Coming Down From Meth
Many people use methamphetamine for its stimulating high. But eventually the drug’s euphoria dissipates in what is sometimes known as a “crash” or “comedown.” This page will explain what occurs during a meth comedown, how long it lasts, and whether the negative and dangerous effects can be mitigated.
What Is a Meth Comedown?
As the pleasurable feelings of a methamphetamine high fade away, it can leave people who have developed a dependence to the drug feeling intensely anxious, or agitated in a period of acute withdrawal colloquially known as a “comedown.”1, 2
Some people that use meth may try to maintain their high and stave off their crystal meth comedown by “binging,” or compulsively using meth repeatedly every several hours for 3–15 days at a time. This pattern of high-dose and high-frequency use is generally reserved for people who have built up a considerable tolerance and may have even changed their preferred route of administration to one that elicits a more immediate response (i.e., smoking or injecting).3
People that partake in this or similar extreme patterns of meth use may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms that last weeks at a time. Chronic use of meth at high doses over several days can make the inevitable “crash” much worse than occasional or intermittent use, as someone who has developed a dependence experiences acute withdrawal symptoms when they finally abstain. It is common for someone that has binged for 2–3 days (or longer) to be exhausted, feel depressed, and sleep for 24–48 hours. This is often followed by a period of hunger, drug craving, and persistent or dysphoria. There may also be periods of paranoia and agitation.3, 4
Meth Comedown Symptoms
The symptoms of stimulant withdrawal are often the opposite effects of intoxication. Acute meth withdrawal, which someone is likely to experience if they use methamphetamine regularly, often includes the following symptoms both during and after the “come down” and “crash”:1, 3, 5
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Meth cravings.
- Sleeping too much or being tired but unable to sleep.
- Slowed heart rate.
People often attempt to mitigate the effects of meth come down symptoms by using “landing gear”—depressants (e.g., alcohol and sedatives), opioids, or other substances used to induce sleep or decrease levels of anxiety and agitation.3
It is not uncommon for people addicted to meth to develop simultaneous addictions to these other substances. Use of many of these substances can cause strong physiological dependency and also may cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms when someone attempts to quit.3
How Long Is the Comedown from Meth?
Withdrawal symptoms experienced during the come down may begin within hours to days after prolonged or heavy meth use.
Symptoms of meth withdrawal typically are more severe in the initial days after quitting and then gradually taper off in severity over the course of several days or weeks.3 The duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms can be very different from one person to the next, and depends on many variables, including:3, 5, 6
- How much meth someone has been using.
- How long someone has been using meth.
- Whether someone has experienced withdrawal before.
- Whether someone has a simultaneous dependency to other substances.
- Someone’s history with substance use and general overall health.
How to Come Down from Meth Safely
A meth comedown is rarely medically dangerous; however, withdrawal symptoms like depression or psychosis can be severe and may lead to self-harm and even suicidal actions within the first few weeks after quitting.
Because people that use meth frequently misuse other substances as well, there is also the risk of experiencing polysubstance withdrawal, and withdrawal symptoms associated with other substances, particularly alcohol and sedatives, can be life-threatening or cause other potentially dangerous medical complications.3 Medical detox can make the withdrawal process significantly safer and more comfortable.6
In medical detox, patients are supervised and monitored by medical staff who can treat and respond to potential emergencies. There are currently no FDA-approved medications for treating stimulant withdrawal or dependence, but medication may be a part of supportive care or used to reduce the severity of certain symptoms.3, 6
Medical detox is a necessary first step for many people who decide to stop using meth. However, detox by itself does little to help someone addicted to meth or other substances achieve long-term recovery. Addiction is a chronic disease and people who have a substance use disorder often relapse even after they’re clean again and no longer physiologically dependent on a substance. Remaining sober requires changing engrained thoughts and behavioral patterns, which often necessitates a combination of evidence-based therapies provided in inpatient or outpatient drug rehabilitation treatment.7
Addiction treatment is highly individualized, and the appropriate setting and length of time for rehabilitation treatment varies depending on someone’s specific needs.7 Oxford Treatment Center in Mississippi offers the following levels of care:
- Medical detox.
- Residential treatment.
- Partial hospitalization (“day treatment”).
- Intensive outpatient treatment.
- Standard outpatient care.
- Sober living.
Addiction treatment is covered by most insurance plans due to federal mandates.8 Admissions navigators at Oxford Treatment Center can help verify your insurance benefits before you start treatment. If you are unable to afford rehab, there are payment options that may help cover some expenses.
It’s not too late to get help. Please call or fill out the form below to learn more about the care provided at Oxford Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ drug rehab center in Mississippi.
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