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How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Methamphetamine, or “meth” for short, is a fast-acting drug that is used for recreational use throughout the United States and the world. In addition to being highly toxic for the mind and body, meth is an extremely addictive drug. In fact, meth or “ice” is one of the most addictive street drugs in existence. Many people who seek out the help of clinics like Prosperity Haven suffer from meth abuse and need structured support to move past their addiction for good.

However, people who use meth or those close to meth abusers may still have a lot of questions about how meth is processed by the body. One of the most common questions concerns the half-life of meth. Exactly how long does meth stay in the body? The truth is that the answer can actually vary based on a variety of factors. So, in today’s guide, we will answer the question above and address some of the different factors that can affect the amount of time that meth stays in your system.

How Long Are Effects Of Meth Felt In Your Body?

One of the reasons that meth is addictive is because it can cause increased energy and feelings of euphoria for extended periods of time. In fact, the “meth high” can last anywhere from 4 to 16 hours, depending on the amount taken and the intake method. However, this does not mean that the effects will feel the same for hours on end. On the contrary, there are different stages of a meth high.

Short-Term Effects

The initial rush usually kicks in within a few seconds and only lasts for a few minutes. This brief period provides the strongest sensations of energy and euphoria. After, the effects will remain, but start to decrease over time. Toward the end of the “high,” the user will experience a crash, which includes a rapid decline in energy, often accompanied by irritability and a strong desire to get high again.

As previously mentioned, the method of intake can affect how long you feel the effects of meth in the body. Smoking meth is one of the most common methods because it works for both powdered and crystal meth. Inhaling the vapor of meth allows the drug to take effect in seconds, with a high that lasts for roughly 5 minutes and continues in a lesser form for several hours.

Alternatively, snorting meth in a powdered form has a slower onset period. It takes about 5 minutes to start feeling the effects in the body. And, while the high is not as intense when snorting the drug, the peak of the high can last for as long as 20 minutes.

Like smoking, injecting meth also has a fast onset period and an intense “rush” that is short-lived. This method is less common because it requires more equipment and comes with additional risks. For example, sharing dirty needles increases the risk of contracting HIV or Hepatitis C.

Finally, taking meth orally has the longest onset period, with the effects taking roughly 15 to 20 minutes to kick in. Like snorting meth, the effects are less intense, though the peak of the high can last a bit longer. In any case, no matter how someone takes meth, the full effects can take hours to fully wear off.

Long-Term Effects

Thus far, we have only covered the short-term effects and sensations associated with meth abuse. However, the long-term effects can last in your system for much, much longer. More specifically, people who habitually abuse meth are likely to experience the following negative effects that could last for weeks, months, years, or even life:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Permanent changes in brain structure and function
  • Decreased brain function
  • Inhibited motor skills
  • Increased distractibility
  • Memory loss
  • Aggressive, violent, or unpredictable behavior
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Severe dental problems
  • Sores on the mouth, face, and arms
  • Severe weight loss

The degree to which a meth abuser experiences these effects will depend on the frequency of drug abuse and the length of their addiction. For example, if someone abuses meth for several months, they may be able to overcome many of the behavioral issues associated with meth use in a matter of weeks or months. Alternatively, if someone abuses meth for years on end, they may have permanent changes to their brain function, dental health, and overall well-being.

For How Long Can Meth Be Detected?

The detection method will determine the half-life of meth in your body. Generally, there are four ways that medical professionals can test for the presence of meth: blood, urine, saliva, and hair.

  • Blood Test – Meth becomes detectable in the bloodstream within 1 or 2 hours of intake. Then, it stays in the blood for roughly 48-72 hours after use.
  • Urine Test – Meth becomes detectable in urine within 3-5 hours of intake. Then, it stays in your urine for another 3 to 7 days. Many authorities use urine tests because meth stays in your pee for much longer.
  • Saliva Test – Meth becomes detectable in saliva within 30 minutes of intake. Then, you can expect it to remain detectable in saliva for another 72 hours.
  • Hair Test – It takes much longer for meth to leave your system if you are tested using hair. In fact, meth stays in your hair for up to 6 months after the last use.

Factors Which Affect How Long Meth Lasts In Your System

We have already discussed some of the factors that can affect how long meth stays in your system, but the testing method is by far the most important factor when it comes to detectability. As you can see from the information above, a professional can detect meth with just one piece of hair up to 6 months after the last use of the drug. Alternatively, blood and saliva tests are only accurate for a few days. In any case, here are some additional factors that can affect how long meth lasts in your system:

  • Frequency of meth use
  • The average amount of meth used
  • The dose of your last use
  • The health of your body, particularly organs like the liver and kidneys
  • Your age
  • The abuse of other substances like alcohol

How To Get Help For A Meth Addiction

If you find that a friend or family member is dealing with meth addiction, your first priority should be support. You need to show compassion and sympathy so that they know you are on their side. There’s a good chance that they may not be thinking clearly, especially if they are using the drug every day. However, if you can extend a helping hand, then you have already taken the first step toward recovery on their behalf.

Fortunately, if you opt for high-quality drug rehab or a residential drug treatment program, you greatly increase the chances of helping your loved one get over their addiction to meth for good.

Are you, your child, friend, coworker, parent, or spouse struggling with a meth addiction? Are you looking for meth addiction treatment options that target each patient’s specific needs? Finally, are you in need of a comprehensive treatment for meth addiction that provides a wide range of effective solutions? If so, feel free to contact the experts at Prosperity Haven to learn more about getting help at our residential drug treatment center.


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