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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Body?

For people who use methamphetamine or any form of it, they frequently wonder, how long does meth stay in your system?  They may be wondering because they want to stop taking it and they are nervous about withdrawal symptoms. Some people need to know the answer to this question because of an upcoming drug test. Either way, it is a question that needs to be answered.

Recovering from a meth addiction is very challenging, and anyone willing to do it should be commended. This is a highly addictive drug, but many people have gotten off it with great success with the right program.

Answering this question means learning about the drug’s half-life. There are also several different ways of testing and detecting meth in the body.

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How Long Does Meth Stay in the Body?

What people really need to know is how long this drug and its metabolites remain in the system. It may be necessary to know this information in order to pass a drug test. Some people need to take them for a number of reasons, including for employment and for drug rehab.

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On average, after the last dose has been taken, it takes about 2.75 days for the drug to leave the body. Some people may experience shorter or longer times, depending on several different factors.

There are a number of different factors that impact how long meth stays in the body. They include:

  • A person’s age – Basically, the younger someone is, the better equipped their body is to eliminate toxins. This is all based on their metabolism. Elderly people who use this drug may find that it takes longer to get it out of their systems.
  • A person’s genetics – There are certain genes that could help with metabolizing meth. Someone who has these genes could potentially eliminate the drug faster than those who do not.
  • A person’s liver and kidney function – Overall good physical health is a good indication of quicker drug elimination as well. The liver is primarily responsible for metabolizing meth, and the drug is broken down by the different enzymes there. Someone with liver problems would have a much harder time, and it would take much longer.
  • A person’s administration route – The rate by which someone uses meth may have an impact on how quickly it gets cleared from the body. This drug can be used by either IV, smoking it, or snorting it. It takes a little longer to eliminate this drug if it is used by IV than by the other methods.
  • A person’s usage frequency – There are people who use this drug quite infrequently, and those who use it daily. It makes sense that for daily users, meth has time to build up in their systems. For those who are infrequent users, they generally clear the drug relatively quickly.
  • A person’s dosage of meth – Likewise, it makes sense that someone who uses a small amount of the drug would eliminate it faster than a larger amount.

It takes time for the body to process methamphetamine. Understanding what is meant by the term, half-life, can help.

People are often confused by the term, half-life, and they wonder what it has to do with drug elimination. The answer is, everything.

A drug’s half-life refers to the amount of time that it takes for a drug to leave the body. In the case of meth, this drug has a half-life of between 10 and 12 hours. That means that it can take as long as 12 hours for half of the drug to be eliminated from the system. Once that half is gone, the body begins working on metabolizing the next half.

This process continues until the entire drug is gone. That is why the average time for meth to be processed is just under 3 days. Of course, as we mentioned previously, this timeframe can change based on the method of use.

Types of Drug Testing

There are several different methods of drug testing that can be used to detect crystal meth in the body. Most facilities will use urine testing, but there are arguments to be made for the other types as well. All of them are very accurate, but they all produce different detection times.

urine test is the most frequently used method of drug testing because they are so reliable. It is possible to detect meth in urine as soon as 2-5 hours after the last use of the drug. Once it is positive, the test will remain so for as long as three days in most cases.

But this might not be true for someone who is a long-term, regular recreational user. In these individuals, it may be possible to detect meth for as long as six days. Research has shown that close to 50% of the drug remains unchanged before any urinary excretion. That makes it easily detectable. Also, as much as 20% of the amphetamine metabolite will show up in urine screens.

Depending on how someone was abusing meth, the drug can stay in the blood for as long as 3 days after it is used. It is possible for a blood test to detect the presence of it within 2 to 4 hours after oral use. It may only take a few minutes to detect it if the drug was smoked or injected.

Blood tests are often used in hospital settings because they are easier. But they are not quite as reliable as a urine test. They do not detect meth for quite as long, and they are also invasive.

Saliva tests are often used by police officers at the scene of accidents or traffic stops. They are rarely used in a medical setting, but there are times when using them is appropriate.

A swab of saliva can be collected to determine whether or not someone has been using meth. The test will be positive in as little as 10 minutes and it will usually remain so for about 48 hours. With this method it is possible to find out if someone has been using meth within a 1 to 3-day window.

