How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

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People overcoming drug addiction may need to attend a detox program before beginning other treatment programs, such as outpatient treatment. If this includes you, you may wonder what withdrawal symptoms will be like and how long drug detox takes.

How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

How Long Does Drug Detox Take?

If you are anticipating the detox process and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, it’s natural to wonder how long drug detoxification takes.

The withdrawal period is different for different types of drugs. For some drugs, withdrawal may last for weeks, while others take a shorter period of time.

In general, medical detox programs typically last between five and 10 days. With some substances, you may need to remain under medical supervision for longer than 10 days.

How Long Does A Drug Detox Program Take?

Although the average medical detox program for drug abuse lasts five to 10 days, some people may only require care from medical professionals for a few days, and others may need it beyond a couple of weeks.

The length of time depends in part on the particular drug and in part on the severity of the substance use disorder (SUD).

For example, opioid withdrawal usually lasts longer than withdrawal from stimulant drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

However, withdrawal from heavy benzodiazepine use can take longer than opioid withdrawal, requiring careful withdrawal management for longer than 10 days.

Detox programs typically last long enough to get clients through the worst of their withdrawal symptoms and related complications so that they can concentrate on behavioral therapy and other treatment options.

How Long Can Drug Withdrawal Last?

The onset of withdrawal symptoms and how long withdrawal generally lasts vary according to the type of drug. The severity of the addiction, a person’s general health, and other factors can also influence withdrawal timelines.

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak at a certain point in the timeline and then become milder, indicating that the person has made it through the worst part of the detox process.

Take a look below to see how long withdrawal from certain drugs takes in the addiction treatment process, at either the inpatient or outpatient level.

How Long Does Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Last?

Benzodiazepine drugs (“benzos”) include Xanax, Valium, and others that are typically prescribed for anxiety disorders. Some benzos, like chlordiazepoxide, are used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

People facing benzodiazepine drug abuse usually start to experience withdrawal symptoms around one to two days after their last use of the drug.

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal include:

  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • agitation
  • irritability
  • poor concentration
  • muscle aches

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can last about two to four weeks, or as long as eight weeks for long-acting benzos.

How Long Does Stimulant Drug Withdrawal Last?

Withdrawal from stimulant drugs is relatively short compared to the other drug withdrawal timelines.

Stimulant drugs include:

  • amphetamine
  • methamphetamine
  • cocaine

There are both physical and mental health symptoms of withdrawal. Psychological symptoms include depression, agitation, and irritability. Physical symptoms include muscle aches, increased sleeping, and heightened appetite.

These symptoms start about a day after the last use of the stimulant and continue for about three to five days.

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?

Physical symptoms of withdrawal for short-acting opioids begin around eight to 24 hours after the last use. They usually last between four and 10 days.

Symptoms of opioid drug withdrawal include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • insomnia
  • muscle cramps
  • perspiration
  • opioid drug cravings

For substance abuse of long-acting opioids, which is not as common, people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms between 12 and 48 hours after the last use, and they can last up to 20 days.

Because opioid and opiate withdrawal can be severe, providers often use medications like methadone to help with symptoms, lessen cravings, and begin the recovery process.

How Long Does Cannabis Withdrawal Last?

Cannabis withdrawal is not commonly associated with a detox program because it is usually less severe than withdrawal from other drugs listed here.

Symptoms usually start around one to two days after the last use and last about one to two weeks, though they may last longer for people who engage in heavy cannabis use.

Withdrawal symptoms from cannabis include:

  • dissociation
  • anxiety
  • generalized fear
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • poor appetite
  • night sweats

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