Drug and Alcohol

Crystal Meth Withdrawal: Signs of Use, Symptoms, & Treatment

Crystal meth withdrawal can be extremely difficult. However, with the right help, addiction to crystal meth can be treated. Learn more in our blog!

Crystal Meth Withdrawal: Signs of Use, Symptoms, & Treatment

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

February 22, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Crystal meth, a form of the stimulant methamphetamine, is a powerfully addictive drug. It's easy to get addicted quickly to this street drug. Fortunately, addiction to crystal meth is treatable.

However.

Crystal meth withdrawal might be deadly if you don't know how to detox properly. Understand that it is always advisable to seek help from skilled professionals at a treatment facility to protect you or your dear ones battling crystal meth dependency. Read on to discover further about meth abuse, crystal meth symptoms of withdrawal, and how to receive therapy for crystal meth dependency.

By the Numbers

Overdose deaths in the United States utilizing stimulants apart from cocaine have increased dramatically in recent years. The primary cause of these deaths is methamphetamine. Methamphetamine use disorders (MUDs) without injection quadrupled among those aged 18-23 years, according to the 2015-2019 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), far outpacing the growth among older age groups.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal: What Is Crystal Meth?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that crystal meth, shaped like rocks and crystals, is derived from the prescription drug amphetamine. This derivative is stronger and more effective than amphetamine, although both have common effects.

Crystal meth is a supremely addictive stimulant known for its euphoric effects on the mind, but it eventually leads to greater brain and spinal cord damage. 

Methamphetamine usage is sold in an illegitimate format making it highly lethal among the country's population. Easy availability and advertising are. Like many other addictive drugs, crystal meth increases the production of dopamine in the body. This creates enormously pleasurable sensations. Crystal meth's effects are so powerful people go out of their way to purchase this toxic substance. These sensations trap people in a dependency pattern to consume even more. 

Medline Plus has stated various street names used as an alternative to methamphetamines. They are mentioned below:

  • Chalk

  • Christina

  • Tina

  • Glass

  • Speed

  • Bathtub crank or bath salts

  • Fire

  • Uppers

  • Chicken feed

  • Beanies

  • Redneck cocaine

  • Scooby snacks

  • Ice

  • Tweek

  • Rocket fuel

  • Gak

  • Crissy

Crystal Meth: Signs of Crystal Meth Abuse

Unlike some other drugs, crystal meth abuse can be fairly easy to recognize. That’s not a good thing; rather, it’s testimony to crystal meth’s awful potency. There are a wide variety of physical and mental signs of crystal meth abuse.

Crystal Meth: Physical Signs

The most famous sign of crystal meth abuse is “meth mouth,” extreme dental damage caused by crystal meth, and physical neglect. Other signs are:

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Dilated pupils

  • Facial sores from picking skin

  • Constant scratching

  • High blood pressure and rapid heart rate

  • High body temperature

  • Organ damage

  • Seizures

Crystal Meth: Mental Signs

Crystal meth has devastating effects on the brain and nervous system:

  • “Tweaking” – aggressive, violent, and unpredictable behavior

  • Aggression

  • A habit of taking things apart

  • Memory problems

  • Extreme energy and agitation

  • Intense mood wings

  • Paranoia

  • Psychosis: A disconnect with reality

  • Hallucinations

  • Poor motor skills

  • Intense insomnia – someone using crystal meth may not sleep for days

These severe symptoms can rapidly lead to legal problems and worse. Contact The Edge Treatment Center immediately if you or a loved one are showing these symptoms.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal: Why Is Crystal Meth So Addictive?

One of the most popular forms of the stimulant methamphetamine, crystal meth, is very powerful. It can be ground into a powder, enabling it to be ingested in various ways, such as by swallowing, smoking, snorting, or injecting, as stated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Methamphetamine's color ranges from white to yellow to brown to gray to orange or pink. Since it releases dopamine in your system, crystal meth is highly addictive. Your body automatically generates a type of neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is widely termed as a neurotransmitter in the brain since your neurological system uses it to communicate across nerve cells.

Dopamine also significantly impacts how humans perceive because the molecule regulates ambition, drive, and addictions. When the body's dopamine levels become high, it can create sensations of delight or happiness. As a result, consuming substances that enhance serotonin synthesis in the body, such as crystal meth, could become dangerously addictive.

