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How Long Do Methamphetamines Stay in Your System?

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Methamphetamines are powerful highly addictive stimulants. To end your use of these dangerous drugs, it can be helpful to know the answer to a few important questions, such as: How long do methamphetamines stay in your system, should you consider detox, and why is follow-on treatment so important?

How Long Do Methamphetamines Stay in Your System?

How long do methamphetamines stay in your system? This seems like it should be a simple question with an equally simple answer – but in truth it’s actually a bit more complex.

First, this question can be asked for two somewhat distinct reasons:

  • How long will you continue to feel the effects of meth after taking the drug?
  • How long can drug screens detect the presence of meth in your system?

How Long Will You Feel the Effects of Meth?

The onset and duration of meth’s effects can vary depending on how a person ingested the drug. Smoking or injecting the drug can cause them to feel effects almost instantaneously. If they snort or swallow meth, it may take five to 20 minutes to start feeling its impact.

Once a person has meth in their system, the high can last six to 12 hours. As the drug’s effects begin to wear off, they’re often followed by a physical and psychological crash. 

To maintain their high and avoid the crash, people often use the drug over and over again, an experience that is known as a meth binge.

Meth has a half-life of six to 15 hours:

  • A half-life is the amount of time it takes for a person’s body to process and eliminate half of the drug they’ve taken. 
  • Experts usually consider a drug to have fallen below a clinically significant amount after four to five half-lives. 
  • Using this formula, it can take one to three days before the drug is fully eliminated from a person’s system.

How Long Can Meth Be Detected on a Drug Screen?

Even after meth has been eliminated from your body, you can still test positive for it on a drug screen. This is because drug screens don’t only detect actual drugs, they detect metabolites (byproducts that your body produces as it processes and eliminates a substance).

Depending on factors such as your weight and metabolism, how much meth you have used, and how long you’ve been abusing the drug, tests may detect it for the following durations:

  • Saliva test: About 24 hours
  • Blood test: Up to two days
  • Urine test: Three to five days 
  • Hair test: Up to 90 days

What Happens During Meth Withdrawal?

If you have become addicted to meth, and then you abruptly stop using it, the process of eliminating it from your system can be accompanied by a variety of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. 

Common physical symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea

During meth withdrawal, you may also experience the following psychological effects:

  • Powerful cravings for meth
  • Anhedonia (difficulty experiencing joy)
  • Trouble with memory and concentration
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

When a person tries to stop using meth on their own, the intensity of these symptoms can quickly become overwhelming. This is why many people benefit from spending time in a detoxification, or detox, program.

When you’re in detox, you will be in a safe, closely supervised place under the care of a team of professionals who can safeguard your health and make you as comfortable as possible. 

The Importance of Treatment 

Completing detox for meth can be a significant step toward a healthier future – but taking that step doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean that your time in treatment is done. 

During withdrawal, you will understandably be focused on managing your physical and psychological distress. After detox, treatment can help you address many other important aspects of addiction and recovery, such as:

  • Identifying your triggers, or the circumstances that may threaten to push you back into active meth use
  • Developing strategies for either avoiding triggers or responding to them in a healthier manner, without resorting to substance abuse
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health concerns that may have contributed to or been exacerbated by your struggles with meth addiction
  • Replacing negative thought and behavior patterns with healthier ways of thinking and acting
  • Learning vital stress-management and self-soothing techniques
  • Beginning to rebuild relationships that may have been harmed by your addiction
  • Sharing support with others who have struggled with addiction and who are working on their recovery

Detox alone can’t stop you from using meth again. Give yourself the gift of additional treatment and support, so that you can start living the healthier life you deserve.

Find Treatment for Meth Addiction in Nashville

Nashville Treatment Solutions offers customized care to adults whose lives have been disrupted by addictions to methamphetamines and other substances. We also serve patients who have been living with anxiety, depression and other co-occurring mental health concerns.

Our meth addiction treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, is staffed by experienced professionals who are committed to providing personalized services in a safe and respectful environment. Here, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment. We will work with you to understand the full scope of your needs, help you set realistic short- and long-term goals, then develop an individualized plan just for you.

When you are in the midst of active addiction, it can feel like there is no escape. At Nashville Treatment Solutions, you can discover your path out of the darkness of compulsive meth abuse.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.