How Long Does Detox Take?
- Questions About Rehab
- How Do I Choose The Right Rehab?
- How Do I Help A Recovering Alcoholic?
- Do I Need Rehab, Can I Do It On My Own?
- What If I Wait To Go To Treatment?
- Caring For Loved Ones While You’re In Rehab
- Cost Of Drug And Alcohol Rehab
- Can I Get My Job Back After Rehab?
- How Do I Pay For Addiction Treatment?
- How Do I Prepare For Rehab?
- How Do I Regain My Loved Ones’ Trust After Rehab?
- What If I Want To Leave Treatment?
- What Should I Have In My Aftercare Plan?
- Who Will I Be In Addiction Treatment With?
- How Do I Stay Sober After Rehab?
- How Long Does Treatment Take?
- How To Know If You Need Help
- Paying For Rehab With Medicaid And Medicare
- Paying For Rehab With The Affordable Care Act
- Should I Go Back To Rehab?
- Should I Travel For Rehab?
- What Is A Typical Day In Drug Rehab Like?
- What Does Admission To Rehab Look Like?
- What Happens If I Relapse?
- How Do I Handle Triggers?
- What Makes A Top-Rated Treatment Center?
- What To Bring To Rehab
- Why Does Rehab Have A Stigma?
- Will My Social Life Change After Rehab?
How Long Is The Detox Process?
When people talk about detox, they’re typically referring to one of two things: the act of detoxing from a substance or a detox treatment program. Detoxing from drugs or alcohol involves clearing the body of substances and managing any withdrawal symptoms that occur. There are two main categories to withdrawal: acute withdrawal, which consists of medical withdrawal symptoms that requires immediate medical attention, and post acute withdrawal, which is more related to the psychological symptoms that take effective continuous treatment to safely manage.
The entire process may take anywhere from a few days to several years depending on the multiple factors, including how long the substance has been used, frequency of use, severity of use, and physical dependence for the substance. For instance, alcohol leaves the body after a few days but detoxing from cravings may take much longer. How long the detox process lasts depends on a number of factors, including:
- Which substance was abused.
- If multiple substances were abused.
- How often the user abused the substance.
- How the substance was consumed (smoked, inhaled, etc.).
- How much of the substance the user took.
- The last time the substance was ingested.
- The presence of underlying co-occurring mental health conditions.
- The user’s medical history.
- Other prescribed medications taken that may complicate withdrawal symptoms.
- The user’s age.
- The user’s gender.
Featured Centers Offering Drug and Alcohol Detox
How Long Is A Detox Treatment Program?
Detox treatment programs are designed to assist individuals during the process of withdrawal. While the time it takes to detox from substances varies from person to person, detox programs are generally between 3 to 10 days long, depending on medical necessity. Detox is considered the first phase of recovery from addiction and should not be considered a substitute for any necessary treatment programming or therapy to follow.
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.
Break free from addiction.
You have options. Talk about them with a treatment provider today.
The Length Of Detox By Substance
Different substances stay in the body for differing periods of time, affecting the detox time for each. For the most part, an individual can detox from substances within a week (though cravings may persist for months afterward). Some of withdrawal most serious symptoms seem nonfatal, such as vomiting and diarrhea. However, rapid dehydration caused by these symptoms can be life-threatening. Accordingly, most addiction treatment programs include and strongly encourage medically-supervised detox.
Looking for a place to start?
Join the thousands of people that have called a treatment provider for rehab information.
Free and confidential
Access to professional treatment
The table below illustrates the approximate time it takes to detox, and typical withdrawal symptoms associated with each phase.
24 hours – 2 days
3 – 5 days
After first week
|Withdrawal symptoms begin, such as anxiety, insomnia, and shaking.
|Symptoms peak within 72 hours. Seizures, fever, and hallucinations may occur.
|Physical symptoms of withdrawal taper off.
|May experience cravings until treated through therapy.
|Some symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, shaking, or circulation problems may begin within hours.
|Depending on the strength of dose and severity of abuse, symptoms may peak after the first few days.
|For some, withdrawal symptoms may be delayed, beginning a week or more after the last dose.
|May experience “rebound insomnia”–the return of initial diagnosis, but worse–until treated.
|Irritability, nausea, headache, and muscle pain are early symptoms.
|Depending on the strength of dose, peak symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, shaking, restlessness, dry-retching, and palpitations.
|Rebound insomnia occurs in many cases of withdrawal.
|Severe withdrawal may last 10 to 14 days and include some weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and changes in perceptual abilities.
|Depending on the particular hallucinogen, withdrawal may include headaches, drug cravings, and sweating.
|If withdrawal symptoms occurred, most should peak and taper off within the first week of detox.
|Changes in the brain’s dopamine reward system may result in altered mood until natural levels return to normal.
|PCP is known to produce drug cravings in individuals following use.
|Staying hydrated, eating healthy foods, and exercising can ease initial symptoms of withdrawal.
|Withdrawal symptoms include mood changes, reduced appetite, headaches, insomnia, and stomach problems.
|Mental symptoms like irritability, loss of focus, drug cravings, and increased feelings of depression may occur.
|Most symptoms should abate after the body resumes normal production of its own THC.
|Withdrawal depends on how fast-acting the opioid is. Heroin withdrawal may begin after a few hours and include muscle pain, anxiety, teary eyes, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, and frequent yawning.
|Peak of symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, goosebumps, blurry vision, and rapid heart rate.
|Symptoms taper off but may still experience digestive issues, loss of appetite, dehydration, or seizures.
|For severe addictions, insomnia, irritability, cravings, sweating, anxiety, and depression may persist for 6 or more months.
|Initial withdrawal “crash” may include fatigue, body aches, irritability, and altered mood.
|Brain damage caused by drug abuse may lead to depressive or psychotic symptoms.
|Lethargy, erratic sleep, intense drug cravings, depression, and poor concentration may continue.
|Drug cravings are the most persistent symptoms of stimulant withdrawal and may continue for months.
Check if my insurance covers rehab
Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.
Find A Detox Program
Detox is the integral first step of recovery. For individuals suffering from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), entering detox can be life-saving. Medication-assisted treatment can reduce painful withdrawal symptoms and increase your chances of successfully moving on to an inpatient or outpatient rehab program and therapy. Contact a treatment provider today for information about available detox options.
Destiny Bezrutczyk is a Digital Content Writer from west Iowa. She earned a Bachelor’s in English Language and Literature from Texas Tech University. After working as a freelance script and blog writer, she began writing content for tech startups. Maintaining a passion for words, she took on a variety of projects where her writing could help people (especially those battling mental health and substance use disorders).
- More from Destiny Bezrutczyk
Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
Travis Pantiel is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Board-Certified Counselor with specialized expertise in the co-occurring disorder treatment field.
- More from Travis Pantiel