Meth or methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that gives people a sense of euphoria and pleasure, but these effects aren’t just temporary. For the approximately 2 million people over 12 that use meth each year in the US, it can change how the brain works and lead to fatal overdoses.
If you have a substance use issue involving meth, having a drug test can be extremely stressful, especially if you don’t know what to expect. It’s important to remember that meth in urine samples is common in people who use meth, but there is much more that goes into these tests.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about meth and how long it stays in the urine. You’ll also learn about meth addiction treatment options that give you the support you need while you recover.
Overview of Meth
Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. It has a stimulant effect on your body and causes changes in your brain.
Meth and the Brain
People tend to continue taking meth due to its effects on the brain, which causes it to stick around in the body long-term.
When you use meth, it gives you a temporary sense of alertness and energy. It also gives you a rush of euphoria which is due to how it interacts with the brain’s chemistry. It does this by impacting the dopamine neurotransmitters in your brain. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” chemical messenger and plays a massive role in how we feel pleasure.
This causes people to take more and more meth to try to achieve this initial euphoric feeling.
How Can You Take Meth?
How you take meth has an impact on drug test results. You can smoke, snort, inject, or take meth in pill form.
Regular meth typically comes in white powder or pills. You ingest the pills orally, but the powder can be snorted or dissolved for injections. On the other hand, crystal meth appears like shards of clear glass or rocks. This is why you hear meth also referred to as “ice” or “glass.”
In addition, smoking meth will lead to a shorter window of detection for a urine test.
Overview of Urine Drug Testing
Uring drug testing, also referred to as a urine drug test, is a simple test that analyzes your urine for the presence of medications and substances such as:
- Cannabis (THC)
- Prescription opioids like oxycodone
- Illegal opioids such as heroin
Urine drug screens can also detect alcohol; however, it’s more common to test for alcohol via breath tests.
Drug tests detect drug metabolites based on how long they stay in your system. Drugs and substances all impact you differently, which affects how long they remain in your body. Here’s a look at the details of how long you can expect meth to stay in your system:
How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?
Meth has longer-lasting effects and can stay detectable in your body for at least four days. Once you ingest or smoke meth, it enters your bloodstream and immediately travels to your lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain.
Since meth is water soluble, it passes right through your cell membranes. Your body then has to work to metabolize and eliminate the meth in your liver and kidneys by breaking it down and expelling it from your system completely.
It takes approximately ten hours for your body to eliminate at least half of the amount of meth in your system. This is known as a drug’s half-life.
Meth In Urine: How Long Can a Urine Test Detect Meth For?
As your body continues to break down the meth, it produces metabolites. These metabolites are filtered out of the blood and through the kidneys, and ultimately expelled in urine.
Drug tests like urine tests will pick up meth metabolites from this process for at least four days to a week after your last use.
However, this length of time can vary since there are individual factors that impact your metabolism, and ultimately how long a urine drug screen can pick up meth use.
Factors That Impact Your Body’s Metabolism and Urine Drug Tests
It’s important to remember that you can’t expect everyone to have the same experience with urine drug tests. Many variables can influence how quickly your body can metabolize a drug.
Ultimately, this influences the drug’s half-life in your body, which can result in urine drug screens picking up past meth use for longer than a week.
The main variables include:
Frequency and Amount of Use
If you use meth frequently in large amounts, obviously it will take longer for your body to expel it out of your system.
Not only that, but your body will be constantly working to metabolize the meth in your system. As a result, you can expect a urine drug test to show positive for longer than someone who only uses it on occasion.
As you age, your body naturally begins to process medications less efficiently. Not only do your organs function differently, but you’re more likely to have chronic health conditions. This all impacts how quickly your body can metabolize meth.
Chronic Health Conditions
Chronic health conditions like kidney and liver disease have a huge impact on drug tests. If your kidneys aren’t working well, they’ll have a more difficult time eliminating drugs and substances from your body.
In addition, your liver is responsible for breaking down drugs. If you have problems with your liver, it can cause drugs to stick around longer or in some cases leave the body faster.
What you ate at the time you ingested meth also plays a big role in your metabolism. If you eat a large meal before taking meth, then your body also has to work on breaking down the food.
Overall, this impacts how long it takes your body to metabolize the meth.
Other Drugs or Alcohol
If you take other drugs or alcohol along with meth, it can significantly impact your body’s metabolic process. This is because your body has to metabolize multiple drugs at once which take varying amounts of time to process.
Why Do People Get Urine Drug Tests?
There are several reasons you may need to get a urine drug test and understanding these reasons will help you feel more comfortable about these types of tests.
In many cases, primary care doctors will order this test if they suspect you have a drug abuse problem. This allows your doctor to see what substances you’re misusing so they can recommend a treatment plan.
You may also need a urine drug toxicology screen if you need to go to the emergency room for any reason. If the doctor suspects the abuse of illegal substances is causing your symptoms, they’ll do a drug test.
Employers and drug treatment centers may also use these tests to ensure people are staying sober.
Meth Addiction Treatment
If you’re having difficulty with positive drug tests for meth, it’s time to break free from drug use and find a rehab center in Phoenix that can help you win the battle against addiction once and for all.
Treatment involves various stages, but with the right support, you can turn your life around.
The first step in any treatment program is detox. Detox is the process of ridding your body of all drugs and substances. When you take meth long-term, your body and mind adjust to having it in your system.
When you stop using it, you can experience a “crash” since you won’t have meth impacting your dopamine receptors. This and other meth withdrawal symptoms like severe anxiety, depression, and hallucinations can be challenging to deal with.
A medical detox program will monitor you 24/7 and help you manage withdrawal symptoms with medications. You’ll also prepare to enter into a treatment program once you complete detox.
Once you complete detox, you’ll then enter into a treatment program, like the ones offered at the Purpose Healing Center in Scottsdale.
In most cases, residential inpatient treatment is the best place to start since it offers the most intense treatment. Inpatient treatment programs can last 30 to 90 days, and you’ll stay at the facility during treatment.
You’ll have access to various therapies like holistic therapies and behavioral therapies.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) allow you to continue treatment while living from home.
Find Supportive Treatment for Meth Addiction
Now that you know more about testing for meth in urine and how meth impacts you overall, you’ll feel more comfortable when you encounter drug testing.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with meth use, you can turn to the team at the Purpose Healing Center for the support and guidance you need on your journey toward recovery.
Everyone has a different journey, and we provide custom treatment plans to address your unique needs. Our drug and alcohol treatment programs include medical detox, residential inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs.
Make sure to contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and see how we can help you.