For those who have been using meth for a long time, a hair test for the drug will be positive. This method of testing is not quite as reliable for recent use of this drug. But it is possible to tell if someone has been using it for the last 90 days.

A hair test involves collecting a sample of hair that is between 3 cm and 6 cm long. Then the hair is analyzed for the drug. Because hair grows approximately 1 cm per month, this test does not work on first-time users.

With longer samples of hair, a meth test may stay positive for much longer. This method is very accurate for determining long-term drug use patterns.

Understanding the Effects of Methamphetamine on the Body

Many of the effects of methamphetamine are desirable ones, and the reason why people use this drug. It is a stimulant, which means that it tends to speed the body up instead of causing relaxation.

Taking this drug results in a rush of dopamine in the brain, which immediately leads to a sense of euphoria. That is the feeling that causes people to continue to use the drug again and again. It is that continued use that leads to addiction.

The effects of methamphetamine should not be ignored. Continuing to use it is likely to result in serious physical side effects both in the short and in the long-term.

People are very likely to experience:

  • Itchy skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • High heart rate
  • Severe dental problems

Meth mouth is a dental condition that is experienced by many long-term methamphetamine users. The American Dental Association has issued strict warnings to users about this painful condition. They warn that it can lead to quick tooth decay with continued use. The result is teeth that are rotting, black, crumbling or falling apart.

The president of the ADA, Robert M. Brandjord stated, “Meth mouth robs people, especially young people of their teeth and frequently leads to full-mouth extractions and a lifetime of wearing dentures.”

Brandjord goes on to say that it might not take much time at all for someone to develop meth mouth. Typically, regular users might take a year or even less to show signs of the condition. It happens because of the way the drug dries out the salivary glands. This can lead to a feeling of cottonmouth, and this state allows bacteria to eat away at tooth enamel.

To make matters worse, meth users are notorious for not brushing their teeth. That alone means that their tooth decay will only get worse. Grinding and clenching the teeth are other side effects of methamphetamine that contribute to meth mouth.

One of the most important facts about meth is that it can lead to serious heart problems. With long-term use of this drug, the damage can be extensive. It can lead to so many issues, including:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Faster pulse than normal
  • Inflammation of the small blood vessels close to the brain
  • Inflammation of the lining of the heart

Research has shown that meth users have a much higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. A link was actually found between heart attack and the use of meth among people ages 18 to 44. Overdosing on this drug can also lead to a coma or to a heart attack.

Meth has a dramatic effect on the central nervous system, or CNS. It works by acting as a potent stimulant, and it is highly addictive as well. There are many areas of the brain that are impacted when someone uses this drug. They include the prefrontal cortex, the striatum and the nucleus accumbens.

Using meth results in the release of excess amounts of dopamine and serotonin. It also blocks their re-uptake. With so much of these chemicals in the brain at one time, the person experiences euphoria. This drug is metabolized slowly, which means the high lasts a very long time.

Some of the physical effects of meth may be able to be reversed with time. It is possible to treat tooth decay in some ways, and other effects may be treated as well. If a person has suffered from severe heart damage or damage to other organs, this might be permanent.

The best thing that anyone who is addicted to meth can do is to stop using it. At that very moment, the healing process can begin. It may be necessary for people to undergo medical treatment for quite some time. But as a whole, their outlook will be much better than if they had just continued using.

The Psychological Effects of Meth

It is important to understand that methamphetamine is a powerful drug that has a profound effect on the brain. There are so many psychological side effects that can occur with the continued use of this drug. They include:

  • Memory problems
  • Aggressiveness and anger
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

People typically also have a lot of trouble sleeping and suffer with mood swings. Violence is not unheard of among people who use meth. Users also often experience strange sensations under their skin. It can feel as though there are bugs crawling there, which leads them to itch and even tear at their skin.

The risk of mental illness is one that every long-term meth user takes when they refuse to stop. Many people are diagnosed with paranoia or psychosis after having been on meth for a long period of time.

