How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Meth?

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There’s no way to quantify exactly how long it takes to get addicted to meth. Meth use and meth abuse do not automatically equal addiction. While there is no determined length of time it will take your body to become addicted, every time you use it, you run the risk of dependency behavior.

The actual time it takes to get addicted to meth is determined by several factors. Your general health, age, weight, how long you’ve been using, amount used, and experience with taking other drugs will all change the timeline toward addiction.

For example, if you are already in poor health, your immune system is most likely weaker. It will take longer to recover from your addiction. Your age and weight play a part with how your body breaks down the drug and how quickly it’ll pass through your system. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to have co-diseases occur. If you are struggling with meth addiction, you may simultaneously suffer from a mental illness that previously may have gone undiagnosed. This all affects how quickly your mind and body responds to treatment as well.

Why Do People Become Addicted to Meth?

Meth is a highly addictive drug. It makes the body feel a state of euphoria. It can make you feel energized and powerful because of how the drug stimulates the brain. This high creates cravings for those who experience it and the feeling is the main thing that causes people to use it again and again. After all, who wouldn’t want to feel this way?

However, as you continue meth use, your body becomes more immune to its effects. This means that it will take more of the drug to reach the same high as before. This change is what makes you become reliant on the drug and subsequently, addicted. Once addicted, your body will experience withdrawal symptoms sans the drug. This leads to a vicious cycle because you no longer do you have control of your choices. Your addiction is in control of your body and actions.

Meth has several negative effects on your health, especially at the addiction stage. Unfortunately, when you’ve reached this level of use, it’s difficult to quit, even if that’s what you want to do. Addiction builds over time, but once it has you, it’s hard to let go. Despite the seriousness of addiction, there is a chance for a healthy future. With dedicated treatment and time, you can overcome it and gain sobriety.

Side Effects of Meth

People use meth in different ways, such as injection, inhalation, or snorting. No matter which way you ingest it, the drug goes directly to your brain. Your senses become heightened and the high can last for hours. The body processes meth in different ways depending on how active your metabolism is, although the typical half life of meth is 12 hours. In 24 hours, the drug is likely fully processed. After this time span, your body craves more of the same feeling. This leads to dependency.

Once you become dependent on “feeding” your high, the solution is to take more and more of the drug, often in a shorter amount of time. This puts you at a higher risk for an overdose, since your body won’t have as long to break down the drug. Meth dependency changes how you think and react. You may feel like you are able to quit taking it at any time, but once addicted that’s not the case.

Although the allure of meth is the high that’s achieved, there are several side effects, psychological and physical, that come with use as well. Paranoia, insomnia, and hallucinations are common. For long-time users, you may develop what’s referred to as “meth mouth.” Since many of the ingredients (chemicals) used to make meth are acid-based, it will eventually ruin your teeth’s enamel. Meth addiction can also cause mood swings as a result of the side effects. It can cause really high highs and dip into super low lows. Other harmful side effects may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Blurry vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Abnormal heartbeat

Additionally, since meth suppresses the appetite, you may become anorexic or malnourished, which in turn, can have a negative effect on your immune system. Even if you don’t become addicted during the first few times you try meth, it’s the beginning of a pattern that can quickly lead there. Anytime you use meth, you put yourself in danger of addiction and overdose. Overdose can result in seizures, coma, or in the worst case scenario, death.

The way meth is ingested can cause its own set of health risks as well. Injecting meth is common because the drug directly hits the bloodstream, causing a quicker high. By injecting meth, you run the risk of non-sterile needles, which can lead to infection and other blood-borne diseases. Whether you smoke, inhale, or inject meth, none of these options are safer than the other; they all are extremely harmful to your health and well-being.

How Meth Addiction Affects Relationships

The people who are closest to you will notice the signs of meth before you become addicted. These symptoms may not be as obvious to you, since you’ve adapted to feeling and looking a certain way. But meth addiction changes your appearance, as well as how you think, act, and behave. It puts you at risk for complications at work, in your personal life, and sometimes, the law.

Addiction is unpredictable. You never can tell how the body is going to react. Every time you use meth, it may feel a little bit differently. The longer you are addicted, the more your body changes and adapts. This may increase the number of side effects you experience. It can also cause any withdrawal symptoms to feel more severe. Each experience is unique and should be treated as such.

If you are a loved one who is concerned with your friend or family member, seek possible treatment options. Speak with an intervention specialist who can help guide you through talking with the person in your life suffering from addiction. Battling addiction is no easy feat, but it is one that can be overcome.

