How Long Does It Take to Detox from Meth?

Meth detox looks different for everyone. Learn about what to expect during detox as well as treatment options for recovery.

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Meth Detox: Everything You Need to Know

Meth detox and withdrawal is what happens when someone who has a meth substance abuse disorder stops using or cuts back on meth use. The effects of meth will begin to wear off within the first 24-48 hours of stopping, but once these effects have worn off, detox and withdrawal symptoms begin. These symptoms can last for weeks as the body cleanses itself from the substance.1

Meth Detox

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Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth withdrawal can be both physically and mentally taxing on the body. This is largely due to its effect on dopamine levels. Some physical symptoms of withdrawal include exhaustion, appetite changes, muscle fatigue, nausea, and headaches.2

Mental symptoms of meth detox can manifest as anxiety, paranoia, suicidal feelings, intense cravings, irritability, and hallucinations.3

Meth Withdrawal Timeline

The meth detox timeline is different for everyone. It can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the person and how long they were using meth. The physical process of detoxing meth, when symptoms are most severe, can last for up to two or three days. 

After this point, symptoms begin to decrease in intensity. However, symptoms tend to linger for a while after the body has physically detoxed. Some people develop what is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS. For those with PAWS, symptoms such as depression, suicidal thoughts, and intense cravings can last months after detox.4

What to Expect During Meth Detox

During meth detox, some discomfort is to be expected. Meth use is hard on the body over time, and it can take some time to recover from. People who are older or who have a long history of meth use tend to have more intense detox symptoms. Also, those who are already struggling with mental and physical health may also struggle more during the withdrawal and detox process.

What Happens During Meth Withdrawal?

During meth withdrawal, your body is working hard to remove toxins left behind by meth use, as meth causes changes to levels of certain brain chemicals. Meth withdrawal is also a time when your brain is trying to reset itself and restabilize. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and symptoms can be difficult to manage on your own. There are a few key steps to the withdrawal process: evaluation, stabilization, and transition into further treatment. These will be detailed below.


When first arriving at a detox center, the physician will take some time in getting to know you and your medical history. They will ask questions about your use as well as general health questions. Typically, a blood test is done as well. The physician will also do a short screening to determine if you have any other conditions needing treatment.


Once the physician has enough background information, the initial treatment can begin. Medications are prescribed at this time to help manage withdrawal symptoms, and efforts are taken so you remain comfortable.

Transition Into Further Treatment

Transitioning into further treatment is necessary for getting and staying sober, as addressing physical detox symptoms is just a small part of recovery. Transitioning to a longer-term treatment program will help you in making the changes needed to stay sober in the long run.

Medications Used to Assist Meth Detox

Medication is often used to assist meth detox and address symptoms like insomnia or cravings. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are also medically managed during detox through the use of prescription anti-depressants. Soreness is also common during meth detox and is usually managed by over-the-counter pain relievers.

How Long Does Meth Detox Take?

The length of detox depends on many factors, so it can be hard to predict how long it will take. Regardless of length, meth detox can be broken into three individual stages.

Stage One: Crashing

Once the effects of meth wear off, people experience a “crash.” This is the first stage of meth detox and is arguably the most difficult. This stage starts within a day or two of your last use. The first symptom to set in is usually fatigue and feeling immensely hungry is also common. 

This is because meth use often suppresses appetite, and it can be hard to properly fuel your body when using. Feelings of anxiety, depression, psychosis, paranoia, and irritability are also common.

Stage Two: Cravings

Around the two-week mark, cravings intensify. At this time, symptoms of sleepiness and increased appetite will be less noticeable, as the body is more impacted by the cravings for meth.

Stage Three: Rehabilitation

The final stage of withdrawal is rehabilitation. Eventually, all of the symptoms of withdrawal will dissipate. Working with a therapist or rehab center is important in this phase to maintain sobriety for the future.

Meth Withdrawal: Risks & Outlook

Some risks come with meth withdrawal. However, withdrawal doesn’t last forever, and the benefits of getting clean outweigh the risks of withdrawal. Getting in touch with a drug detox center can help reduce these risks and improve your chances of making a safe recovery as well.

Are Withdrawal and Detox from Meth Dangerous?

Meth detox and withdrawal can be dangerous. Meth detox risks include dehydration, nutritional imbalances, severe depression, and psychosis. These risks can escalate, leading to self-harm or harm to others. Additionally, heart complications, stroke, and seizure are all possible during detox. 

While it may be tempting to turn to other substances during detox, it isn’t helpful in the long run. It is important to find healthy ways to cope with these symptoms, so you stay safe and sober for a long time. Supporting your body with balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising can help reduce symptoms. Most importantly, extend yourself grace and compassion during this time, as detoxing from meth is immensely difficult and requires both self-kindness and patience.

Can You Die from Meth Withdrawal?

It is very rare to die from meth withdrawal. However, meth withdrawal can cause psychotic and depressive symptoms. These symptoms can be extreme, causing people to be a danger to themselves and others. Thoughts of self-harm, violence, and suicide also increase during withdrawal. Without support, individuals might find themselves acting on these urges, which is why withdrawing at a supportive medical facility is important.

What Does Withdrawal Do to the Brain?

During withdrawal, the brain’s dopamine stores are very low. This leads to withdrawal symptoms like mood changes and anxiety. These symptoms are common while the brain tries to readjust and fix the chemical imbalance caused by meth use.

Finding Treatment for Meth Addiction

It is important to get outside support and treatment while undergoing detox and withdrawal. Inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient, and group and individual therapy are all treatment options. It’s best to speak with your doctor or a substance abuse counselor to ensure that you are getting the right care.

