How Long Does A Meth High Last?

How Long Does A Meth High Last?

Also known as meth, ice, or crystal meth, methamphetamine is a stimulant that targets a person’s central nervous system.

It works by increasing the amount of a natural chemical or neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine plays a role in the movement, motivation, and reward or reinforcement of behaviors. When someone smokes, snorts, swallows, or injects meth, they may experience a spike in dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria and confidence. However, as with many other drugs, meth users often experience a crash after using. But what is a meth high like? And how long does a meth high last? Below, Banyan Boca Raton looks to answer these questions.


How Does Meth Make You Feel?

This substance is known to make users feel energetic, euphoric, and extremely confident, which results from meth’s impact on a person’s senses and ability to interpret thoughts, memory, and focus. Physical aspects like breathing, body temperature, movement, and balance are also affected by this form of drug use.

Similarly, crystal meth is the most potent and purest form of methamphetamine out there. Many people suffer from physical and psychological damage with chronic use, leading to addictions that are usually too difficult to recover from without the help of methamphetamine detox or treatment programs.

The immediate effects of meth use include:

  • Wakefulness or alertness
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)

Along with euphoria, methamphetamine releases an elevated level of dopamine in the brain's reward circuit, teaching the brain to repeat the “pleasurable” activity of drug use. The elevated levels of dopamine activated also contribute to the drug’s adverse effects on nerve terminals in the brain.


How Long Is a Meth High?

How long a meth high lasts can depend on a variety of factors. It will typically last for 4 to 16 hours; however, this depends on what stage of a high the user is in. Usually, methamphetamine’s duration of effects depends on when and how the individual took the drug. Meth highs also occur in stages, starting with an initial rush and ending with a crash.


The Rush

The beginning of being high on meth consists of a rush of dopamine that is instant and powerful. Meth users may experience a burst of energy or rush of euphoria that makes their hearts race, increases their confidence, boosts their metabolism, spikes their blood pressure, and leads to rapid speech. The initial rush of meth lasts about 14 hours.


The High

A more prolonged high follows the initial rush, also referred to as “the shoulder.” Typically, this period lasts anywhere between 4 to 15 hours. During this phase, users may be more outspoken and more prone to arguing to make their point. Ice users in the high phase often fixate on one activity, like staring at an appliance or a flame or repeating tasks like snapping their fingers.


Repeat (The Binge)

During the binge phase, users may attempt to maintain their high by using more of the drug. A binge can last anywhere between 3 and 15 days, during which the person becomes more hyperactive. However, while users may inject, snort, or smoke more ice during the binge phase, they may experience a similar but shorter-lasting rush until there is no rush or high. An increase in physical tolerance makes it more difficult for users to experience the rush of crystal meth, contributing to the use of higher doses and an increased risk of overdose.


Tweaking (Shutdown Phase)

Methamphetamine users are most dangerous when they are tweaking, a condition that occurs when a person reaches the end of a drug binge and can no longer experience a rush or high. When the bingeing phase is over, the psychological effects of meth take over due to exhaustion, lack of eating, and an inability to experience a high again. Most meth users describe the period after a high to be empty, lonely, and depressing. While tweaking, people may also experience intense cravings for meth and a fog of sensations.

This phase is particularly dangerous for the individual and the people around them due to their increased hostility, irritability, and desire to harm themselves. Intense itching is also common in this stage because users might be convinced that bugs are crawling under their skin, a condition also referred to as meth mites. Additionally, because crystal meth users cannot sleep for days at a time while bingeing, they may be in a completely psychotic state in which they see and hear things that are not real.


Meth Crash

Following bingeing and tweaking, a crystal meth user may eventually crash or fall into a period where they sleep for as long as three days. At this point, their body is unable to cope with the overwhelming side effects of meth on the brain and the high doses they have taken. Even the most severe, long-term users become lifeless during the meth crash phase.


Meth “Hangover”

After the crash, the user returns to a deteriorated state, during which they may experience meth hangover symptoms like severe hunger or dehydration, plus mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. The meth hangover can last anywhere from 2 to 14 days. Because most users figure that using more meth will eliminate these symptoms, this leads to enforcing their addiction, which requires meth addiction treatment to recover from.


What Affects How Long the Effects of Meth Last?

How long a crystal meth high lasts depends on a variety of factors. It can be different from user to user as well. Some factors that impact the length of a meth high include:

    • Dosage
    • The potency of the drug (meth vs crystal meth)
    • How the drug was used
    • Whether the person used more than one kind of drug
    • User’s medical history and underlying health conditions
    • The body’s ability to metabolize meth

When asking, “How long does a meth high last?” It should be considered that even feeling the need to inquire could lead a person down a dangerous path. No matter what the causes of an addiction, leaving it unaddressed can spell serious trouble for one suffering. For someone struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, inpatient drug treatment might be necessary. Although the initial effects of ice are euphoric, the use of this drug only leads to short and long-term problems.

If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to meth, Banyan Treatment Centers can help. Call our Palm Beach rehab today at 888-280-4763 for more information.


Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.