What is the Withdrawal Timeline for Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant associated with compulsive use and a range of potentially devastating health consequences.1

Prolonged and/or heavy methamphetamine use can lead to significant physiological dependence. People who develop meth dependence may experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to reduce or stop use. The uncomfortable symptoms of stimulant withdrawal may develop within a few days and last as long as several weeks for chronic users.1, 2

This page will explore what happens during meth withdrawal and how to get help if you or someone you love has developed a stimulant addiction.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Man lying on his couch wrapped in a blanket and rubbing his head as if he has a headache or is in pain.The symptoms associated with meth withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, but they can be unpleasant. They may include:1–3

  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lethargy (sometimes preceded by psychomotor agitation).
  • Depression and dysphoria (intense feelings of unhappiness, unease, and dissatisfaction).
  • Paranoia or other psychotic features.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Headaches.
  • Insomnia or over-sleeping.
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Meth cravings.

The physical symptoms of stimulant withdrawal are typically less severe than those associated with detox from other substances such as heroin and alcohol, and the risk of medical complications is generally lower. As a result, meth withdrawal management may require relatively less intensive medical interventions. Also, there are currently no medications specifically approved for stimulant detox.3

Perhaps the greatest risk of stimulant withdrawal involves the potential for self-harm. The period of depression experienced by amphetamine users may be more prolonged and intense than withdrawal from other stimulants, like cocaine.3 The potential to develop a profound dysphoria is of specific concern for people withdrawing from meth, since, in some cases, it might lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. People detoxing from methamphetamine should be carefully monitored for these risks.2, 3

Additionally, some people with stimulant use disorders may also be at risk of experiencing polysubstance withdrawal, if substances like alcohol, sedatives, or opi­oids are consistently used to self-medicate or otherwise counter effects of the stimulant “comedown .”2 The withdrawal syndromes associated with these additional substances may complicate the withdrawal picture as a whole, as they may require specific management of their own to keep a person safe throughout detox.2, 3

How Long Is Meth Withdrawal?

The length of meth withdrawal can vary depending on different factors. For many people, symptoms may develop a few hours to several days after the last use, and are usually most severe in the initial days. Some symptoms resolve within a few days, but others have the potential to persist for several weeks.2, 3, 5

Chronic meth use at higher doses may affect or extend the withdrawal timeline.2

Meth Withdrawal & Detox Timeline

Clinicians categorize meth withdrawal into different phases. The length of each stage may increase or decrease based on variables, such as regularity of use and dosage. The below is a general breakdown of timing and symptoms associated with these phases.2–4

Medical Detox for Meth Withdrawal

Many leading-edge addiction treatment facilities, like Sunrise House Treatment Center in New Jersey, offer medical detox, which helps patients undergo withdrawal as comfortably as possible. Because of certain risks associated with stimulant withdrawal—such as the potential for marked dysphoria/depression and, sometimes, associated suicidal thoughts or actions—detox in a professional setting under medical supervision can help keep a person safe in early recovery.

Though important, medical detox and withdrawal management comprise only the first step on the road to long-term sobriety. While detox may provide a starting point, it is not in itself comprehensive treatment for addiction. Effective substance use disorder treatment addresses the whole spectrum of issues that underlie a person’s addiction, including any co-occurring disorders.5

Sunrise House offers a full continuum of rehab care, from medical detox and residential programs to intensive outpatient and beyond, and each course of treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific and unique needs.

The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance companies to cover addiction treatment to some extent.6 In addition, Sunrise House offers financing and flexible payment plans to defray any uncovered or additional costs.

Fill out the form below to learn more about what type of treatment your insurance plan may cover. Or call us at to speak with one of our admissions navigators who can discuss your options and what to expect upon arrival.

It’s important to know that while your situation may feel hopeless right now, addiction is treatable.5 If you or someone you love has lost control of their meth use, we are here to help you find hope and lasting recovery.

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