Meth has a half-life of 12-34 hours and can be detected in the urine (the most common means of testing) for about three days following the last use. Users tend to feel talkative, hyperactive, and energetic, and some claim that the drug increases their motivation and ability to focus.
Depending on the average amount and frequency of use, meth can remain in the human body between 2-10 days. The desired effects of meth, however, usually only last about 8-24 hours. The initial “rush” induces the most intense feelings but tends to wane after around half an hour.
How Long Can Meth Use Be Detected?
As noted, meth has a half-life of approximately 12-34 hours, meaning that it takes this amount of time for levels of meth in the blood to be reduced by half. Depending on individual factors, including the following, this duration of time can vary:
- Rate of metabolism
- Frequency of use
- Length of use
- Amount last used
- Kidney and liver function
- Overall health status
How Meth Is Metabolized in the Body
When an individual uses meth, his or her system begins to process it immediately as it starts to circulate through the bloodstream. Some of this amount is converted into pure amphetamine. Within several hours, the body will metabolize both the meth and amphetamine. At this time, the substances make their journey throughout the liver and kidneys, and will soon be excreted in the person’s urine.
Studies have shown that up to half of a meth dose can be eliminated in its original form. Moreover, it is not broken down in the person’s system, and the user has not experienced any effects from this portion.
Meth Side Effects
In addition to the sought-after effects of increased energy and euphoria, meth users may encounter the following adverse symptoms:
- Reduced appetite
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Disordered thoughts
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Long-term effects related to meth use can also increase an individual’s risk of heart disease, cognitive impairments, neurotoxicity, and premature death. Meth use also wreaks havoc on the mouth (meth mouth). Poor oral hygiene and severe tooth decay from dry mouth may even cause some users to require dentures.
Like cocaine, snorting meth increases a person’s risk of nosebleeds, infections, and permanent damage to the nasal septum and surrounding tissues. Likewise, injecting meth can cause damage to the skin and veins, including sores, abscesses, and infections.
Signs of Meth Use
If you suspect someone you love is abusing meth, you should look for the following warning signs:
- Skin picking
- Meth sores (from picking at the skin)
- Meth mouth (severe tooth and oral decay)
- Loss of appetite and profound weight loss
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid eye movement
- Erratic sleeping patterns that can include being awake for days or even weeks followed by prolonged episodes of sleeping
- Twitching, facial tics, jerky movements, and pronounced mannerisms
- Outbursts, mood swings, or violent behavior
- Paranoia and delusions
Also, individuals who use meth frequently have an unkempt, disheveled appearance and may neglect essential personal responsibilities such as child-rearing, housekeeping, and sustaining employment.
Many meth users also abuse other substances, which is far more dangerous than meth is on its own. Using meth in conjunction with another stimulant, for instance, can lead to cardiac arrest. Also, using meth in combination with a central nervous system (CNS) depressant can cause unpredictable and potentially life-threatening complications.
It has also become increasingly common to find meth on the black market that is contaminated with other drugs, such as fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid similar in effect to heroin but far more potent. Therefore, if this occurs, individuals may require a more intensive detox that includes immediate administration of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal agent.
Although an overdose of meth alone is rarely deadly, overdosing on meth adulterated with fentanyl can result in death when the primary effects of meth subside, and fentanyl remains active.
Treatment for Meth Abuse
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer individualized, comprehensive programs including medical detox as well as treatment options such as partial hospitalization, and residential formats.
Patients who choose to undergo a medical detox are given a clinically-supervised withdrawal period in which vital signs are monitored, and potential health complications can be effectively addressed.
All programs feature therapeutic elements beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, experiential activities, and holistic techniques such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness therapy.
After treatment has been completed, individuals can still participate in an aftercare program, which includes outpatient counseling and therapy, support group meetings, and alumni activities.
If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible!