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Methamphetamines: ADDICTION, WITHDRAWAL & ALTERNATIVES

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, chemically similar to amphetamine, and is also referred to as meth, ice, crystal, crystal meth, crank, or speed.
It is primarily manufactured illegally and sold on the streets. However, methamphetamine is also the active ingredient in Desoxyn, a pharmaceutical drug used for the treatment of adult ADHD, among other off-label uses.

Can You Get Addicted to Methamphetamine?

Yes, methamphetamine is an addictive drug. Users can develop an addiction to methamphetamine quickly, and quitting meth can result in withdrawal symptoms. Methamphetamine disrupts normal function in the brain, affecting dopamine levels. Long term use of methamphetamine can cause a number of severe and sometimes permanent changes in the body and brain.
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Methamphetamine Side Effects

Methamphetamine has some of the most infamous side effects of any drug, and takes a violent toll on the body, affecting a person’s overall health, appearance, and hygiene. Methamphetamine users seek the drug for the effects of increased euphoria, energy, and alertness.

  • Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Significant weight Loss
  • Dry Mouth
  • Anxiety and Panic
  • Severe Mood Swings and Depression
  • Violent or Erratic Behaviors
  • Rapid Heartrate or Irregular Heart Rhythm
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Tremors, Convulsions and Seizures
  • Change in Sleep Patterns (Periods of Sleeplessness and Insomnia or Binge Sleeping)
  • Delusions, Paranoia, and Hallucinations
  • Sores on the Body, Skin, Lips and Face
  • Damage to all Tissues in the Body (Including Blood Vessels, Muscles, Heart Muscles, Teeth)

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Methamphetamine withdrawals are not considered as immediately dangerous and life-threatening as alcohol, opioids and benzodiazepines, but there may be an increased risk of stroke, seizures and complications during methamphetamine withdrawal.

  • Feelings of Depression
  • Intense Drug Cravings
  • Anxiety, Panic, and Severe Panic Attacks
  • Fatigue and Lack of Energy
  • Itchy, Watery, and Swollen Eyes
  • Change in Sleep Patterns (Periods of Sleeplessness and Insomnia or Binge Sleeping) 

How Long Do Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Methamphetamine withdrawal lasts an average of 14 to 20 days, with peak withdrawal symptoms coming at about the 2 week mark (Day 10-14). Withdrawal symptoms begin within 24 hours after the last use of the drug as rebound effects from the extreme highs that meth brings when used. Therefore, the first withdrawal symptoms are feelings of being very low, fatigued, depressed, lethargic, sleepy, and jittery.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment: How Alternative to Meds Provides an Alternative to Addiction

Methamphetamine withdrawal responds remarkably to our Sedona rehab treatments. We use proven protocols to treat the cravings and other discomforts during the rehab program.

Our focus is to assist the client to gain relief from mental, emotional and physical pain that may occur during cessation, while correcting the causes that led to meth use in the first place. In these ways, balance provides the keys to success.

How Does Meth Work in the Body and Brain?

Meth produces a high that can injure your brain and body for life unless treatment begins early enough. The drug has accrued many nicknames over the years, including ice, crystal, glass, speed, crank, and others. All of these names describe this potent and addictive stimulant, that is long-lasting once ingested. The drug acts quickly on the CNS and can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence, sometimes after a short period of use.

Similar to other stimulants, such as cocaine, even a very tiny amount of methamphetamine can induce tachycardia (racing heart rate) and irregular heartbeat. After consuming more substantial amounts, the drug produces other life-threatening effects such as elevated body temperature, coupled with increased blood pressure, heart attack, organ failure, heat exhaustion or stroke. Chronic use leads to extreme weight loss, scabs and lesions on the skin, dental decay, hair loss, and muscle and other tissue atrophy.

Methamphetamine works by suddenly flooding the brain with dopamine, a chemical which activates and stimulates pleasure receptors. At the same time, the drug blocks the neurons from soaking up the over-abundant dopamine. This action produces the sustained stimulation and influence of the drug, which can last for many hours. Psychological symptoms are severe and include hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, aggressive, violent behavior, and the feeling of bugs crawling underneath the skin, which the person may begin to pick at incessantly. When the drug’s effects wear off, the crash is equally severe, and commonly leads the person to use again, seeking to avert the withdrawals. Meth users may adopt binge-use, meaning the person uses for a continuous period of days or weeks without sleep or food before stopping. (See below for more information.)

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Police, emergency, and other caregivers have trained to be able to recognize and safely, calmly deal with the often extreme withdrawal symptoms that present with meth use. These can be daunting, which is why caregivers must be fully prepared and know how to respond to these:

  • aggressive or violent behavior
  • paranoia
  • delusion
  • hallucination
  • extreme anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts
  • deep lingering depression

During the first one to three days, the person may fall into an extended, deep sleep, due to exhaustion. Extreme drug cravings and a compulsion to binge on carbohydrates follow. The person will experience an inability to concentrate or focus, and may not be articulate or sequitur in speech. Paranoia and hallucinations may appear during this period. After five to seven days, the person may experience insomnia, mood swings, and intensified drug cravings. These present a set of challenging symptoms, and they can last for many weeks. Without treatment, the most usual occurrence is for the person to submit to the cravings and will relapse.

Sedona Treatment for Meth Withdrawals

Our rehab offers holistic treatments in a calm, residential setting nestled in the Red Rock Mountains. Our staff team consists of over 40 highly trained doctors, specialists, and therapists, all of whom have acquired familiarity and experience in the field of addiction therapy. Our protocols include stabilizing the neurochemistry that has been altered by meth use. Should short-term medication be needed to help ease the person through the initial phases of withdrawal, our doctors can provide this option. Psychotic episodes are not unheard of with meth withdrawal. Should the client need temporary hospitalization and stabilization for safety reasons, the center is minutes away from a hospital equipped for such emergency situations.

With early intervention, the Sedona-based Alternative to Meds program can help you or your loved one to recover from meth use. We employ many holistic techniques to return the body to normal functioning, including a deep cleanse to remove not only physical drug residues but other neurotoxic elements from the body. Once the CNS is relieved of this burdensome toxic load, the brain and body chemistry can begin to revert to normal. We also utilize targeted nutrition and supplements which bolster and refortify the body after drug use.

Typically, clients report feeling lighter, brighter, refreshed, calmer, sleeping better, and improved appetite and energy once the cleanse is complete. Cravings significantly reduce and can disappear entirely during this period, allowing the person to take full benefit from the psychological components of the program which follow the cleanse.

Find Out More

Contact us at the number on this page for more important information about our program. Ask us about insurance coverage, as we are fully licensed and take most private insurance. Do not delay. The quicker you or your loved one enters recovery, the better the chances for sustainable success. No-one should be left to drown in the misery of addiction. Let us help you to recover using the most effective program available for the treatment of methamphetamine withdrawal.


This content has been reviewed, and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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