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How Long is Meth Detoxification?

Get answers to questions like “how long does meth stay in your system?” and “what are the symptoms of meth addiction?”

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What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a potent, extremely addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It appears as a white, flavorless, bitter-tasting powder that dissolves readily in water or alcohol.

Drug Class

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has classified methamphetamine as a Schedule II stimulant, making it only legally obtainable with a nonrefillable prescription. Medically, it may be prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as a temporary weight-loss aid, although both applications are rare, and the dosages prescribed are far lower than those that are frequently abused.1

Drug Schedule

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug. Using Schedule II drugs increases the likelihood that someone will develop a substance use disorder (SUD), which may lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.

Both prescription and illicit drugs fall under this category, and the risk of addiction is reduced when taking prescription Schedule II drugs as recommended and under a doctor’s supervision. Cocaine, morphine, Adderall, and Ritalin are some other examples of Schedule II substances.2

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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System

Effects of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine abuse can have both long and short-term effects on the mind and body. These effects will be detailed below.

Short Term Effects

When methamphetamine is injected or inhaled, a euphoric sensation known as a “rush” or “flash” is immediately experienced due to the release of an excess of dopamine into the brain. Inhaling methamphetamine results in a euphoric feeling, but not a rush.

Methamphetamine has similar side effects to other stimulants, such as:

  • Agitation
  • Diminished appetite
  • Feelings of satisfaction
  • Enhanced sociability
  • Limited inhibition
  • Mental haziness
  • Physical attentiveness
  • Boosted wakefulness and physical activity

Long Term Effects

HIV and hepatitis B and C are among the infectious diseases that are more likely to be acquired by methamphetamine injectors due to contact with blood or other bodily fluids that may stay on medical equipment and spread these infections. In addition to impairing cognition and decision-making, methamphetamine use can lead to dangerous behaviors, such as unprotected intercourse, which raises the chance of contracting an infection. The use of methamphetamine may accelerate the spread of HIV/AIDS and its effects. According to studies, those with HIV who use methamphetamine experience more cognitive issues and nerve cell damage than those with HIV who don’t use the drug.3

Extreme weight loss is just one of the detrimental effects of long-term methamphetamine use. Others include:

  • Serious dental issues
  • Severe itching that causes skin blisters as a result of scratching
  • Anxiety
  • Alterations to the structure and operation of the brain
  • Delirium
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Violent misconduct
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Is Meth Addictive?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance, so much so that person would experience withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing meth use.

Statistics on Methamphetamine Abuse

The widespread use and abuse of methamphetamine can be seen in the following statistics:4
  • Among people aged twelve or older in 2020, 0.9% (or about 2.6 million people) reported using methamphetamine in the past twelve months.
  • Among people aged twelve or older in 2020, an estimated 0.6% (or about 1.5 million people) had a methamphetamine use disorder in the past twelve months.
  • In 2020, approximately 23,837 people died from an overdose involving psychostimulants with abuse potential other than cocaine (primarily methamphetamine).

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that accompany methamphetamine addiction. When addicted to meth, users will experience:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Being unnaturally active
  • Reduced appetite
  • Rapid weight reduction or a bony build
  • Sweating despite the temperature or lack of physical activity
  • Nervous or jittery behavior

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Overdose

When experiencing a meth overdose, the signs and symptoms users experience will be much more serious and severe and require immediate medical attention. Signs of an overdose include:

  • Irregular or quick heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Restlessness and confusion
  • Sweating and hyperthermia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Renal failure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

There are numerous factors that can influence how long a methamphetamine user stays high and how long meth stays present in the body.

How Long Does the Meth High Last?

Depending on the stage of meth high the user is in, a meth high can last anywhere from four to sixteen hours. The length of a methamphetamine user’s effects typically relies on when and how they ingested the substance. A meth high also comes in waves, beginning with an initial rush and ending with a crash.

What Is the Half-Life of Meth?

Meth has a half-life of roughly ten hours, meaning that it takes the body around ten hours to digest and remove 50% of the amount taken from the bloodstream. Drug tests for meth may reveal metabolites for days after consumption. For instance, up to four days after consuming meth, a person may have a positive urine test. A hair test can also reveal meth use up to three months later.5

Factors That Affect Detection Time

How long meth will be detectable on a drug test is difficult to predict because detection varies based on the individual’s health, metabolism, age, level of physical activity, and frequency of use.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

When substances are taken, the gastrointestinal tract absorbs and distributes them into the body’s tissues. When a substance is injected, inhaled, or snorted, the gastrointestinal tract is not involved, and the substance is transported directly to the tissues.

There are numerous methods through which drug testing occurs, including:6

  • Urine: Urine provides a slightly wider window of detection for drugs, typically ranging from one day to several weeks following consumption.
  • Blood and breath: The earliest and shortest windows of detection for drugs are provided by blood and breath, which represent the current serum levels of a consumed substance.
  • Saliva and sweat: Several hours later, the presence of a drug in the body can be detected in sweat and saliva.
  • Hair: The longest detection window is provided by hair and meconium. Hair tests offer the advantage of detecting drug usage up to a year or more after the fact.

False Positive Testing

Most instances of false positives for amphetamines can be attributed to the chemical makeup of the substance; however, case studies and retrospective analyses have linked numerous substances to false positives.

Some common drugs like promethazine, quetiapine, quinolones (ofloxacin and gatifloxacin), ranitidine, sertraline, thioridazine, trazodone, venlafaxine, and verapamil, can result in a false positive on a drug screen. Methamphetamine and amphetamine are the most frequently reported false positives.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Initial meth withdrawal, which lasts for an average of two weeks, can cause several symptoms. Meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Muscular aches and cramps
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety, fatigue, and psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Unpredictable sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Cognition problems
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System

Meth Addiction Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options for recovering from methamphetamine addiction, ranging from detoxification to intensive psychotherapy. Some of these treatment opportunities will be discussed further below.

Detox

Detoxification is typically the first step in a therapy plan, which involves limiting withdrawal symptoms and removing a drug from the body. A person who is dependent on multiple substances will frequently require medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal from each.

Inpatient Care

The extent and duration of an individual’s addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions determine the kind of therapy that is necessary, whether that be residential or outpatient treatment. Generally speaking, most patients will need treatment for at least three months. Longer treatment times are also linked to greater treatment results.

Outpatient Care

This option is only available to patients with less severe addiction. It enables them to continue to carry out their daily schedule and activities while continuing addiction treatment. Individual, group, or family therapy may be a part of an outpatient meth treatment program.

Therapies

Depending on the needs of the person, therapy may be provided in a group, a family, or an individual setting. The initial phase of treatment is typically vigorous, with the number of sessions progressively decreasing as symptoms improve. Various forms of therapy used include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT assists individuals in identifying and altering thought patterns that are linked to substance abuse.
  • Multidimensional family therapy: This method is intended to help families function better while dealing with a teen or adolescent with a substance use issue.
  • Motivational interviewing: This therapy method maximizes a person’s capacity for behavior modification and change.
  • Motivational rewards: Motivational rewards are incentives that promote abstinence through gratification.

Get Help at San Diego Detox Center

At San Diego Detox Center,  your health and wellness is our priority. We have trained specialists ready to give you the best treatment possible in our well-regulated treatment centers. Don’t hesitate to contact us today; we are here to help you regain autonomy over your life.