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Crystal Meth Withdrawal

Woman suffering from crystal meth withdrawals
Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine, a stimulant drug that has limited medical use for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and promoting weight loss. 5 However, crystal meth is an illegal drug that is made and sold for recreational use.

Crystal meth increases the release of dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that influences movement, motivation, and pleasure. The drug can boost energy and reduce the need for sleep. However, long-term use can lead to weight loss, dental problems, paranoia, violent behavior, and hallucinations. 1

Learn About Detox

woman speaking to doctor about medical detox
Most mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, cause severe, uncomfortable and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when an addict suddenly stops using them

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Chronic abuse of the drug can lead to significant physiological dependence that, once established, gives rise to withdrawal symptoms when the person stops using it. The symptoms, particularly cravings, may tempt them to return to using the drug even though they are ready to quit.

Crystal meth withdrawal can be treated in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Detox is usually the first step in the rehabilitation process from meth addiction. After detox, many people need to remain engaged in some type of recovery program to stay clean.

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Withdrawal Symptoms

Crystal meth withdrawal symptoms can include: 1, 2

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Hunger
  • Psychosis
  • Strong cravings

People who come down from meth may lose touch with reality and become violent or aggressive. They can also become suicidal. 2Get more information on crystal meth withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawing From Meth: Treatment Methods and Options for Help

Programs can be inpatient or outpatient and vary in length and supervision.

woman speaking to doctor about medical detoxDetoxification treatment for crystal meth withdrawal often takes place as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. These programs may be inpatient or outpatient and can vary in length and level of supervision. The right type of program for any given person will depend on factors such as how long they have used crystal meth, whether they have relapsed before, their support system (or lack thereof), and their insurance status.

No medications are approved to treat methamphetamine addiction or withdrawal. 1 But medical providers may prescribe medications for specific symptoms, such as Benadryl or trazodone for sleep, and antidepressants for users who become depressed during withdrawal.

Detoxing cold turkey is not advisable. As mentioned above, users may become violent and psychotic when they come off meth. Other risks include severe depression, suicide, relapse, and overdose. Meth withdrawal has been associated with seizures, in some cases.

Find out more about crystal meth withdrawal treatment programs.

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Learn more about meth withdrawal treatment programs.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment, Rehab, and Recovery

man coping at home from meth Withdrawal

Medically supervised detox for crystal meth withdrawal symptoms is the first step of recovery from addiction.

Once people have detoxed from crystal meth, they work with a team of substance abuse treatment professionals to identify the issues and triggers that led to crystal meth addiction.

They may participate in individual and group counseling that helps them avoid crystal meth use by finding constructive and healthy ways of dealing with stress and pressure. This treatment is available at inpatient or outpatient rehab centers.

Common types of therapy for meth addiction include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – helps people recognize, avoid, and cope with people and environments that may cause them to relapse. 1
  • Motivational incentives – uses rewards to help users staff off meth. 1
  • Matrix Model – a 16-week behavioral treatment program that blends behavioral therapy, family education, counseling, 12-step meetings, and drug testing to help people stop using meth and remain sober. 3

People in recovery from crystal methamphetamine are encouraged to continue counseling and therapy on a regular basis to reinforce the coping strategies that they learn during treatment. Often, support groups such as 12-step peer groups are also recommended to provide further encouragement during the long-term recovery process from meth addiction.

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Call our 24-hour, 7-day-a-week nationwide drug abuse treatment and recovery helpline at 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? to learn more about how medical detoxification for crystal meth withdrawal, followed by intensive counseling, can help you or a loved one break the grip of crystal meth addiction.

Crystal Meth Information at a Glance
Form, Intake and Dosage Interactions and Complications
    • Drug Forms: rock/crystallized


  • Administration Routes: inhaled (smoked), snorted, swallowed, injected 6
    • Alcohol Interaction: Drinking while on crystal meth can place strain on the heart, which can lead to complications for people with heart problems. 10


  • Illicit Drugs: Mixing other stimulants with crystal meth can lead to heart problems and psychosis, as well as anxiety and panic attacks. 10
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
    • Short-Term: euphoria, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, wide pupils 6


    • Long-Term: delusional behavior, extreme paranoia, major mood swings, insomnia 6


  • Overdose symptoms: agitation, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, paranoia, seizures, stroke. 6
    • Risk of Substance Abuse: High


  • Signs of Abuse: obsessively picking hair or skin, paranoia, hallucinations, strange sleeping patterns, dilated pupils, twitching, angry outbursts or mood swings 8
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
    • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: within the first 24 hours after the last dose 7


  • Withdrawal Symptoms: increased appetite, sleeping, depression, cravings, fatigue 7
  • Tolerance: Yes
    • Physical Dependence: High


  • Psychological Dependence: High
Legal Schedules and Ratings Costs, and Typical Quantities
  • Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule II (for pharmaceutical methamphetamine) 7
  • Cost/Price: Approx. $100 - $500 per gram 9

Questions and Answers

How Long Does Crystal Meth Withdrawal Last?

Withdrawal effects last between 1-2 weeks after the last dose.

Crystal meth withdrawal effects have an average duration of between 1-2 weeks after the last dose. 4 However, the timeline of recovery varies from person to person. Some people experience symptoms for several months after the initial withdrawal phase.

These symptoms can include:

  • Mild depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability 4

Do You Have a List of Popular Slang or Street Names for Crystal Meth?

Chalk, ice, crystal, glass, speed, meth

Are There Any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Home remedies for crystal meth detox are not advised due to meth’s highly addictive nature and the high relapse rate for users of the drug.

Drug rehabilitation programs can help people overcome a crystal meth addiction. They can prevent access to the drug and teach techniques to manage cravings. These programs can also alleviate the intense discomfort during withdrawal and provide relief.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Crystal Meth?

It can take 1-2 weeks to completely detox from crystal meth. 4 However, users may continue to experience cravings and psychological symptoms for months after quitting.


[1]. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Methamphetamine.

[2]. Government of Canada. (2015). Methamphetamine.

[3]. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). What Treatments Are Effective for People who Abuse Methamphetamine?

[4]. Rawson, R. (1999). TIP 33: Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders: Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 33. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Rockville, MD.

[5]. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). What is methamphetamine?

[6]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Methamphetamine overdose.

[7]. McGregor, C., Srisurapanont, M., Jittiwutikarn, J., Laobhripatr, S., Wongtan, T., & White, J. M. (2005). The nature, time course and severity of methamphetamine withdrawalAddiction100(9), 1320-1329.

[8]. The Meth Project. (n.d.). Signs of Use.

[9]. National Drug Intelligence Center. (2002). Information Bulletin: Crystal Methamphetamine.

[10]. Australian Government Department of Health. (2014). Polydrug Use.