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Before you commit to a detox program, you probably want to know how long it’s going to take. Drug detox is a highly individualized process, so it’s impossible to say exactly how long you’ll need to complete the process. There are also many different factors that can influence the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

However, there is some good news! Although we can’t tell you exactly what you will experience during withdrawal, we can provide an estimated timeline for the overall process based on the type of drug you’re using. Here are several different withdrawal timelines for some of the most commonly abused drugs.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

8 hours after the last drink:Abdominal pain, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia are common during this time.
1 to 3 days after the last drink:You may experience some confusion alongside high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and increased body temperature.
4+ days after the last drink:You may become very agitated and experience hallucinations, seizures, and develop a fever.
5-7 days after the last drink:By this time, symptoms typically decrease and taper off, although some may persist for weeks if left untreated.

→ More on how long alcohol withdrawal lasts

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline

6-8 hours after the last dose:Symptoms of withdrawal may begin to appear for short-acting benzodiazepines.
1-4 days after the last dose:Symptoms of withdrawal may begin to appear for long-acting benzodiazepines. Insomnia and anxiety peak during this time and you may be very uncomfortable due to a lack of sleep and rest. Sweating, nausea, and increased heart rate are also common.
10-14 days after the last dose:Symptoms of long-acting benzodiazepines may peak at this time and can last up to four weeks after the last dose. Symptoms associated with short-acting benzodiazepines may fade away completely within 10 to 14 days after the last dose.

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

1-3 hours after the last dose:You will probably begin to experience withdrawal symptoms very shortly after your last dose. These may include irritability, exhaustion and anxiety.
1-7 days after the last dose:During the first week of withdrawal, you will likely experience intense cravings, insomnia, depression, and mood swings.
2-4 weeks after the last dose:You will likely still experience strong cravings for cocaine and you may also feel very irritable and easily agitated. Many people also have extremely vivid dreams during this time.
5-10 weeks after the last dose:Cravings will ease up during this time and so will any other lingering withdrawal symptoms, although you may still feel anxious or depressed.
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Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

6-12 hours after the last dose:You will begin to experience some mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramps, sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and muscle and bone aches. More severe withdrawal symptoms may include rapid heart rate, insomnia, depression, muscle spasms, impaired breathing, and extreme drug cravings.
1-3 days after the last dose:During this time, your symptoms will peak. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is different for everyone and will depend on how long you’ve used heroin, how you used it, and how much was taken each time.
5-7 days after the last doseYour symptoms should be subsiding at this point but some may persist for weeks or months after completing detox if left untreated.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal Timeline

1-3 days after the last dose:You will most likely feel extremely exhausted, anxious, and paranoid. More extreme symptoms may include suicidal thoughts and hallucinations.
4-7 days after the last dose:You may struggle with very strong cravings, feel hopeless, and suffer from aches, pains, and headaches. You may also have difficulty concentrating and may experience some weight gain.
8-14 days after the last dose:Most of your withdrawal symptoms will have subsided, although you may still feel slightly depressed, have trouble sleeping, or experience sudden mood swings. Some of these symptoms may last for a few weeks.

Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

6 to 12 hours after the last dose:Early symptoms of withdrawal from short-acting opiates will begin to appear. These typically include muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety.
1-2 days after the last dose:Withdrawal symptoms of long-acting opiates appear and typically include muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety.
3 days after the last dose:Withdrawal symptoms typically peak at this time. You may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, depression, diarrhea, goosebumps, and drug cravings.
5-7 days after the last dose:By this time, symptoms have mostly receded but some individuals may still experience lingering nausea, anxiety, and have difficulties eating.

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Synthetic Drug Withdrawal Timeline

Research on synthetic drugs does not clearly define a timeline for withdrawal from these substances, but it does indicate the following:

  • Synthetic drug withdrawal symptoms will occur very quickly
  • Those symptoms will peak between four and seven days after the last dose
  • Some symptoms may last as long as 30 days

Drug detox is such an individualized process that it’s impossible to say exactly what you will experience, but having the right support makes all the difference. The experienced addiction treatment professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are available to help you by treating any uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal and providing a safe, comfortable place to detox.

If you need more information on a certain type of drug detox or you’d like to enroll today, please call the Briarwood admissions staff to speak with a representative. We will gladly answer all your questions and help you determine if our detox program is the right fit for you.

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