How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?
Methamphetamine use puts people and communities at risk. Meth users are at risk of overdose, addiction, and other short- and long-term health consequences. After using meth, it can stay in your system for several days, and may be detected on a drug test for 3-4 days after your last dose.
If you or someone you love struggles with meth use or addiction, don’t wait to get the help you need. Reach out to the specialists at PAX Memphis now to learn about our effective, comprehensive treatment programs.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine is a highly-addictive, illicit stimulant made from familiar household chemicals in illegal laboratories. Some of the effects of meth include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure and respiration
- Elevated body temperature
- Aggression and violent behaviors
- Heart attack
Some of the effects of meth can develop after just one use. The dangerous side effects of meth are amplified when it is combined with other substances, including alcohol.
How Long Do the Effects of Meth Last?
The duration of meth’s effects depends on how people use it. Some users ingest meth by smoking or injecting it, allowing the drug to reach the brain in very little time. Initially, users experience a burst of euphoria but may experience effects for many hours afterward.
Some users take meth orally or snort it, which produces a longer-lasting high.
Generally, the effects of meth may last between 8 and 24 hours, depending on how people take it, their health, other substances they use, and other factors.
How Long Does Meth Stay in the Body?
Meth is detectable in the body long after its effects disappear. Drug screening tests can detect meth in various bodily systems.
A urine test can typically detect methamphetamine for up to three days after you last ingest it. However, meth may be detectable by urine tests for longer periods in those who use it heavily or who have used it for a long time.
Blood tests are more effective at detecting meth in the body than urine tests. Although it varies from person to person, a blood test can usually detect meth for up to four days after a person’s last use.
Saliva tests have a similar sensitivity to blood tests and can generally detect meth for up to four days after a person’s last dose.
Hair tests can detect meth use for long periods–as much as 90 days. Hair testing is not typically used for workplace testing but can be helpful in forensic testing or research.
If you or someone you love tests positive for methamphetamine use, you must seek substance abuse treatment as soon as possible to safely stop using it and learn how to avoid relapse.
Factors that Affect How Long Meth Stays in Your System
The duration for which methamphetamine (meth) remains detectable in a person’s system can vary based on several factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for various purposes, such as drug testing, medical treatment, and understanding the potential risks associated with meth use.
Metabolism: One of the primary factors influencing the duration of meth in the system is an individual’s metabolism. People with faster metabolisms tend to process and eliminate the drug more quickly, leading to a shorter detection window.
- Frequency of Use – The frequency of meth use plays a significant role. Chronic or heavy users are likely to have meth present in their system for a longer time compared to occasional users.
- Route of Administration – How meth is taken also affects its duration in the body. Intravenous use typically leads to a faster onset of effects but may result in a shorter detection window compared to oral use.
- Dosage – Larger doses of methamphetamine can extend its presence in the body because higher doses may take longer to be metabolized and eliminated.
- Body Composition – A person’s body composition, including factors such as weight, body fat percentage, and muscle mass, can influence meth metabolism and elimination rates.
- Age – Age can impact how efficiently the body processes drugs. Metabolism tends to slow down with age, potentially leading to a longer detection window in older individuals.
- Kidney and Liver Function – These organs play a crucial role in metabolizing and excreting substances from the body. Impaired kidney or liver function can lead to a longer detection window.
- Hydration – Adequate hydration can facilitate the elimination of drugs through urine. Dehydration, on the other hand, may prolong detection times.
- Genetics – Genetic factors can influence how enzymes metabolize methamphetamine and how long it stays in the body.
- Mixing meth with alcohol or other drugs – Certain medications or substances can affect how meth is metabolized. Interactions can either speed up or slow down the process.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
As meth leaves your body, you may go into withdrawal. Meth withdrawal occurs in two stages: acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal. Unlike other stimulant drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine is metabolized more slowly and remains in the body longer. This means that meth withdrawal can last for longer periods than some other substances.
Acute meth withdrawal symptoms typically last a few days to a week and can include:
- Low energy
- Insomnia, then hypersomnia
- Trouble with concentration
- Loss of pleasure in activities
- Social isolation
- Weight gain
- Intense cravings
After acute withdrawal symptoms begin to fade, people may experience ongoing symptoms during the post-acute phase. These may include:
- Mood swings
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Suicidal thoughts
- Excessive sleeping
- Increased appetite
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms often resolve within 2 to 3 weeks, although some people have some symptoms that linger for months.
The severity and duration of your withdrawal symptoms depend on many factors, including the way you used meth, how much you used, your history of substance abuse, and more.
How Can I Safely Detox From Meth?
Once your body becomes dependent on meth, you’re likely to have withdrawal symptoms soon after you stop taking it. These symptoms may not necessarily be dangerous, but they can make you so uncomfortable that you risk relapsing.
To have a safe and complete detox from meth, you must seek medically-supported treatment at a detox facility. During detox, medical and support specialists will monitor your withdrawal symptoms and provide effective treatment to manage them. Detox treatment plans typically include the following:
- Medications to manage physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms
- Emotional support, including individual therapy when appropriate
- Distance from triggering people, places, and situations
- A safe, supportive environment
- Holistic therapies like nutrition support, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, and more
The care and support you receive during detox will help you stay comfortable throughout the process, allowing you to detox completely and be ready to continue treatment.
Get Meth Addiction Treatment Now
You don’t have to carry the weight of meth abuse or addiction alone. Effective, compassionate treatment is just a phone call away. Contact the caring addiction specialists at PAX Memphis now to explore meth rehab programs in Tennessee or to find support at any stage of your recovery journey.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.