What to Expect When Quitting Meth


The physical withdrawal symptoms a person experiences while quitting meth are not as severe as for people quitting other types of drugs. That’s not to say, however, that quitting meth is any less difficult. Meth users can go through a variety of physical and intense emotional withdrawal symptoms, most common of which are fatigue, hunger, sleep cycle disruptions, restlessness, and cravings.


Psychological Withdrawal from Meth

While quitting meth, severe psychological withdrawal symptoms are most common, and they present the biggest challenges. As with all withdrawal symptoms, the severity will be affected by factors such as how long a person was addicted to meth, how much they used each day, and the presence of other medical conditions or additional drug use. After an addict’s last dose of meth, it takes about 24 to 48 hours for it to be cleared from their system. Methamphetamines essentially raise the levels of dopamine in a person’s brain. Dopamine affects a variety of psychological processes, and it most notably affects feelings of pleasure and reward. Methamphetamines also destroy dopamine receptors in the brain. After quitting meth, addicts can descend into a deep depression and experience anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure. Additional psychological withdrawal symptoms can include paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, agitation, suicidal thoughts, and vivid, lucid nightmares. All of these symptoms can be severe and may last for weeks, and depression can persist much longer.


Treatment for Meth Withdrawal

The best way to quit using meth is to detox in the safety of a medical center. Because meth withdrawal is mostly psychological, the detox center can provide a supportive atmosphere and try to keep patients comfortable. Many meth users are also detoxing from other drugs, too, however, so they may need to receive medical treatment for other withdrawal symptoms. In the process of quitting meth, a person may experience experience severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or sleep problems that last longer than one or two weeks. They might be treated with medication like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication (non-benzodiazepine), anti-psychotic medication, or sleep aids.

It can be difficult to treat these problems for those who are quitting meth, because it can be a long time, usually months, before their brain chemistry improves. In very severe cases, the damage done to a meth addict’s brain can be permanent. The most effective treatments are those that are multifaceted and may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling, education on drugs, addiction, and relapse, and a program (for example, a 12-step program specifically for meth addicts is Crystal Meth Anonymous). Former meth addicts may also need to get treatment for dental or skin problems, or other physical deterioration’s that occurred during their addiction. As long as a meth addict is willing to accept help and work toward change, a full recovery is achievable.

Quitting meth is a very serious life choice. Meth has very destructive qualities to it, and it is especially harmful to your body. Your best option is to detox, and then attend an addiction treatment center. Too often people try quitting meth without professorial help, and very rarely does it work out.

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  1. Michele says

    I just tried quitting and I am just like your husband only I am the meanest ugliest bitchiest evil c___ I don’t remember being like this the last time I quit which was a long time ago and I had been using for like 6 years then and quit for like 5 now its been about 9 years I am old now so i am more depressed than last time and the only reason I am quitting is because I don’t want to end up an old hag it may be too late for that tho I did not succeed this time but i am going to try again and again and again whatever it takes it may b too late but i will not let this shit win.

  2. says

    Iv been using meth of and on for a year would do it for like a week and then get clean and then I did it for 6 months straight, detoxed myself at home. Was sober for 5 months relapsed and used for 2 months straight. I’m almost 6 months sober and I really feel like getting high. I have a lot of health problems and I’m extremely lonely I sometimes wonder what the point is to get sober. My life isn’t good ether way.

  3. Johnny says

    It’s awesome to come across this website. I’ve been scared to google “trying to quit meth”, but i’m glad i finally did it. the notes you all have left on here give me a lot of hope. i’ve been using, at points abusing, meth for probably a decade now. there were times when it was very very dark (daily or every other day use), but for the last few years it’s more like every 10 to 30 days. sometimes more frequent, but in very small quantities so that i don’t lose too much sleep. the fact that i’ve been able to hold down a job, and actually be quite successful, only ads to my fucked up notion that i can continue to use this drug. i can not. i don’t want to. i need help and i’m going to get it. starting with this site.

    if any of you would be willing to chat with me online, please let me know. i’m looking for pointers and accountability. if you happen to live in the SF, perhaps you can recommend a support group and/or therapist.

    thank you all for posting your stories of successful recovery…. it’s incredibly helpful for those of us starting that journey.

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