Compared to other types of stimulant drugs, meth carries the highest potential for abuse and addiction. Meth comes in both prescription and illegal forms, with crystal meth and Desoxyn being two of the more commonly used meth drugs.
People who’ve used the drug on a recreational basis for any length of time most likely have an idea of how uncomfortable meth addiction withdrawal can be. As meth addiction withdrawal effects can develop during the course of using as well as when trying to get off the drug, the intensity of withdrawal effects can vary depending on how long a person abstains from using.
When detoxing, meth addiction withdrawal effects come on in full force as the body works to restore some semblance of equilibrium. In cases where a person struggles with other medical and/or psychological problems, meth addiction withdrawal effects can be more intense with withdrawal stages lasting considerably longer in duration.
The Withdrawal Process
The entire meth addiction withdrawal process stems from the chemical imbalances that have developed in the brain. In the case of long-time users, these chemical balances can evolve into actual changes within the brain’s overall structure, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
As the brain works to restore chemical balance, a person can experience any number of physical and psychological effects until a state of equilibrium is restored. The withdrawal process consists of two stages in which symptom severity goes from intense to moderate. For chronic meth users, a third stage may unfold, though symptom severity remains relatively mild throughout.
The first stage of withdrawal typically runs for two weeks followed by the second stage, which runs anywhere from two to three weeks. A third stage of withdrawal symptoms can run as long as a year.
Meth Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
A meth “high” typically produces feelings of euphoria, spiked energy levels and feelings of invincibility. These effects result from meth’s effects on brain chemical processes. In contrast, a person going through meth addiction withdrawal experiences symptoms that are the exact opposite of the drug’s “high” effect.
Withdrawal symptoms usually take the form of:
- Sleeping for extremely long periods of time, sometimes days
- Voracious appetite
- Extreme feelings of depression
- Ongoing feelings of malaise or discontent
People coming off long-time addictions will likely experience more severe symptoms, including:
- Feelings of anger and rage
- Aggressive or violent behavior displays
- Delusions or skewed thought processes
Symptoms experienced during the first stage of withdrawal are mainly physical, while the second stage consists of primarily psychological symptoms. Likewise, psychological symptoms persist throughout the third stage of withdrawal.
Other Factors to Consider
In general, the longer a person has used meth the more severe meth addiction withdrawal symptoms will be. Long-term use also increases the likelihood of developing co-occurring conditions, such as medical and/or psychological problems during the course of meth use.
Under these conditions, the withdrawal process will likely be more intense making it that much more difficult to refrain from using. As psychological disorders in particular can easily aggravate addiction urges, the duration of the withdrawal process may run considerably longer than usual.