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How Long Does Detox Take?

Sep 15, 2022

Detox is a first step towards recovery, and the length of time needed for detox varies. Numerous factors, including the type of substance used and a user’s age, affect the amount of time needed for withdrawal symptoms to pass. Let’s look at the length of the detox process of commonly misused substances and what makes residential treatment a more effective next step towards recovery than detox alone.  

Withdrawal times vary from drug to drug. Also, they can be impacted by the frequency of use and amount of the drug used. While a week of detox is a common length of time for main symptoms to taper off, cravings can last for weeks or months following the last incident of substance use. As these cravings can lead to relapse, it’s recommended to follow a medical detox with a residential treatment program to create a plan for a sustainable sobriety.  

How Long Is The Detox Process? 

The length of detox varies. Before we break down the detox process of different substances, we can examine what factors influence the time needed for withdrawal. Gender and age are two of those factors. As you look at the list of others, answer each question for yourself.  

  1. Which substance am I abusing?
  2. Am I abusing more than one substance? 
  3. How often do I drink or use drugs?
  4. How much of a substance do I consume each time?
  5. Do I have any mental health conditions?
  6. What’s my medical history and do I have any chronic conditions?

How long does detox take for alcohol misuse?  

Users may notice a peak of symptoms 72 hours after their drink, but it can take a week for physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to subside. Some symptoms, including cravings, will return after a week of sobriety. Health risks associated with alcohol detoxification are greater than those associated with most other drugs. To stop heavy drinking safely, it is usually necessary to undergo supervised medical detoxification. 

How long does detox take for marijuana?  

Mental health symptoms appear within a week of last using marijuana. You may feel irritable and depressed and struggle with focus. Cravings appear during that time, and physical symptoms (headaches, stomach pains, etc.) may persist. After two weeks of detox, the symptoms usually become less intense, although sleep issues may persist for a month or more. Sleep hygiene should help with these issues.  

How long does detox take for misuse of benzodiazepines? 

Early withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines include Irritability, nausea, headache, and muscle pain in the first two days. Symptoms commonly peak within 3-5 days of a last dose, yet severe withdrawal may last 10 to 14 days and be accompanied by weight loss and inability to concentrate. The withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepine can be fatal without medical supervision.

How long does detox take for opioid misuse?  

Withdrawal times from opioids depends on whether it’s a long-acting or short-acting opioid and can be extremely uncomfortable. Diarrhea, blurred vision, and rapid heart rate are among the symptoms peaking between 3-5 days. Most symptoms may taper off after a week of detox, but users may experience loss of appetite, dehydration, seizures, and other issues with longer withdrawal times. In people with severe addiction, the symptoms may persist for several months. Supervised medical detox can provide medications that assist you through opioid withdrawal and can help prevent the worst symptoms.

How long does detox take for cocaine?  

Individuals may experience different degrees of withdrawal from cocaine depending on a variety of factors. The withdrawal symptoms associated with stimulants are generally less severe than those associated with other substances such as alcohol and opiates; however, withdrawal symptoms can vary and may require medical attention in some cases.

Some people may experience troublesome withdrawal symptoms for several weeks after quitting cocaine, although many symptoms of withdrawal begin to subside within several days.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)? 

Acute withdrawal is a period marked by physical discomfort after quitting use of alcohol or drugs. The post-acute period beyond that is when the brain adjusts to life without a substance. Psychological and emotional aspects of withdrawal become more apparent and pose new challenges to someone trying to stay sober. As the brain works to correct the chemical imbalances caused by addiction, some people may be more significantly affected by PAWS than others. They tend to include people whose abuse included alcohol, opioids, and benzos. The post-acute withdrawal phase creates a higher risk for relapse as it can last for months or years.  

Why Is Residential Treatment Important After Detox? 

Detox only works to eliminate a substance from your body. It does not help you resist using again or address the reason you began drinking, misusing prescription medications, or using illicit drugs. As the risk of relapse is great after a detox alone, residential treatment is a recommended next step in a longer recovery journey.  

The work to create a sustainable recovery comes in identifying a program aligned with your comprehensive needs. In some cases, those needs may be related to mental health. Untreated depression, anxiety, or trauma can be a factor in developing a substance use disorder. A residential program offering dual diagnosis treatment can address how to move forward in life without drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with mental health issues and teach you healthy ways to respond to the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, or trauma.  

Headwaters at Origins is a well-known care provider offering a range of addiction treatment programs for executives and their families targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.

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