Meth Signs Withdrawal Symptoms & Side Effects,

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One of the most potent amphetamines available today is methamphetamine (or meth). This potent crystal or powder is what millions report as the reason that they have entered substance abuse treatment. Many report that its addictive nature has a rapid onset and powerful grip. Personal, relational, and societal impacts and statistics would readily validate this claim. With the power of awareness, communities are equipping themselves to recognize the culprit of addiction to meth in order to provide the necessary help to those who are struggling.

If you or someone that you love finds themself in the struggle of breaking free from meth addiction, help is closer than you may think. Guardian Recovery is just one phone call away. Specializing in the highest quality treatment for all of our clients, our trained staff of medical and clinical professionals are equipped to provide you with the tools necessary to begin your journey to freedom from addiction. Join the millions around the world who have committed to this journey and have discovered that recovery is possible. Call today.

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Physical & Psychological Side Effects of Using Meth

The impacts of meth use on the brain and body are far reaching. With both short term and long term side effects, this potent stimulant interacts with the brain and body’s existing mechanisms to produce a powerful, and potentially addicting, high.

Short-Term Side Effects

Depending on the way that meth is ingested (also known as the route of administration), a user will begin to feel the effects almost immediately. Short term effects (1) of meth use include:

  • Euphoria — One of the most sought after effects of meth use is the euphoric high that is associated. As this potent substance interacts with the brain’s “feel good chemicals” the person using will experience extreme sensations throughout their brain and body ultimately leading to the reward circuit being stimulated. This reward circuit will often lead to repeated drug seeking behavior.
  • Increased Energy/Lack of Sleep — As the central nervous system is stimulated, the brain and body feel a surge of energy and motivation. This will lead to bursts of activity, but as decision making functions continue to be stunted, often this activity will produce little result. As the stimulating effects continue, sleeplessness will set in, often leading to hallucinations and an eventual “crash.”
  • Decreased Appetite — High amounts of amphetamine use will cause the person using to have a stunted appetite. The signals that communicate hunger from the digestive system to the brain do not communicate causing the user to feel no cues for hunger. Over time this can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition.

Long-Term Effects

Over extended periods of chronic use, meth will begin to develop a multitude of unwanted effects within the user. Both the brain and body are impacted as a result of overuse of this illicit substance. Long term effects (2) of meth use include:

  • Changes in Brain Function — As meth use causes the release of potent chemicals in the brain, the brain’s natural response is to adapt to these changes. As the brain adapts to chemical stimulation for its natural processes, it becomes dependent on these chemicals. If the substance is suddenly stopped, the brain will not be able to resume these functions for an extended period of time.
  • Psychosis — As the brain’s function and structure is disrupted over time, occasional departures from realistic perceptions of reality can come as a result. Psychosis is the title given to varying forms of this departure from reality. Traits like paranoia, hallucinations, and repetitive motor activity are all symptoms of a potential psychotic break.
  • Various Physical Side Effects — Perhaps the easiest to recognize are the outward physical symptoms of meth use. With the stunted appetite and lack of sleep, the user will begin to lose weight. With the cocktail of chemicals found in meth along with the lack of necessary vitamins and minerals entering the body, the user will begin to lose teeth and have severely hardened or leathery skin.

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What Symptoms Are Caused By an Overdose From Meth?

A common misconception about methamphetamine use is that you cannot overdose from it. Though a meth overdose is different from an opioid overdose, it is very possible that overuse (3) of this stimulant can lead to bodily systems shutting down. Though this can occur both immediately or over a period of extended use, overuse of meth can put too much stress on the body’s circulatory system causing both heart attacks and strokes.

Indications Someone May Have Overdosed on Meth

The two most common symptoms of a methamphetamine overdose are cardiovascular irregularities and hyperthermia. Typically cardiovascular issues will come in the form of a rapid heart beat, dramatically increased blood pressure, or an irregular heart beat. Hyperthermia is a condition caused by meth use where the body temperature of the person using is elevated and unable to be brought back down to a safe range.

Meth Use & Co-Occurring Disorders

With its dramatic effects on the brain, the question is often raised, “Does meth use cause mental illness, or do people who suffer from a mental illness gravitate towards meth use?” Whatever the cause, the overlap between those who suffer from mental illness and those who use meth cannot be ignored. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 60% (4) of those who have a methamphetamine use disorder also suffer from some form of mental illness.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Dependence & Addiction

Common symptoms for methamphetamine withdrawal include:

  • Immediate increase in sleep.
  • Mood dysregulation.
  • Dramatic increase in appetite.
  • Involuntary movements.
  • Memory impairments

Timeline for Meth Withdrawal

Recent studies show (5) that many of the major symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal will resolve themselves within the first week after use has stopped. The same studies, however, show that cravings for meth use will continue up to 5 weeks after cessation.

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Meth Addiction Treatment for Withdrawal Symptoms & Effects

To ensure the highest probability for safely going through the withdrawal process, it is recommended that the person who is using remain in the care of a medical professional who specializes in this type of treatment. The process of a person’s body returning to normal function (also known as “detox”) can have potential health consequences if not cared for correctly.

If you or someone that you know is in need of this specialized treatment, Guardian Recovery is available to help. Our highly trained medical professionals are equipped to provide the care required for someone going through this difficult stage in the recovery journey. Call Guardian Recovery today to discuss your options with an intake coordinator.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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