During acute withdrawal the symptoms peak in severity and last for between one and two weeks. During post-acute withdrawal the most severe symptoms subside, but a person might experience lingering symptoms like depression, anxiety or drug cravings for several months.
What Causes Meth Withdrawal?
Methamphetamine has a significant impact on the central nervous system and the brain. Over time, naturally occurring neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine become depleted. Both of these neurotransmitters control things like mood, sleep and appetite. When a person uses methamphetamine, the brain releases large quantities of these chemicals, leading to feelings of pleasure and euphoria and encouraging repetitive drug use. If a person uses methamphetamine repeatedly, their brain becomes unable to produce serotonin and dopamine on its own. Withdrawal occurs when a person stops using methamphetamine suddenly and when these chemicals have been fully depleted. The symptoms associated with withdrawal begin to subside as the natural store of these chemicals is replenished.
Is Meth Detox Always Necessary?
While the physical symptoms associated with methamphetamine withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, they can be uncomfortable when left untreated. Additionally, the psychological symptoms associated with methamphetamine withdrawal can be severe, and can lead to serious complications like hyperventilation, delusions and suicidal ideation. Even if a person has been battling a mild or short-lived addiction, entering into a medical detox facility always comes as a recommended first step on the road to recovery.
Treatment Options for Meth Withdrawal
The best treatment options for methamphetamine withdrawal depend on the unique case. In the majority of cases, the most uncomfortable symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal can be treated with rest, relaxation and over-the-counter medications like high-dose ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It is important to note that medical detox is only the first stage of the addiction treatment process, and detox rarely works as a standalone treatment option. In order to maintain sobriety a person should consider transitioning immediately into a higher level of care, like residential inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization.