Crystal Meth Withdrawal & Comedown: Symptoms and Treatment

Last Updated: December 16, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Meth withdrawal is a gruelling process that can cause many life-threatening side effects since methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous drugs available to people that can lead to addiction.

Methamphetamine affects one’s mental health and triggers changes in the central nervous system (CNS) and brain. Additionally, as the user’s system continually absorbs Meth, it becomes reliant on the substance. As a result, the user is unable to function without it properly. If the user skips a dose or two or quits, the body will feel the drug absence. Methamphetamine withdrawal is basically the body readjusting without the drug it became dependent on. Moreover, symptoms vary for each individual. For example, some go through mild withdrawal symptoms, while others face excruciating pain as their system tries to readjust.

Meth Comedown

The comedown from methamphetamine is just the opposite of the high. When someone binges on methamphetamine, they go through two distinct phases. The first is а high, followed by a low. The comedown corresponds to the low phase. After a single dose, the comedown is similar to a hangover following a night of drinking alcohol at a bar.

Both comedowns and withdrawals are caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the user’s brain. A comedown, which is also called a crash or a down, is a common occurrence amongst people who abuse the substance. It is a bit different and typically less severe than withdrawal symptoms, which can be life-threatening. Nevertheless, the psychological strain of a methamphetamine comedown could lead a person to harm themselves or others.

Man suffering from meth comedown.

Coming down off methamphetamine is associated with intense feelings of sleepiness, hunger, anxiety, and depression. A depressed mood or dysphoria is the most characteristic sign of meth comedown. These feelings of despair are often more severe than those seen with cocaine withdrawal or heroin comedown. Essentially, it is a short-term effect of excessive drug intake. During this phase, the blood level of the drug drops down drastically.

The Result Is a Series Of Unpleasant Symptoms, Including:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sleep problems
  • Inability to focus
  • Changes in eating patterns (for example, intense hunger)

Most users tend to take the drug consistently to sustain feelings of euphoria and avoid symptoms of withdrawal. This is a dangerous practice that feeds the addiction.

Meth Comedown Remedies: How to Come Down Off Methamphetamine

Unfortunately, there is no “miracle” medication for crystal meth addiction that can make a comedown easy or erase the effects instantly. It takes time and effort for an addict to feel better again. Most of the approaches to addiction recovery from this drug are supportive in nature. The aim is to improve the addict’s general health and nutritional status.

Consider The Following Tips to Ease Meth Comedown:

  • Stay hydrated. An increased intake of water and other fluids is recommended. This helps fight fatigue and weakness. Besides, water is essential to maintain body temperature. Fruit juices can be consumed, but carbonated drinks should be avoided as they are dehydrating and can cause a sharp fluctuation in blood glucose levels. This can cause a deterioration in symptoms.
  • Eat healthily. Binge on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. These foods supply all the necessary nutrients to help speed up recovery during methamphetamine deaddiction.
  • Take multivitamins. Abuse of methamphetamines depletes the store of vitamins in the body. In addition, abusers are likely to be careless about diet and nutrition during a “trip.” Vitamin pills can prove to be a good short-term solution to meet the nutritional demands of the recovering addict’s body.
  • Get plenty of rest. Sufficient sleep may not be the easiest thing for a recovering addict to achieve, but quality sleep is essential to calm down the overstimulated brain. If it is difficult to fall asleep, consider taking some over-the-counter sleep aids. However, this is not a long-term solution to a sleep problem. It may be a good idea to read a book or watch a movie on television. This simple technique is effective for many people.
  • Stay active. Exercise of any kind is beneficial because it increases the blood flow and oxygen supply in the body. Moreover, working out also increases the levels of “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This helps cope with irritability and low moods. However, it is important for the recovering addict to avoid overstressing. Light exercises, such as walking or low-impact cardio, are recommended.

The keys to a faster recovery from meth comedown are good food, enough water, and quality sleep.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal symptoms are both physical and mental in nature. In fact, the intensity of the symptoms on the body and mental health varies, depending on the amount and the duration of the drug abuse. Furthermore, if a Methamphetamine addict used other drugs with Meth, withdrawal symptoms could be extreme. Meth withdrawal is not advised without proper medical treatment because some symptoms may be life-threatening.

Psychological  Symptoms Of Meth Withdrawal Include:

  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate

Physical Symptoms Of Meth Withdrawal Include:

  • Intense craving for methamphetamines
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Fever, chills
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypertension
  • Heart palpitations
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizures

Withdrawal of methamphetamine after long-term abuse results in an inability to feel pleasure because of a lack of dopamine and dopamine receptors. It can take up to two years to restore dopamine balance in the addict’s brain. Methamphetamine addicts frequently relapse because they struggle with severe depression and are unable to continue recovery.

