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Can Meth Withdrawal Cause Seizures?

Young man in a doctor's office discussing meth withdrawal symptoms and addressing concerns such as "can meth withdrawal cause seizures?”.

All drugs have their own set of associated withdrawal symptoms. Can meth withdrawal cause seizures? Being that methamphetamines affect the central nervous system (CNS) and the brain’s structure and functionality. Even small doses of the drug can cause the brain and the body to become dependent on the drug. This dependence leads to withdrawal once the drug is abruptly stopped.

Understanding the dangers of meth and seizures from drug withdrawal can help users decide to stop and get clean, and it also allows loved ones to support and encourage users to seek meth detox and addiction treatment.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is artificially manufactured. It usually comes in a crystalline powder form and is odorless and bitter. Originally, methamphetamine was created for nasal decongestion and within inhalers. It is available legally only through nonrefillable prescriptions and has a high potential for abuse and addiction. This makes methamphetamine a Schedule II drug and listed by the Food and Drug Administration. However, it is also widely produced illicitly on the streets and sold illegally to users. In 2020, approximately 2.6 million people ages 12 and up reported using meth in the last year.

Effects of Meth

Meth is a CNS stimulant, and it can produce the effects of higher energy levels, elation, decreased appetite, and cause a person to be more talkative. Methamphetamine, in comparison to amphetamine, produces longer-lasting effects on the brain and the central nervous system. Methamphetamine can also allow more of the drug to enter the brain.

This drug can be highly addictive to users, and once use has begun, it can prove to be very difficult to stop using it. Once a person abruptly stops using this drug, that is when withdrawal begins. These symptoms can be very uncomfortable and lead to complications depending on different factors like length of use, the amount being used, and any underlying health concerns. This is why methamphetamine withdrawal is best achieved under medical supervision.

Crystal meth, where withdrawal from the drug comes with multiple withdrawal symptoms, raising concerns such as "can meth withdrawal cause seizures?".

How Meth Affects the Brain

Meth use can change the chemical makeup of the brain. Dopamine receptors in the brain can be affected by the drug, causing users to physically require the drug for normal functionality. Dopamine is used by the CNS to send and receive messages between neurotransmitters in the brain. Because meth causes the brain to release higher levels of dopamine spontaneously upon use, it can produce a feeling of euphoria in the user. This “high” that is produced can be the cause for people to continue using the drug.

Can Seizures Occur During Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?

Meth withdrawal comes with its own set of commonly seen withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary in severity from person to person. Understanding these symptoms and how they can affect the body is important to deciding to safely end the use of this drug. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

With this list of withdrawal symptoms, you may ask, “Can meth withdrawal cause seizures?” The short answer is there is a possibility of seizures from drug withdrawal occurring at any point during the withdrawal process. Spikes in blood pressure as the body begins to regulate itself back to normal functionality can cause increased activity in the brain, leading to seizures.

How Long Does Meth Withdrawal and Seizures Last?

The timeline for methamphetamine withdrawal is not definitive, and it varies from person to person. However, two potential concerns during this process are the cravings for meth, and potential chances of having seizures, which are brief but can vary significantly. In addition, medical supervision is crucial during this time. A healthcare professional can assess the situation, provide appropriate intervention, and offer support to manage the withdrawal symptoms.

There is a general outline of how the symptoms appear as well as how long they can last:

  • One to two days. During this time, one will feel the most intense of withdrawal symptoms. This is the “crash.” Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping can be severe. This is why medical supervision is highly recommended when attempting to end methamphetamine use.
  • Three to 10 days. At this point, those withdrawing from meth can reach the peak of the symptoms. Sometimes severe depression, anxiety, and fatigue can manifest, and cravings for the drug can be more intense.
  • Three to four weeks. By now, most of the physical symptoms of meth withdrawal have dissipated. However, one may still feel cravings intensely.
  • One month or more. The brain’s dopamine levels are still trying to regulate themselves back to normal function. While the physical symptoms should have subsided by now, psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety may still be affecting the person with full force. However, these symptoms will subside with the regulation of dopamine. Also, individual and group therapy can help.

Healthcare professional managing the patient's withdrawal symptoms and assessing whether meth withdrawal can cause seizures.

Getting Help for Methamphetamine Addiction in South Florida

Medically supervised detox can be extremely beneficial to those seeking to end methamphetamine use. It’s important to note that meth withdrawal can be a demanding process, and you might find yourself wondering, “Can meth withdrawal cause seizures?”. Our trained professionals can help to address the physical symptoms, such as seizures from drug withdrawal, as well as manage the psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.

At Retreat of Broward, we have a team of medical and mental health professionals ready and willing to assist you as you begin your journey of recovery. Contact us today and we can help guide you through the process of choosing recovery from meth addiction.

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