Meth withdrawal

Regular use of meth changes the brain chemistry, which means the user needs meth to feel ‘normal’. This is why it is so hard for someone who is hooked on meth to give it up – the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms often drive a person back to using.


Be prepared

Before you actually stop, it is a good idea to make sure your environment supports you not using meth. This will mean distancing yourself from using buddies and places that remind you of using. Surround yourself with people who will support you during your withdrawal.

Finding a safe place to withdraw from meth will be important. You might need to stay with family or friends who support you stopping, are willing to help you and don’t have drugs in the house.

If you don’t feel you have somewhere you can go, or you are worried about what will happen when you are in withdrawal, there are facilities you can go to. Detox units provide a safe, supervised environment.

The Alcohol Drug Helpline can advise you where you can go in your area – call 0800 787 797.

You can also email the specialist MethHelp team directly for assistance.

What to expect

Withdrawal from meth will be different for different people. The intensity of the symptoms experienced can depend on a few things such as how much you were using, your general health, any existing mental health issues and the length of time you were using meth.

If you are going to carry out your withdrawal around friends or family members, it's a good idea to educate them on what to expect as you go through your withdrawal.

Here is a basic outline of meth withdrawal, but note that these are generalisations – not everyone will experience every single symptom.

Crash

1-3 days since last use

  • exhaustion
  • long hours asleep
  • depression

Withdrawal

2-10 days since last use

  • strong cravings
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • tiredness
  • agitation
  • sleep problems 
  • poor concentration
  • aches, pains and headaches
  • hunger
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations

7-28 days since last use

  •  mood swings  
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • cravings

One to three months since last use

  • sleep patterns improve
  • energy levels get better
  • mood settles 

Withdrawing from meth can be hard but the unpleasant feelings and physical sensations will not last forever.