There have been many neuroimaging studies done to demonstrate the changes that take place with increased dopamine levels. People generally experience reduced motor speed and problems with verbal learning.

Other studies have shown that there are many structural and functional changes in the brain as well. These changes are in the areas of the brain that have to do with emotion and memory. This can account for a lot of the cognitive and emotional problems that chronic users experience.

There are many different ways that meth abuse damages the brain. They are both biochemical and physiological. The brain gets used to having the drug while the person is using. When it is suddenly stopped, it takes a while for the brain to normalize. This is when people typically experience withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, it is not long before the brain normalizes again.

But physically, normalizing is very different, and it may not always be possible. This is because of the way meth damages brain cells.

When someone uses methamphetamine long-term, the brain’s cellular transporters and receptors are altered. They are responsible for dictating a person’s mood. When they are impaired, this can cause issues like irritability, rage, depression and insomnia.

The best answer to this question is that it depends. In some cases, it may be possible to reverse the effects of methamphetamine abuse. For those who have been using the drug for years, many of the long-term psychological effects may linger. Other people might only experience some improvement over time.

In one study, former meth users who had been clean for six months were tested against those who had never used. They scored lower on psychological tasks, motor skills and verbal skills. But after 12 to 17 months, their ability to perform had vastly improved, and it was equal to the other group.

The only area where people had extreme difficulty was during the psychological tasks. It was common for people to experience aggression, apathy and depression symptoms when completing them.

How Long Does Meth Stay in the Body When Used With Other Drugs?

The length of time that drugs will stay in the body varies when they are being used with other drugs. The same is true for methamphetamine.

It is common for people to drink alcohol while they use methamphetamine. It is a drug that seems to “go well” with a lot of other substances, so they are often paired. Alcohol completely leaves the body within about 12 hours in most cases. There are times when it is faster and times when it takes longer.

In order for the body to process both substances, it has to do so a little at a time. It cannot eliminate both meth and alcohol together. That means that the amount of time it takes to clear the methamphetamine will be much longer than the average.

In order to truly get the right answer to this question, it is important to look at the half-life of the other drug. From there, it is possible to give a rough estimate of how long it will take for both to be eliminated.

Recovering from a Meth Addiction

Anyone who is interested in how long it takes to eliminate meth from the body should be thinking about quitting. It is possible to recover from this type of addiction, although it will take some time.

Quitting the use of crystal meth can change a person’s life forever. But it is best if they go through a quality treatment program to get help. Still, there are a lot of different ways that people choose to quit.

Options for Quitting

People stop using meth for all different types of reasons. Some may have only started using it because they were curious about the drug’s effects. Others may have started using it because they felt they needed a more intense high. Regardless of the reason, at some point, some people to develop the desire to stop. They just feel like they cannot because of how strong the addiction is.

It is not uncommon for people to try many different ways to quit. We have listed out the most typical ones below.

This is, by far, the best way to stop using methamphetamine. It is so important to deal with the physical side of the addiction before addressing the psychological side. This is done through the detoxification process, which we will discuss in more detail in just a moment.

There can be complications when people stop using meth, and one of them is the risk ofq overdosing after a relapse. It is also possible to experience heart problems, a seizure, or other medical issues.

Many of the complications can be stopped during addiction treatment. In addition, it may also be possible to reduce the severity of withdrawal.

A lot of people make the decision to stop using meth cold turkey when they decide to quit. This means that they just decide one day to stop. They may choose a day and plan it out, or they may just simply decide that they no longer want to use.

This sounds like the best plan, and it is one that people choose because they want to get withdrawal over with. It seems like it would work fine, but the problem is that withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe.

People are at a much higher risk of relapsing when they quit cold turkey. This, of course, can lead to an overdose, as we mentioned earlier. This method is fine for stopping drugs like cigarettes and caffeine. But it is not a good method to use during meth addiction recovery.

Self-tapering is another method that people often use when they want to stop using methamphetamine. They will slowly cut down on the amount that they use every day until they are no longer using any. This also sounds good in theory, but the reality is that self-tapering can be extremely dangerous.