Finally, consuming chemicals such as crystal meth gives your body an adrenaline rush, resulting in sensations of immense satisfaction. Of course, with frequent usage of crystal meth, such feelings of ecstasy become more challenging to duplicate. This traps consumers in a never-ending loop of seeking euphoric highs. This loop is what makes it so tough to quit using crystal meth. However, when performed under the supervision of experienced medical practitioners at a drug rehab, healing is always possible.

Whether you or a loved one are battling crystal meth addiction, keep reading to learn about certain common warning signs and symptoms of meth addiction and a few long-term implications of methamphetamine use to be mindful of.

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Signs and Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal 

Various individuals experience certain meth withdrawal effects from methamphetamine or crystal meth. The severity and persistence of meth symptoms of withdrawal can vary depending on a number of variables, including the person's method of administration, dosing frequency, narcotic potency, level of intoxication, background with withdrawal, the length of time they utilized meth, history of meth use, and other factors.

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms list includes:

  • Lethargy and tiredness

  • Agitation

  • Increased weight

  • Panic attacks

  • Lack of concentration

  • Unable to do easy tasks 

  • Act aggressively or impulsive

  • Goosebumps

  • Reduced energy

  • Sleeplessness

  • Drug temptations

  • Mood swings

  • Sleeping too much

  • Abstaining from family and friends

  • Spending time alone

  • Not feeling happy or excited about good things

Long-term meth withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression

  • Schizophrenia

  • Nose bleed

  • High chance of contracting HIV or hepatitis

  • Brain cell damage

  • Liver or lung failure

  • Suicidal behavior or impulses.

  • Effects on oral health

  • Changes in mood

Cravings can be intense and difficult to manage during crystal meth withdrawal. This frequently results in a recurrence of drug usage or an addiction relapse. Crystal meth withdrawal effects can be excruciatingly painful but can be cured before becoming fatal. Whether you or anyone you know is addicted to meth and wishes to quit, you should read further about meth pullout.

Withdrawal can be difficult, but sound drug detox can help you survive and manage the removal process securely and painlessly.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal Timeline

The crystal meth withdrawal stages are driven by the exact variables that impact symptom intensity and are affected by someone's usage behaviors, including whether they consume and collapse or are a persistent or regular meth abuser. Crystal meth withdrawal often starts within twenty-four hours following the previous usage and can persist anywhere from a few days to many weeks.

Severe side effects, such as distress, agitation, and irritability, usually begin and spike soon after an individual stops using (meaning within 24 hours following their last usage). According to studies, rapid withdrawal symptoms typically range from seven to ten days, with urges becoming the most common complaint; intense withdrawal effects may linger up to two weeks after a person's last drug consumption.

Extended abstinence is characterized by side effects comparable to the severe impacts but is often gentler and much more consistent. They usually linger for another two to three weeks after the completion of the intense withdrawal phase. 

Pharmacologically controlled detox (the administration of drugs during the recovery period) can help to maintain a comfortable and secure withdrawal while reducing the chance of return.

What Causes Crystal Meth Withdrawal?

Like many addictive drugs, crystal meth is often used recreationally or as a way to self-medicate. However, crystal meth's sheer potency makes this a very dangerous drug to use or even experiment with.

Reliance on this drug can occur after multiple dosages. Its physical addiction occurs when a person consumes crystal meth to the limit that the mind and body become habitual of its effects. If the consumption pattern is disturbed and someone stops using this drug, the withdrawal effects are bound to arise. Because crystal meth withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, people keep using crystal meth to stave off withdrawal.

Crystal meth is also like other addictive drugs in that it causes tolerance over prolonged use. Basically, the body gets used to the presence of meth in the body and requires higher and higher dosages of meth to produce the same effects. This also drives addiction, and can also cause a meth overdose. A fatal complication of crystal meth abuse, methamphetamine overdose can rapidly become deadly.

Dependence occurs due to changes in the brain's reward system caused by recurrent meth consumption, most notably in the dopaminergic system. When a person takes meth, their brain produces abnormally high levels of dopamine, the chemical messenger responsible for emotions of happiness and fulfillment. Whenever somebody takes meth regularly and becomes acclimated to the enjoyment and ecstasy that accompanies it, their "pleasure sensors" become sharpened, and they experience problems meeting happiness through naturally produced items such as food, workout, and love.

This reduced enjoyment response may encourage their motivation to continue using the medication. Amphetamine users are frequently unable to find satisfaction in anything besides meth.

