Methamphetamine is a completely synthetic drug with each dose unique to its composition, manufacturing process, distribution system, and effects on the user. It can be made with common household or farming chemicals in makeshift laboratories, in bottles, on stoves, or in superlabs processing 10 pounds or more at a time.
According to the DEA 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, “Availability indicators reflect that the supply of Mexican methamphetamine is increasing in the United States.” Just as every meth dose can have unpredictable effects on the user, so will the signs of meth withdrawals from person to person be.
Why do People Get Meth Withdrawals?
As a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, meth “highs” can be compared to cocaine “highs” sometimes with more intensity, and usually lasting much longer.
Meth floods the brain with dopamine, the neurotransmitters that control the brain’s messaging systems in the reward pathways and reinforces behaviors that bear repeating. Chronic abuse depletes dopamine productions and dopamine receptors causing the person to crave more meth in order to “feel good”. Without it, they go into withdrawals.
Meth Withdrawal Influences
Meth can be ingested orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. Smoking and injecting meth are common methods of abuse for maximum “rush” effects, but these methods can increase withdrawal severity along with amounts used, frequencies, and poly-substance abuse.
However it is ingested, meth is toxic and can cause unpredictable damages to a person’s physical and psychological health. Many meth abusers neglect their physical health, have poor eating habits, engage in unprotected sex, and share needles resulting in co-existing physical impairments that can complicate withdrawals. Psychological impacts of meth abuse are the most extreme and require close observation of the person during withdrawals for their own protection as well as others.
Signs of Meth Withdrawal
Signs of meth withdrawal can appear within hours of last use. There are 2 phases to meth withdrawal with the acute phases lasting up to 10 days and the protracted phase lasting several months. Unexpected reoccurrences of withdrawals have been known to occur long after last use and some psychological issues may be permanent.
Acute withdrawal signs may include:
- Intense craving for meth
- Uncontrollable mood swings
- Cognitive Deficits
- Bizarre or irrational behaviors
- Schizophrenic like signs
- Suicidal or harmful ideations or tendencies
- Aches and pains
In the protracted phase, signs of meth withdrawal include continued cravings for meth and some psychological symptoms as the brain requires more time to heal.