How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?
For years, you or your loved one has battled an addiction to methamphetamine, and you have felt or seen the physical and mental downfalls that come along with continued use of the stimulant.
What many fail to realize early on in addiction to substances like meth are the effects it can have on your social life, work-life, relationships, and more. For many, the effects have led to lost friendships, lost family members, missed opportunities, and much more.
It is a bit ironic that while meth’s main use is to act as a stimulant, it can slow down so many things and can completely stop other things in a person’s life.
For many, it is important to know as they begin to end their meth use and begin a life in recovery, whether or not their body has rid itself of the drugs that have controlled them for so long.
This blog will examine the possibilities of the length of time that meth can remain in a person’s body.
What Is Meth?
If you are reading this blog in search of learning how long meth stays in your system, you are likely already aware of what meth is — even if you don’t know the full history of the drug.
According to the government site on drug addiction in the United States, drugabuse.gov, methamphetamine “is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, blue, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.”
Meth is an incredibly potent drug, making the rates of misuse much higher than other stimulants. It was first introduced in the early 20th century as a stronger alternative to amphetamines.
Early use of methamphetamine was in nasal decongestants and inhalers.
Who Is Using Meth and Why?
Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), showed that more than 14.7 million Americans have tried meth in their lifetime. That number equals 5.4 percent of the population or 1 in every 20 people.
The same survey found that 1.6 million of those 14.7 million people had used meth within the year of the survey.
As the country continues to battle the opioid epidemic, meth has taken a backseat in a lot of media coverage despite its substantial impact on the lives of Americans. In many areas, including parts of the northwest, meth is the leading cause of overdose.
Meth use and addiction do not have a singular group that it brings havoc upon. It can slowly take over the life of any individual that decides to use it just once or twice for staying awake, such as a truck driver, college student, or even a mother.
As with any addiction, it comes from increased tolerance. Methamphetamine, especially when used in smoking or snorting can take no time in forming an addiction.
Those that may be struggling with their weight loss may turn to meth as a way to help shed pounds, possibly before an upcoming event such as a wedding — only for the wedding to be called off due to the addiction that has taken place.
From your best friend that just became a mom, to your neighbor working night shifts at a warehouse — meth addiction can take over their life.
The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Meth Use
So what do you get from using meth? Why do people turn to it when they need an extra boost?
Similar to amphetamine, methamphetamine is used illegally to bring on a sense of euphoria by releasing the “feel good” hormone dopamine in the brain. Other symptoms of meth use include talkativeness, increased activity, and decreased appetite.
Other effects felt in the short term are
- Teeth grinding
- Disordered thoughts
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Time distortion
- Lack of balance
- Increased reaction time
While we hinted earlier at some of the long-term effects that continued meth use can have on your life, there are many more than those with a meth use disorder face. They include
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Increased distractibility
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Severe dental problems
- Aggressive and/or violent behavior
- Deficits in thinking
How Long Do You Feel the Effects of Methamphetamine in Your System?
Meth works through every user’s system differently. A lot of the effects of methamphetamine last longer than other stimulants, such as cocaine. In general terms, half of the methamphetamine taken will still be noticed in a person’s system 12 hours after the dose.
Comparatively, cocaine will be 50 percent less noticeable within an hour of use.
Feeling the effects of methamphetamine often comes down to the size of the person consuming, frequency of use, and source of intake.
Organization Drug Policy Alliance explained the differences in length of effects based on the way it is taken. When meth is swallowed, a user sees the peak concentration of effects between 2-4 hours after dosage. When a person snorts, injects, or inserts meth rectally, the effects are felt much quicker and give off an immediate rush.
Because of the rush feeling, snorting or injecting methamphetamine is far more addictive. Snorting or swallowing produces feelings of euphoria, but not the same “rush” that smoking or injecting does.
The Drug Policy Alliance explains that the effects of methamphetamine can last for up to four days in the body, while it lasts on average for 10 hours.
How Long Is Meth in Your System?
When you take meth, your body immediately begins metabolizing the drug. It begins to work into your bloodstream and within a short period of time, meth can be detected in your urine.
While meth usually lasts between 10-96 hours in the body, it can be detected for longer.
