How Long Does a Drug Detox Take? (4 Withdrawal Timelines)

A doctor talking to a patient about drug detox

Recovering from an addiction to substances like drugs and alcohol requires detoxification of the body, which encompasses more than just addressing withdrawal symptoms.

It’s essential to be aware that the length of time it takes for a successful detox can vary based on numerous factors.

I’ve spent months researching how long detox takes and talked to rehabilitation experts to gain further insight into this process. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

Quick Summary

  • Depending on the type of substance, withdrawal symptoms can onset within hours or days after drug consumption.
  • After withdrawal symptoms begin by two weeks, most individuals begin to see a decrease in their severity. 
  • Opioid withdrawal may cause severe symptoms such as physical pain, benzodiazepine withdrawal can evoke extreme anxiety symptoms, and a feeling of fatigue commonly accompanies stimulant withdrawal.

How Long Does Detox Take?

A doctor explaining how long a detox takes to a patient

The amount of time a drug detox takes depends on several factors. Everyone’s detox needs are unique and deserve personalized consideration, but most of the time, people make it through their withdrawal symptoms and cravings within three to fourteen days. 

Several different factors can influence the amount of time necessary for successful treatment of drug or alcohol dependency, such as:

  • The type of drug you are using
  • If you habitually ingested more than one substance
  • How frequently one consumes drugs or alcohol
  • The number of drugs or liquor you ingested
  • An individual’s medical history and any existing health situations should be considered.

Due to its personal nature, detox duration is based on an individual’s age and gender. Thus, when you factor in all variables, it can be difficult to predict exactly how long they will persist. 

Types Of Drugs and Their General Detox Timeframes

A doctor explaining the type of drugs

Depending on the drug, users may experience various withdrawal symptoms during recovery [1]

Below are a few of the typical drug withdrawal timelines for some of the most commonly treated addictive substances:

  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium are potent medications that can cause painful withdrawal symptoms quickly – ranging from one day up to seven days. In the first two weeks after abstinence, one can experience withdrawal symptoms intensely, which may become serious if not managed properly.
  • Stimulants, including cocaine and amphetamines, are known to enter and exit the bloodstream quickly. These substances, unfortunately, provide only a short-lived high for users before severe addiction often sets in as individuals go on binges of these stimulants.
  • Alcohol withdrawal can result in critical symptoms that require medical attention because alcohol addiction is equally as serious as drug addiction. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms experienced by an individual may span anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months, contingent on their specific profile.
  • In the event of opioid withdrawal, the worst symptoms will likely occur within two days. These may include dilated pupils, intense drug cravings, stomach discomfort, nausea, body pains, and uneasiness.  Opioid withdrawal is considered a distinctly uncomfortable experience. The detox period can last anywhere from several hours up to multiple weeks based on substances such as heroin or prescription-strength pain relievers, including oxycodone and methadone, amongst others like Percocet.

Also Read: What Are the Worst Drugs to Detox From?

Factors That Impact The Detox Process

A doctor talking to a patient about the detox process

Unfortunately, the individual detoxification process and timeline of each patient vary. A recovery specialist may provide a more detailed explanation for an individual’s situation, but it is important to remember that everyone has their own unique experience. 

Many factors influence the duration and difficulty level of this journey, such as:

  • Genetic makeup
  • General health and mental wellness
  • The timeframe of drug or alcohol abuse
  • The method of ingestion
  • The amount of substance taken with each dose

Although the immediate withdrawal phase generally passes quickly, individuals recovering from drug addiction may suffer psychological symptoms for an extended period. Many require ongoing therapy during the initial months or years after detoxification to aid this process.

What Is The Drug Detox Timeline?

A doctor reading the detox timeline

The drug detox timeline is made up of three phases: the acute withdrawal stage, the post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), and long-term sobriety.

  • Acute Withdrawal Stage: The Acute Withdrawal Stage typically lasts anywhere from several days to about two weeks, depending on the substance used. During this period, individuals may experience various physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS): Though the physical withdrawal symptoms may fade away during this period, many individuals still remain at risk for relapse due to post-acute withdrawal syndrome [2]. PAWS can last anywhere from several weeks up to a year or longer; mental withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia are more common than physical symptoms.
  • Long-term Sobriety: Long-term sobriety includes managing the triggers that made drug abuse attractive in the first place, such as stress and negative emotions. This stage is necessary for long-term recovery and involves regularly attending therapy, 12-step programs, or other support groups.

An inpatient program is your go-to if you’re looking for the most efficient route to detoxification. With 24/7 medical professionals who can keep tabs on you and administer needed treatments, this treatment ensures safety during withdrawal – which isn’t only a physical and mental process.

Some classic signs that accompany such states are:

  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Fevers
  • Alarming dreams
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety

From nausea to headaches and beyond, detox can be an intense journey. Your support team is here to help you navigate the challenges of this process with care and expertise.

“Detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse

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FAQs

What Is The Difference Between A Drug Detox Program And A Drug Rehab?

The difference between a drug detox program and a drug rehab is that a detox program is designed to help people rid their bodies of the drugs or alcohol in their system. In contrast, rehab focuses on behavioral changes and relapse prevention.

How Long Does A Detox Treatment Program Take?

A detox treatment program takes about five to seven days on average, depending on the severity of the addiction and other factors.

What Do Detox Treatment Programs Involve?

Detox treatment programs involve managing acute substance withdrawal and using medications, counseling, and other therapies to reduce cravings and promote long-term recovery.

What Are The Detoxification Treatment Options?

The detoxification treatment options include inpatient detox programs, outpatient detox programs, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

How Long Does It Take For A Body Detox To Work?

The amount of time it takes for a body detox to work is highly individual and depends on the person’s age, weight, metabolism, history of substance abuse, and other factors. Generally speaking, a full detox could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

What Is the Worst Drug to Detox From?

The worst drug to detox from includes opioids (like heroin), benzodiazepines (like Xanax), and alcohol. This is due to their severe withdrawal symptoms and the potential medical risks associated with detoxification.

What Is Rapid Drug Detox?

Rapid drug detox is a medical procedure that aims to quickly remove drugs from the body’s system, often under anesthesia. It’s primarily used for individuals addicted to opioids.

Start Your Detox Now

Everyone’s experience of drug detox and recovery is uniquely their own. For those who opt not to pursue medically supervised detox, I’ve found that Clear Choice Rescue Cleanse products can help with the discomfort of withdrawal and make way for a successful home-based detox process.

For those looking for a natural detox solution from the comfort of home, this powerful drink may be just what you need.

Its antioxidant properties help to remove free radicals in your bloodstream by filtering them out via your liver – and permanently eliminating them.


References:

  1. https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/how-long-does-detox/
  2. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome

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