How Long Does Meth Detox Take?
August 26, 2022
Meth, short for methamphetamine, is an popular illegal drug that functions as a stimulant. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies meth as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means the drug has a high potential for abuse, but it has legitimate medical uses.
Methamphetamine has only one medical application approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is marketed as Desoxyn, and it is used to treat some cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
In the streets, this drug is often found as crystal meth. It is so-called because the substance appears as crystalline, blue-white rocks. When crushed, the drug resembles pieces of broken glass.
Meth has potent effects, which include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased wakefulness and alertness
- Heightened physical activity
The strong, quick-acting effects of meth produce pleasurable highs that users love. But these highs are also quick to go away, so it is common practice for users to take high doses of meth or to take it frequently. With these, it is easy to develop an addiction to meth.
If you happen to have an addiction to this drug, meth detox is crucial. Read on to learn more about the detox process and how long it lasts.
What happens during meth detox?
The goal of meth detox is to rid your body of all traces of the drug while helping you deal with withdrawal. The best outcomes can be achieved when you undergo detox with the supervision of medical professionals. This is called medically-assisted detox, and it is done either in a rehab center or a hospital. The medical staff will make sure that you are as comfortable and safe as possible during the process.
Typically, users who stop taking meth develop withdrawal symptoms, which can be quite uncomfortable. Those who try to quit on their own may find the discomfort too unbearable, leading to relapse. In other words, they just take meth again to get relief. For this reason, if you attempt to quit meth on your own, the chances of success are very low.
Symptoms of meth withdrawal include:
- Increased appetite (especially for carbohydrate-rich and sugary food)
- Stomach aches
- Profuse sweating
- Redness in the eyes
- Itching in the eyes
- Feeling unmotivated
- Severe depression
- Suicidal thoughts
Withdrawal symptoms can be more severe if you quit meth cold turkey. In particular, symptoms such as dehydration and suicidal thoughts are serious conditions. It is best to do meth detox with the supervision of medical professionals in case these emergencies happen.
Withdrawal during detox
During meth detox, it is still possible to experience withdrawal symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to you at this time to help you get through detox with as little discomfort as possible.
Some medications commonly used in meth detox include:
- Modafinil: This drug helps correct sleep patterns in patients with narcolepsy. It is also a stimulant like meth, so Modafinil may help reduce meth cravings as well as stabilize sleep problems brought about by meth withdrawal.
- Fluoxetine (Prozac): This is an antidepressant that also works in treating anxiety. This drug may help you if you develop anxiety, panic attacks, or depression during detox.
- Bupropion (Wellburtin): This is usually prescribed as an antidepressant. Bupropion helps regulate dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain responsible for producing feelings of pleasure. In turn, the drug also helps reduce cravings for meth.
What is the duration of meth detox?
The typical length of meth detox is 20 to 25 hours. But for some patients, it can last as long as 50 hours. It is at this time that your body is taking out all traces of meth from it. It is also normal to experience symptoms of withdrawal during this period.
Detox can be divided into three phases:
In this first phase of detox, a doctor will assess your current health condition. Commonly, you will be asked for a urine sample for a drug test. This will determine the amount of meth present in your body. Also, your doctor may ask about any history of substance abuse as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions. Answer these questions truthfully, as this information will help your doctor devise the best course for your treatment.
Then, a personalized treatment plan will be created for you. You and your doctor will discuss the treatment plan so you are fully aware of what to expect. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your doctor.
After evaluation, treatment will begin right away. At this stage, the goal is to make your body stable without meth. As you reduce your intake of the drug, a medical team will help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal. If they get too severe, you may be given medications like Prozac or Wellbutrin.
As the symptoms subside, the medical team will adjust your treatment. Some medications may be stopped, though you may need additional medications for any lingering symptoms. It depends on how you respond to the stabilization phase.
Detox is only the first step of a comprehensive meth addiction treatment program. After detox is done, your doctor will talk to you about what to do next. Usually, the next steps involve therapies in a rehab center. But if you are already undergoing detox in one, your doctor will help you transition into the next stage of treatment.
What happens after detox?
While detox can completely eliminate meth from your body, the psychological damage done by the drug is still there. You will need behavioral therapies to slowly undo that damage.
Common behavioral therapies employed in meth rehab include:
- Contingency management
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Support groups
- Individual counseling
If you are in an inpatient rehab program, you will be taking behavioral therapies right after detox is complete. In an outpatient program, you will be asked to go to a rehab center anywhere from twice a week to every day for scheduled therapies.
After these therapies are done, you should be able to live a sober life once again.