mouth are common effects of prolonged methamphetamine use. 

Meth also affects the body's circulatory and respiratory system. Problems with the heart and cardiovascular system are among the leading causes of death for people who use meth. Because of the drug’s stress on the heart and circulatory system, a heart attack is a risk for those with meth addiction. 

Immune System

Additionally, meth use weakens your immune system putting you at risk for infection. This increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDs and hepatitis through intravenous administration of the drug. General risk for infection is also increased as meth causes itching of the skin, leading to open sores and bacterial infections.

How Does Meth Affect the Brain?


Lastly, meth addiction has devastating effects on the brain. Meth addiction affects the brain’s ability to create and release dopamine. Because of this, meth use can cause severe mood changes, psychosis, and irritability. Meth also affects the brain's ability to make decisions and increases the risk of stroke.

Meth Addiction vs. Meth Dependence

Often, meth addiction and meth dependence are used interchangeably. However, meth addiction typically refers to the compulsive need to take meth, where dependence is related to drug tolerance and body chemistry. 

While someone may have meth addiction, they may not be dependent on meth, especially if they are in the early stages of their addiction. Individuals who use longer are at higher risk of meth dependence, which occurs when tolerance begins to build, and they need meth to feel pleasure.

How to Quit Meth? 

While stopping meth use is a great first step, there are a few other things that you can do to be successful in quitting meth:

  • Discard drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Avoid high-risk places and people who deal and use drugs
  • Identify your triggers and learn refusal skills
  • Find support, either through family or treatment programs

Effects of Meth on Dopamine Levels

Methamphetamine works by hijacking your body's dopamine system. The sensation of high is created through the brain's release of dopamine. Once in your brain, meth triggers the release of dopamine, increasing the amount of free dopamine in your brain. At high doses, the amount of dopamine released is toxic to the brain leading to effects such as psychosis, confusion, coma, and death.

Meth also blocks your brain's ability to reuptake dopamine, so once it's used up in this way, your brain is left depleted. Meth also damages the receptors for dopamine and disrupts the brain's ability to make more.

Sensations of Withdrawal 


Because of this, once the effects of the drug wear off, dopamine levels in the brain drop off. This leads to the sensations of withdrawal and the experience of the crash. Dopamine affects the body's ability to feel good, motivated, think, and move. Without it, these things can be virtually impossible. Luckily, the damage to the dopamine system is not permanent, and recovery is possible.

Getting Treatment for Meth Addiction 

Help is available for meth addiction. Getting in touch with a reputable rehab facility for methamphetamine detox and longer-term care is an excellent first step in recovery.  

Is Meth Detox at Home Safe

If you are unable to undergo methamphetamine detox under the supervision of a health care provider, you may need to detox meth at home. While there is not a detox cleanse for meth commercially available, detoxing meth can be done at home safely if the proper precautions are taken. 

How to Detox from Methamphetamine at Home?

You may wonder how to detox meth at home or how long to detox meth for. The first 24-48 hours of detox are the hardest. You must drink a lot of electrolyte-rich fluid to avoid dehydration and get some rest. If you have an appetite currently, eating is always beneficial. Upon waking, you will most likely be hungry. 

Indications of Dehydrations or Psychological Distress

Make sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. Watch for symptom warning signs of dehydration as well as signs of psychological distress such as:

  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Violence
  • Anxiety

These symptoms are best managed by a medical professional. 

Tips For Safely Detoxing From Meth at Home

When attempting to undergo meth detox at home, make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, Gatorade, Pedialyte). This will act as a detox cleanse for meth
  • Get as much sleep as your body needs
  • Watch for changes and disturbances in behavior
  • Know when to involve a professional

Risks of Methamphetamine Home Detox

The main risks associated with detoxing meth at home are dehydration, death, or harm to others due to psychotic symptoms. Suicidal thoughts typically increase during detox. Suicidal thoughts paired with symptoms of psychosis can lead to a suicide attempt, making home detox riskier.

Begin Your Recovery From Meth Addiction With Ripple Ranch

If you are ready to take the next steps in your recovery, Ripple Ranch can help. Ripple Ranch offers inpatient and outpatient treatment for meth addiction, and a medically assisted detox cleanse from meth.

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