Depending on the amount of meth used, the amount of time since last use, and a number of other factors, meth can be detected for up to four months, depending on the type of drug test taken.
When Does Meth Become Undetectable in Urine? Blood? Hair?
As with any drug, tests for methamphetamine have different detection times. These will vary in every person differently due to a multitude of factors that include size, metabolism, frequency of use, amount of use, and more.
When tested in urine, after just one single dose of methamphetamine, the drug can be observed for up to four days. Of course, if the person that used the drug has taken more methamphetamine in short order, the detection window widens.
In a blood test, meth is likely to only show up for 1-3 days after a single dose. For saliva, on average, the window widens by a single day.
The meth test that comes back with the largest window, as is with a test for any drug, is the hair follicle test. In a test of hair, meth can show up positive more than three months after use.
Again, these times are just averages as there are many factors that play into the duration of time.
The factors playing a role in duration are
- Overall health — Mainly liver and kidney function play a role in how quickly your body will process and clear meth from your body.
- Frequency of use — Those that use methamphetamine frequently, or even semi-frequently, will have a longer detectable duration than those that have tried meth for the first time.
- Metabolism — We often talk about metabolism when it comes to nutrition and dieting. Metabolism is a major factor in the length of duration in drug testing as well. Those with a higher metabolism will rid themselves of meth quicker. Metabolism includes the overall health, age, and activity level of a person.
- Method of use — The method by which methamphetamine is absorbed also plays a role in determining the duration of detectability. If taken orally (i.e. smoking), the detection period will be shorter than if it’s injected.
- Medical history — Even if you have never smoked, injected, or snorted methamphetamine before, you may have a higher tolerance for it and need more to feel a significant high. For example, those that are prescribed prescription medicines such as Adderall® could see a longer detection period.
How Can You Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body?
Overcoming an addiction to methamphetamine can and will be incredibly difficult. Beginning with detoxification, your mind and body will battle intense cravings for the drug. This is why, when you have made the decision for change, it is important to not go about it alone.
Detoxification is a huge step in addiction recovery, and overcoming the withdrawals will possibly be the biggest challenge along the way as your mind and body will not allow you to get through this decision easily.
After damaging your brain’s receptors for hormones like dopamine after many weeks, months, or even years, the brain will continue to send signals of need even after you have made the decision to stop. This will leave you feeling intense cravings.
While you are feeling these cravings, your incredibly complex and powerful brain will also be recalibrating itself to relearn how to function without the help of meth. As it does this though, it is common to feel panic and anxiety.
After detox, the cravings will not suddenly disappear. It will take continued efforts on the part of the patient to create new pathways in the brain to understand that meth is not needed for functioning.
Northpoint Evergreen Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center in Washington can help make this process easier.
Northpoint Evergreen Meth Addiction Treatment is Just a Call Away
Northpoint Evergreen Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center, located in Seattle, is an outpatient treatment center with offerings of traditional outpatient (OP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and partial hospitalization focused on treating those with substance use and mental health disorders.
Northpoint Evergreen works hard every day to make sure that Washington is a happier and healthier place tomorrow. Our meth addiction program is designed to break our patients free from the bonds of addiction and allow them to live out their lives in recovery.
Making the first step toward recovery is half the battle. It is not easy to begin the journey, but once you do with the team at Evergreen, you are making a choice to have an incredible group of people behind you that will do everything in their power to help you reach long-term recovery.
You can reach the facility in Seattle, by calling (425) 629-0433.
- How long does methamphetamine stay in your system?
Meth can stay in a person’s system for a matter of hours to days. There are many factors that contribute to the amount of time that meth is detectable in a person’s body. These include overall health, metabolism, physical activity, amount of dosage, frequency of use, and more.
- How long does meth stay in your system if you’re fat?
While meth would not specifically stay in your system longer due to your weight, overall health and metabolism play a role in the length of time it does. For an obese person, meth would likely stay in their body system longer than a relatively thin person due to poorer conditions of their liver and kidneys.
- How long does meth stay in your system if you’re skinny?
While meth would not specifically stay in your system longer due to your weight, overall health and metabolism play a role in the length of time it does. For a person at or below average weight, meth would likely leave their body system quicker than someone in poorer physical condition due to their quality of health and metabolism.