With a drug that is as powerful as meth, tapering off it is likely to lead to withdrawal symptoms. Even though the person is still getting the drug, those symptoms may not be mild. They could end up becoming very severe. This could lead to using more of the drug to get the withdrawal symptoms to stop.

Tapering is never done professionally unless the drug is a prescription medication. There is good reason for that. It is a method that can cause more harm than good, and it can make recovering difficult.

Some extremely reputable websites proclaim the benefits of naturally detoxing from drugs at home. As one might expect, this method is one that a lot of people want to try.

There are many products on the market that claim to have detoxification abilities. A lot of companies talk about the benefits of various vitamins and supplements, detox drinks and even detox kits. They usually sound too good to be true, and that is because they are.

The FDA has not approved any natural supplements or products for use during drug detox. To use any of these products during meth withdrawal could even be dangerous. At the very least, they will typically not work as they are expected to.

The Benefits of Professional Drug Rehab for Meth Addicts

There are a lot of reasons why someone who is addicted to meth should choose to go to treatment. Drug rehab has so many great benefits that these individuals can experience. For instance:

  • They get the chance to leave a life of addiction behind and start over with a new life that is free of methamphetamine.
  • They get to work with professionals who are experienced at helping people recover from addictions.
  • They get help for the physical and psychological effects of meth withdrawal.
  • They have the opportunity to put together a relapse prevention plan.
  • They get the chance to get help from other clients who are also recovering from addictions.
  • They have a much better chance at achieving a positive long-term outcome than others who do not get help.

An excellent drug rehabilitation program offers hope. That is something that many meth users have not experienced in a long time.

Drug Detoxification Programs

Meth In Your System

For those who are addicted to meth, the very first step is to go through a quality drug detox program. As we mentioned earlier, this is the process of eliminating toxins from the body. Detoxification works by helping to reduce the risk of complications and by controlling withdrawal symptoms.

These two components are essential parts of a solid meth addiction recovery treatment plan. It is so important to treat the physical part of the addiction first and foremost. This gives people a much better chance at a long-term recovery. Also, detox should always be done on an inpatient basis. The patient may go to an outpatient treatment program afterwards, but they need the support during this stage.

There are a lot of different ways that people go through the detoxification process. It is the doctor’s job to talk with the patient and recommend the right kind of treatment. But someone who is addicted to meth will likely experience both of the following methods.

Medical detox is often one of the first types of treatment a person experiences during recovery. It is very important during methamphetamine withdrawal because it helps to control symptoms. As of now, there is no drug on the market that has been approved to treat meth withdrawal specifically. But there are several medications that can help with the symptoms.

If a doctor feels that a patient is at risk for seizures, they may be prescribed a drug like Gabapentin. It has been known to reduce the risk of them during withdrawal. Patients may also be given antidepressant medications, benzodiazepines, or many other types of drugs. Dosages may be adjusted as well, based on how the detox is progressing.

Both diet and exercise play a critical role in our overall physical and mental health and well-being. Most people who are addicted to meth are in very poor health. The drug often causes cravings for sugary foods and drinks. It is not uncommon for someone with this addiction to practically live on such things. Also, they get very little – if any – physical exercise.

When the body is in poor health, the organs not able to work as they should. The liver and the kidneys need to be in optimal health for them to function properly. They are a key part of the detoxification process.

Adding in physical exercise and ensuring that the patient receives adequate nutrition is so important. By improving their health, the detox can progress faster, and people usually feel better faster as well.

What to Expect During Meth Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal is likely to be very difficult, and we alluded to the reason for this earlier. The body strives to always maintain a delicate balance. When something upsets that balance, there is both a physical and psychological response. In this case, that response is happening to methamphetamine addicts in recovery.

It takes time for the human body to get used to having a drug present most of the time. As it adjusts, and then that drug is taken away, it throws the system into a state of chaos. This is why people go through withdrawal.

It is very important to understand the different meth withdrawal symptoms. Some of them may be quite severe, which is why treatment is so highly recommended. They include:

  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Intense cravings for meth
  • Cravings for carbs
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Bouts of psychosis

These and any other symptoms generally do not occur all at the same time. Typically, symptoms will start gradually and them eventually become much more severe.