Drug Detox Center

A drug detox center is a facility for those who need to detox safely. These centers offer constant care and supervision. The high level of support minimizes the risk of medical complications during detox. Also, medications can be prescribed at the detox center to manage difficult symptoms. Using a drug detox center can make transitioning into further treatment easier.

How Does Treatment Help?

Treatment programs such as Profound help by providing the support a person needs to make changes in their life required for recovery. Treatment aims to address the reasons for the addiction in the first place, which can help prevent relapse. 

Also, treatment focuses heavily on education and skills training, so you can be successful once you finish the program. Refusal skills, healthy coping strategies, and life management are all things you will learn during meth detox treatment.

Meth Treatment Medication

Medication is often used to help manage symptoms of detox and withdrawal. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are used to address symptoms that come along with detoxing. Modafinil is sometimes prescribed to help manage symptoms like these as well.

Why Does Meth Withdrawal Occur?

When someone who has a substance abuse disorder suddenly stops using substances, withdrawal occurs. This is because of meth’s effect on the brain and body. Long-term meth use damages the reward pathway in the brain due to its effects on dopamine. 

Dopamine is our feel-good chemical, and handles how we think, feel and act. Meth use over time drops dopamine levels and damages parts of the brain that are used to make more. The lack of dopamine is what causes withdrawal symptoms.

Why is Professional Help Necessary for Methamphetamine Withdrawal and Detox?

Professional help is necessary for meth withdrawal because there are a lot of things that can make detox potentially dangerous. Having professional supervision can minimize these complications and risks. Additionally, having professional support allows for symptom management through prescription medication.

Effects of Meth Addiction

Meth use affects every system in the body. Meth causes changes to the brain that disrupt the way you think, act, and feel. Meth use also can lead to dental issues and heart and lung problems. Meth also can damage the immune system and increases the risk of infection. With a weakened immune system, it is difficult for the body to fight off bacterial infections from meth-related skin picking.

Meth Addiction vs. Meth Dependence

Although meth addiction and meth dependence are related, they are different things. When someone is addicted to meth, they feel a strong uncontrollable desire to use meth. However, meth dependence is a chemical dependency. Over time, the body can’t produce enough dopamine on its own due to the amount of dopamine released by meth, which is significantly more than what the body can do on its own. 

Once the body can’t meet its own dopamine needs, a chemical dependency develops. In meth dependence, the body depends on meth to release dopamine to feel good. Not everyone who is addicted to meth is dependent on it. Those who have been using meth for a long time are more likely to have meth dependence.


The first step to quitting meth use is getting in touch with either a detox center or your doctor. Also, it is important to get rid of any drugs or drug paraphernalia. Not having these risks around can help prevent relapse. 

Cutting out people who deal or use drugs is another crucial step in preventing relapse. It is also good to avoid high-risk places that may trigger drug use or relapse. Through treatment, you will learn more about your risk factors as well as refusal skills. These new skills will be key in helping you maintain sobriety.

Getting Treatment for a Meth Addiction

Meth addiction often requires professional treatment. Getting help is a key component in getting and staying sober. Inpatient rehab, outpatient programs, support groups, and therapy are all treatment options. Working with a detox and treatment center can help you decide on the treatment that is right for you.

Is Meth Detox Safe at Home?

Meth detox on its own isn’t normally fatal, but it can be extreme. Because meth detox depends on so many things, it can be hard to predict what detox will be like at home. Also, withdrawal symptoms of meth addiction can last a long time and be difficult to manage on your own.

How to Detox from Meth at Home

While not recommended, it is essential to know what to do in case of an emergency home detox. The first 24-48 hours are typically when symptoms are at their worst. During this time, it is very important to take care of your body. Make sure you are staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and electrolyte-rich beverages.

Increased hunger is also common during meth detox. Give your body what it needs by fueling it with nutritious meals. Also, plan to sleep a lot. Detox is exhausting, and your body heals best when it can rest. Lastly, be on the lookout for signs that you need to call a professional. Symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations, violence, feelings of self-harm, and anxiety are best managed by professionals.

Tips for Safely Detoxing from Meth at Home

Not everyone has the option to detox at a treatment center. Detoxing at home can be made safer through these tips:

  • Don’t forget to hydrate. Water helps your body flush out toxins and is needed for detox. Making sure you get enough water is important to prevent dehydration. Electrolyte drinks like Pedialyte or Gatorade also prevent dehydration.
  • Get good sleep. Exhaustion is common during meth detox. Getting good rest can help your body recover faster.
  • Avoid things like alcohol, sugar, or processed foods.
  • Symptoms like depression and anxiety can be managed through exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which are feel-good chemicals.
  • Don’t go it alone. Psychological symptoms of meth detox can have serious consequences. Having someone else there to watch for warning signs can help keep you safe. Also, it is important to know when to contact a professional.
Meth Detox

Risks of Methamphetamine Home Detox

Meth detox at home can be risky. For one, detoxing at home puts you at risk for severe dehydration. Detox usually involves a lot of sweating, as this is one of the ways your body gets rid of toxins. Often during home detox, it can be hard to drink the right amount of fluid to make up for the losses. Dehydration can lead to salt imbalances in the body, which can be dangerous. 

Another risk of home detox is some of the psychological symptoms of detox. These types of thoughts can lead to dangerous behaviors with serious consequences if not managed properly.

Begin Your Recovery from Meth Addiction Today with Profound

With the right help, making a complete recovery from meth addiction is possible. Addiction is a complicated disease that often requires professional help. At Profound Treatment, our treatment options are as unique as you are. 

We offer personalized treatment plans that tend to our patients holistically and with compassion. Our team of dedicated staff is here for you every step of the way, from meth detox to complete recovery. Take the first step toward detox today by contacting us.

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