Can a single dosage lead to crystal meth withdrawal? There is insufficient evidence to suggest that consuming meth just once will result in side effects. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drawdown happens when people who have become addicted to crystal meth discontinue or lessen their drug intake.

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Crystal Meth Withdrawal Treatment

Crystal meth detox removes the substance from the bloodstream as a group of medical specialists assists the individual in managing the physical symptoms. Detoxification is frequently the initial stage of crystal meth withdrawal. During drug detox for crystal meth, the substance is allowed to leave the body in a safe and controlled fashion.

Most individuals will benefit from ongoing drug treatment for crystal meth addiction, including inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab. Individuals who participate in a medically supervised detox facility can get help finding places to continue addiction treatment.

Treatment for crystal meth addiction includes:

  • Supervising overall healthcare risks. Because meth detoxification can potentially cause sadness or suicidal ideation, professional surveillance can assist someone in remaining safe.

  • Offering discipline and assistance. This might aid an individual in focusing on healing and preparing for further rehabilitation.

  • Cutting ties from their crystal meth abuse. This might help lessen desires triggered by external cues, which can contribute to recurrence.

  • If required, dietary assistance will be provided. Meth use is linked to bodyweight loss and poor nourishment; individuals battling meth addiction may require assistance such as relatively large or higher-calorie diets, potassium supplements, or contact with a nutrition professional.

After drug detox, folks may attend intensive rehabilitation or outpatient services, as stated previously. Expert treatment in the form of various psychological interventions can give multiple benefits, including:

  • Assisting an individual in learning how to avoid relapsing.

  • Educating a patient on better adapting and methods for managing stress.

  • Helping a patient in identifying and dealing with the root causes of their addictive behavior.

Residential rehab offers the additional advantage of continuous surveillance and assistance to help people remain safe and handle any underlying issues that may arise. This additional help is significant if the person has life-threatening health conditions or co-occurring psychological problems.

Several behavioral interventions that can be utilized to assist a person in breaking their addiction to crystal meth are as follows:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This enables patients to recognize and modify unproductive or harmful attitudes and actions that lead to their substance usage. Some studies have shown that when paired with relapse prevention, CBT can be extremely efficacious in curing amphetamine dependence.

  • Positive reinforcement techniques are used in relapse prevention. It gives out physical incentives whenever anyone performs a specific activity (such as passing a sobriety test) and holds back the award if the objective is not fulfilled.

  • It is essential to ensure that a person receives an appropriate diet and activity throughout detoxification and during all phases of treatment to assist them in remaining strong until their rehabilitation.

What Do Doctors Prescribe for Crystal Meth Withdrawal?

As per the reports, there aren't any FDA-approved pharmacological tablets available to manage crystal meth withdrawal or any stimulant-initiated diseases. However, suppose a person participates in professionally supervised detoxification. In that case, they may be given supplementary drugs such as Modafinil to help ease a few withdrawal symptoms, including migraines or drowsiness.

Crystal Meth Withdrawal Hazards and Prospects

The most serious hazards of crystal meth discontinuation include possibly severe stress and aggressive ideas, which could also result in self-harm and suicide. Continuous monitoring, assistance, and guidance are required to assist individuals in efficiently navigating these hazards and remaining safe.

In addition, various variables, including medical concerns, psychiatric conditions, and polysubstance use, can exacerbate crystal meth withdrawal.

People can effectively detoxify from meth and recuperate from a substance abuse problem or meth addiction with the right treatment. Following detox, it is frequently necessary to stay in a rehabilitation program to assist someone in acquiring new skills, avoiding relapse, and strengthening their sobriety.

Unfortunately, the rate of therapy abandonment for amphetamine addiction is significant. While getting into treatment is necessary, staying in and surviving a rehabilitation program is essential for preventing the harmful repercussions of crystal meth dependence and abuse.

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Don't Attempt Crystal Meth Withdrawal Alone. The Edge Treatment Center Can Help

The Edge Treatment Center will help you find expert drug detox for crystal meth withdrawal. Our outpatient drug rehab maintains trusted relationships with the nation's leading drug detox centers, and we'll find the right crystal meth detox center for you.

When you enter our care, we'll help you build on the progress you made during crystal meth withdrawal. We'll help you reach a lifetime of recovery with every resource and tool you need.

Don't risk meth overdose or be intimidated by crystal meth withdrawal. The Edge Treatment Center will help you leave substance abuse behind. Call us today.

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