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Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms, and How You Can Get Help

By Neha Kashyap
There are several treatment options for meth addiction that can also help with meth withdrawal symptoms.

Methamphetamine withdrawal can be a difficult process, but considering the effects of meth use on the body and mind, it’s definitely worth the effort. And there are medications that can help. 

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Initial meth withdrawal, which averages about two weeks in length, can include several symptoms. In the short term, meth withdrawal can include:

  • dehydration
  • headaches
  • muscle pain and spasms
  • appetite changes
  • intense cravings
  • psychosis 
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • insomnia

In the long term, meth withdrawal can cause:

  • depression 
  • irregular sleep
  • cravings
  • anxiety
  • cognitive issues

How Treatment Helps

There are several treatment options for meth addiction that can also help with meth withdrawal symptoms.

During Detox

The first step of meth withdrawal is detox, or the period of recovery when the body adjusts to not having the drug. It’s advised to undergo detox under medical supervision, especially if an addict has been using for a long time.

“Dehydration is the biggest concern. During the 'crash' phase patients can become paranoid, hallucinate and have intense anxiety,” Stacey Henson, ACSW, LCSW, from Advanced Recovery Systems in Orlando, Florida, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “The second phase brings about insomnia and depression with extreme cravings which are difficult to combat.”

During detox, a care facility might provide medications for the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety and irritation: Benzodiazepines are drugs that can ease irritation and anxiety in some withdrawal patients. They come with the risk of addiction, but if your withdrawal is severe, a doctor in a facility could prescribe benzos like lorazepam and diazepam.
  • Psychosis: Antipsychotic drugs and sedatives can help with psychosis in extreme cases of meth withdrawal. Some antipsychotic drugs include risperidone and olanzapine. 
  • Body pains: Acetaminophen, commonly known as tylenol, or ibuprofen, also known as Advil, can help with some milder aches and pains of initial withdrawal.

After detox

For long-term withdrawal, therapy and support groups can help with motivation and avoiding triggers. And the following drugs have shown promise for other withdrawal symptoms:

  • Cravings and sleep: Modafinil, a narcolepsy drug, has shown promise in helping with meth withdrawal. “Modafinil 's moderate stimulant effects, a drug used for managing narcolepsy and ADHD, may aid with the cravings and erratic sleep cycles associated with withdrawal,” Vikram Tarugu, MD, CEO of Detox of South Florida, says.
  • Depression: Fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, and bupropion, most commonly known by the brand name Wellbutrin, are two antidepressants that can help with meth withdrawal. Other antidepressants that have been used for meth withdrawal include mirtazapine and imipramine (brand name Trofanil).
  • Cognitive abilities: Meth can cause difficulty with memory, concentration and processing ideas. The good news is that modafinil, bupropion and topiramate, otherwise known as Topamax, have all shown to help with improving cognition during long term meth withdrawal.

Get Help Today

 If you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing to help you get started on your road to recovery.

Life After Meth Addiction Treatment