Withdrawal from Meth Addiction

The withdrawal phase is what makes it difficult to quit using meth. You may have tried to quit your addiction before, but relapsed. One of the main reasons people are unsuccessful from detoxing on their own is the symptoms and side effects that take place. Withdrawal side effects are painful and uncomfortable. They last for days and can cause your body to shake and/or sweat profusely. You may also experience nausea, anxiety, and depression.

These effects are your body’s way of ridding the toxins from your body. It’s also your body’s way of adapting back to the norm of functioning prior to your addiction. Due to the challenges of the withdrawal period, we highly recommend you seek treatment and support to go through it in a secure, safe environment. It will help prevent relapse from occurring, but it will also allow for medical monitoring. Treatment facility staff are trained to make the withdrawal period as safe and comfortable as possible for you.

A typical withdrawal timeline is 5-7 days, although this can vary depending on how long you’ve suffered from addiction. The most severe symptoms happen in the first few days and gradually, become less and less as time goes on. To have support with you at every step of the way can help you through the process both physically and emotionally.

It’s not an easy process, but it is one that’s achievable with the right care and focus on getting better. Addiction is a disease and like any disease, it takes time to get the illness out of your system and recover. There is help available to you when you’re ready to take the first step. You shouldn’t have to go through it alone. And, you don’t have to.
Seeking Treatment for Meth Addiction

Even though getting healthy should be a priority, we know it’s not easy when an addiction has taken over your body. Fortunately, we have care plans that can be customized to your specific needs. No two addiction stories are exactly the same, which is why for treatment to work, it has to make sense for you.

There are two general methods of treatment: inpatient or outpatient care. This makes the choices less overwhelming as you decide what you feel will work best for you. Inpatient care is just as it sounds – where you stay in the place you are receiving care. This is usually at a facility that is set among a serene environment, such as the lake or mountains. When it comes to rehabilitation and recovery, every part of the treatment program is important, especially the environment. It impacts the way you are able to focus and heal.

Through inpatient care, you’ll learn where your drug addiction stems from and how to cope with it down the road. Although you may remember the first time you tried meth, do you remember why you decided to use? What was going on in your life at that time that enticed you to try it and then, use it again and again? One of the goals of treatment is to help you find answers you need. You will be part of individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and other educational opportunities and activities that will help you pinpoint the root of your addiction.

It’s important to dig deep during treatment. Once you know what triggers you, you can start to learn about coping methods. You’ll begin to understand what the addiction meant for your life and how to continue on a sober path. After you’ve gone through recovery, it doesn’t mean the temptation of meth won’t pop up again. The difference is that you’ll learn how to handle it, avoid it, and live a healthier, happier life.

If inpatient care is not the road for you, there’s always the option for outpatient treatment instead. Outpatient care has all the components of inpatient care, but you are able to reside in your own home or the home of someone you can trust to help you through your treatment period. Outpatient care requires continual accountability to show up for your appointments and carry out what’s needed to get to the next stage.

Outpatient care is also something you may choose as a transition following your inpatient stay. It’s also used as an option, if you’ve been through a treatment program before but are looking for additional support. There is monitoring along the way to gauge how well you are progressing throughout your treatment. Each person goes at their own pace and will face their own setbacks or challenges. When you decide to become sober, the journey is yours alone.

What Happens After Recovery

Once you’ve gone through treatment, you may wonder, what happens next. Take everything you learn and apply it to your day-to-day life. It will require a change in your environment, the people you surround yourself with, and the decisions you make every day. Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous can help provide additional support after you’re complete with your inpatient or outpatient care. Reach out to those you love and trust, who also will stand with you through your new sober lifestyle.

Part of the treatment process also involves finding healthy habits to replace your drug addiction. This may include exercise, creative outlets, whatever you find that promotes your sobriety and keeps you healthy, make it a point to be consistent. Enjoy having your life back and know each day you are becoming stronger.

There will be temptations and times that feel tougher than others, but you have the strength you need to fight for your sobriety. There are people who are there to support you and provide what you need to carry on without drug use. Going through detox and treatment is challenging, but it’s also rewarding because you have a brand new opportunity to lead the kind of life you deserve.

Don’t let addiction define who are, but rather, find who you are through meth addiction treatment. It will take time and dedication, but it will be time well spent because it’ll mean you’re taking care of yourself.

Find hope. Find recovery. Begin a commitment to lifelong recovery today – for yourself, your friend, or for your loved one.
(888) 325-1995


Drug Abuse. Can You Get Addicted To Crystal Meth After The First Use? Accessed. Feb. 1, 2016.

Addiction Blog. Dependence on Meth. July 2013, Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? Revised Jan. 2018, Accessed Feb. 1, 2018.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). What Is Methamphetamine? June 2018, Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.

News in Health. Biology of Addiction. October 2015, Accessed Feb. 3, 2016.

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