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Symptoms of Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Crystal meth is a drug that has become extremely popular due to the feelings of happiness and self-confidence the user experiences. Unlike other drugs, crystal meth is relatively easy to get, less expensive than cocaine and affects mainly the brain function, instead or other areas of the body. However, as someone uses crystal meth on a regular basis, they will need more and more to have the "high" feeling that is desired. As the process continues it makes quitting the drug much more difficult and with many more withdrawal symptoms.

Understanding Crystal Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal period of the drug crystal meth is dependent on how long a person has been addicted to it. This means it can last a few weeks, months or in extreme cases even years. This is because this drug directly affects the users brain's chemical make-up. Additionally, as the user continues to use the drug their tolerance level rises making more and more required, thus altering the brain function even more.

The withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth appear when an user attempts to quit or stays away from the drug for extended periods of time. These symptoms occur because the user's body is used to functioning with the chemical present. Once it is taken away the process can be unpleasant and even physically painful for the user. At this point many individuals choose to continue using crystal meth to prevent the extreme withdrawal symptoms that occur.

It is a fact that crystal meth is a physically addictive drug. However, due to the affects in the brain most of the common withdrawal symptoms are psychological. With this drug the process can be much more intense that with other types of drugs. Common withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Changes in mood and behavior including depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of "happy" feelings
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Intense cravings for crystal meth

Additionally, during the first two weeks of the withdrawal process the soon-to-be ex-addict may only eat and sleep. Other functions are typically not seen as the drug is working its way out of the body. Also, this period is when the meth addict may see a substantial increase in weight. Due to its appetite suppressing nature many meth addicts are skin and bones prior to quitting the drug. In most cases the regular appetite of the addict will return after a period of time, however dependent on the length of use will determine exactly how long this takes.

When a person decides to quit using the drug it is suggested they seek professional help. Due to the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that occur many users will give in and begin using the drug to avoid the painful symptoms.

Why is Crystal Meth Withdrawal So Intense?

Crystal meth withdrawal is so intense because it affects the actual chemicals in a person's brain. Unlike opiates, crystal meth spurs the production of the chemical dopamine, which makes you experience feelings of extreme happiness. No matter what is going on around the user, they visualize it as great. However, when the user stops the use of crystal meth, the dopamine in the brain is reduced and the user may express that they are unable to feel any pleasure. This is because although use of the drug increases dopamine levels, it decreases dopamine receptors. When it is stopped the levels decrease but with less receptors the dopamine that is available is not as effective as it was prior to crystal meth use.

Once a person successfully quits the drug it can take as long as two years to have normal dopamine levels in the brain once again. During the initial stages of crystal meth withdrawal it is the most likely time for a person to suffer a relapse. This is because they are desperate to have the spiked dopamine levels, just for a feeling of normalcy.

Understanding the withdrawal symptoms of crystal meth can help someone fully comprehend what a family member or friend may be experiencing when trying to quit. During this stage of an addict's recovery it is essential to provide support and professional assistance if required. There are many rehabilitation facilities, which specalize in crystal meth recovery. This option may be the best chance for an addict to have a fully successful recovery from the drug.


  • Methamphetamine has a half-life of 12 hours, compared to cocaine which has a 1 hour half-life.
  • Specific needs of individuals seeking treatment at a drug rehab may include factors such as age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, other drug use, comorbid conditions (e.g., depression, HIV), parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse history.
  • The rate of current Ecstasy use among American youth aged 12 to 17 has remained a concern, and was at 0.5 percent in 2009 and 2010.
  • There is no lack of methadone at the street level, as dealers acquire the drug through various illegal and unsafe means.