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Amphetamines Withdrawal Symptoms

During detox from amphetamines, users can experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. These could be mild or severe, and their duration depends on a number of factors.If you, or someone you know, is seeking help for amphetamine addiction, contact us immediately.

Some of these symptoms disappear after the last traces of the drug have left the user’s body. However, some can be severe and become chronic conditions, even increasing the user’s risk of death.  

In general, detoxing from amphetamines should not pose life-threatening symptoms, however, there is a chance of medical complications.

The user should not attempt to detox from amphetamines independently, without medical supervision. If you, or someone you know, is seeking help for amphetamine addiction, contact us immediately.

Common Withdrawal Effects

These are the primary symptoms of stimulant withdrawal, according to the DSM-V, the official guide to psychological conditions:

  • Depressed, irritable or anxious mood, which may develop into severe depression and two or more of the following symptoms:
  • Exhaustion
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive need for sleep)
  • Significant change in appetite
  • Significant physical agitation or lethargy
  • Inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable activities (i.e. sex, food, social interaction)

These symptoms may develop a few hours, or up to several days after the patient stops using amphetamines. They may be so severe that they cause the patient to become extremely stressed and prevent them from functioning in a normal manner.

Additional symptoms:

  • Appearing dishevelled
  • Slower reflexes and poor physical dexterity
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Appearing paler than usual
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Speaking in a monotone with little facial expression
  • Poor judgment

How serious are these effects? Are they life-threatening?

Generally, the withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox from amphetamine drugs are not life-threatening. Most deaths that occur during amphetamine detox result from a combination of exhaustion and poor judgment, which puts the patient at risk of accidents. Additionally, suicide resulting from depression and the inability to experience enjoyment is one of the greatest dangers of amphetamine withdrawal. However, this is rare, and the dangers of continuing to use amphetamines are much greater.

What is the duration of amphetamine withdrawal symptoms?

Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can begin a few hours or a few days after the patient stops using amphetamines. With continued sobriety, these symptoms generally subside over time. Although the symptoms may be very unpleasant, it is important that the patient does not attempt to self-medicate by using alcohol or other drugs. Medications do exist for the purpose of diminishing stimulant withdrawal symptoms, and the patient may be prescribed them depending on their physical and psychological state.

Chronic withdrawal symptoms are most likely to occur in the case of detox from methamphetamine, due to the drug’s altering effect on brain chemistry and structures.

Are symptoms different for different people?

The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary a lot between different individuals. Some factors determining this include the person’s health, their history of drug use, and whether they were using other drugs at the same time.

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Last updated & clinically assessed 16 February, 2022