People often want to know about the meth withdrawal timeline. They really are interested in finding out when they can expect their symptoms to stop. It can take some time, but eventually, they will subside.

In one study, researchers reported that the acute phase of withdrawal lasted between seven and ten days for most participants. During that time, they experience an ongoing decline in their severity. Many of them experienced a sub acute stage, which lasted for about two more weeks.

The reality is that meth withdrawal is different for everyone. There are those who may feel better after a week, but others may take two weeks or even more. It really does not matter how long it lasts. What is important is to get through it and to never return to using again.

The Importance of Drug Rehab

After detox, it is vital for people to go through drug rehab. So many people want to skip this step because they believe that they do not need it. What they fail to realize is that their addictions actually have two parts. They have started healing from the physical aspect, but they still need to heal from the mental aspect. That is why a quality rehabilitation center is so highly recommended.

There are a lot of reasons why people need to consider drug rehab. The biggest reason is so they can learn why they started using. Answering this one question will be the key to their recoveries.

co-occurring disorder is a condition that often afflicts people with addictions. The term refers to mental health issues that people will typically self-medicate away. Most do not realize they are doing this, and a lot of people have never been diagnosed formally.

There are a lot of different co-occurring disorders, such as:

  • ADHD
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder

Once a co-occurring disorder has been identified, it is important to treat it alongside the addiction. That is what makes dual diagnosis treatment so critical.

People need to make the connection between their addictions and their mental health issues. They need to know how one impacts the other and they need to go through that healing process.

In the past, addiction and mental health treatment we kept separate. This only resulted in more relapses. Dual diagnosis treatment is so valuable for anyone with a meth addiction.

What to Look for in a Drug Treatment Program

There are so many options available for drug treatment. It can be hard to know if you are choosing the right one. The best rehabilitation programs offer:

  • A smaller patient population to increase the time clients can spend with staff members.
  • Proof of accreditation through The Joint Commission. This ensures that the quality of care is high.
  • Positive reviews from others who have gone through the program in the past. These are also proof of positive outcomes.
  • Staff members that have become experts in the field of addiction treatment.
  • Aftercare planning to ensure that treatment does not stop once rehab is over.

Types of Treatment for Meth Addiction

There are many ways in which people can get treated for methamphetamine addictions. A lot of people assume that they will need to go to an inpatient program. But this is not the case at all. There are many who do well in outpatient treatment as well, as long as it is the right program.

There are a lot of people who need inpatient treatment. Without it, they are destined to suffer through a relapse. They simply need the structure that this type of program provides them with.

Inpatient rehab has worked for millions of people. It involves a 28-day stay in a facility, along with many different types of therapy. It is very helpful for those who need some time away from their usual surroundings. This form of treatment can help them refocus on what matters in their lives.

But it is not the right option for everyone. It is very strict, and its lack of flexibility can be a problem for some people.

Outpatient drug treatment can be an excellent option. But the traditional form of it might not be best for someone who has never been to rehab.

This type of program typically involves only meeting with a therapist. Appointments are often scheduled every week, and there is no group involvement. Still, it is an excellent choice for someone in need of follow-up care.

Intensive outpatient programs (or IOPs) can be a great choice for someone in need of drug rehab for meth addiction. These programs offer a high quality of care, yet they are also flexible. Clients can continue to live at home, and even work during the day. They can attend their appointments during the evening hours.

Long-term treatment is often recommended for people with long histories of addiction. They may have had several rehabs, and relapses, and may not have a stable home environment.

This form of treatment is very effective, and there are many who need it in order to recover. This may be especially true for someone with a meth addiction.

Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue

Find a Quality Drug Rehabilitation Program for Meth Addiction Recovery

Recovering from a meth addiction may be hard, but it is also possible with the right support. At The Evergreen at Northpoint, we want you to know that you are not alone. You do not have to take on the challenge of recovering by yourself, and we can help you.

We can provide you with a referral to a high quality drug detox program. Our IOP can offer you the assistance you need once that process has been completed.

Do you have questions about meth and how long it stays in the body? Are you interested in recovering? Please contact us.

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