Duration of Meth Withdrawal

Depending on the method one uses to quit, withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a week to several months. If a person quits methamphetamine “cold turkey,” withdrawal symptoms will reach their peak around the 24-hour mark. However, because different kinds of meth can stay in one’s system for as long as three days, others can expect withdrawal symptoms to peak somewhere between days 2 and 5 after their last use.

The duration mainly depends on the users’ history of Meth use, like how heavily and frequently they used the substance.

The Time Span Of Withdrawal Also Majorly Depends On Various Other Factors, Such As:

  • The user’s method of abuse (swallowing, snorting, smoking, or injecting)
  • Metabolism (how quickly the body can eliminate the substance)
  • Tolerance
  • Overall health
  • Severity of addiction
  • Duration of addiction

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

Methamphetamine withdrawal starts within the first two days after the last dose of the drug was taken. Moreover, the process can last from a few weeks or can continue up to three months.

Day Symptoms
Days 1-3 Between the first and third day, extreme fatigue may set in, and users might find it hard to stay awake. As a result, they will sleep more than usual. This is also accompanied by a mild case of depression.
Days 4-10 During the period, the user may be tempted to revert to the drug and has to refuse strong cravings to use again. During this time frame, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and sleepless nights happen commonly. In addition, other severe symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations, and extreme anxiety, headaches, and soreness.
Days 11-30 Some of the physical symptoms may wear off between Day 11 and Day 30. However, most users reported that they continue to experience insomnia, depression, and unceasing cravings for meth.
Days 31-40 When addicts reach the one month mark, they usually start to feel better and function normally. However, depression and lack of motivation still linger on. Their Meth cravings usually fade away, but they may still face the temptation to start using again.

Treatment for Meth Withdrawal

Detox is the first step of a long journey to a drug-free life. Crystal meth detox refers to a gradual reduction in their doses. Of course, the aim is to clear the last molecule of the drug from the body. Moreover, a patient may achieve some medications to ease this process. These will try to counter unpleasant symptoms during the process.

Doctor supporting his patient.

There is no specified or FDA-approved medication used in the treatment for crystal meth withdrawal; most medications are supportive and used alongside other therapy forms for maximum results.

Some Drugs Used For Treatment For Meth Addiction Are:

  • Modafinil: when combined with extensive management therapy, Modafinil shows promising results as one of the best treatments for meth addiction.
  • Topiramate: some rehabs compare the progress of methamphetamine addicts before and after using this medication, and it was found to be effective.
  • Naltrexone: As one of the medications for methamphetamine addiction, the drug is known to increase the potential for reduced use.
  • Bupropion: may be used for treatment for methamphetamine addiction in light-user stages.

The Following Drugs Have Been Said To Reduce the Cravings:

  • Nicotine
  • Rivastigmine
  • Dextroamphetamine

Those looking for a safe way to detox may enter into an extended inpatient rehab program if other methods have been tried and have failed, or a shorter-term detox program as a more cost-effective alternative. At inpatient rehab centers, patients first go through the detox process. This is when meth withdrawal symptoms start to appear. Therefore, as part of their treatment plan, the majority of centers provide medically assisted detox.

For Meth addicts who can still function normally in their daily life, outpatient treatment is also an option. This also includes outpatient medical detox.

Meth Relapse

Incidentally, most Meth addicts will relapse. This will happen within three years of going for treatment. This is according to research. Withdrawal symptoms for those who use Methamphetamine can last up to 8 months. Meanwhile, regular users’ withdrawal symptoms can last up to 3 years. As a result, this makes meth relapse harder to resist. It doesn’t matter whether it was used regularly or occasionally.

When meth relapse occurs, it’s not just a physical thing. It’s an emotional and psychological issue, as well.

Girl about to relapse.

The person who has a methamphetamine relapse is usually so filled with guilt and shame that they try to hide in the next hit. Therein lies the circle. There’s a reason that drug and alcohol users continue going to meetings long after their last use. It’s easy to have a methamphetamine relapse and take that first hit, no matter how long a user has been clean and sober. Telling yourself that just one time won’t get me back into using is a self-deceit. Once the line is crossed, users have to start detox all over again.

There are other ways that users can find to help to keep themselves from meth relapse. Meditation and spiritual practices are one way; walking, hiking, even playing with a pet can help. Getting to a calm state of being is the goal. Therefore, find out what alternative works best. Then, follow through on that activity.

Inpatient rehabs are the best possible solution for those who choose to undergo the withdrawal process. Because withdrawal symptoms are severe, it is strongly advised that users should seek help and shouldn’t do the process alone. At inpatient rehab centers, patients first go through the detox process. This is when meth withdrawal symptoms start to appear. Therefore, as part of their treatment plan, the majority of centers provide medically assisted detox.

Outpatient treatment is also an option for addicts who can still function normally in their daily lives. This also includes outpatient medical detox.

 


Page Sources

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Published on: March 23rd, 2017

Updated on: December 16th, 2020

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.