How Long Does Withdrawal Last? A Timeline

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Withdrawal Times Vary by Substance Used

You want to know the answer to the question: How long does withdrawal last? Going through withdrawal is a challenging and often painful experience many people face as they attempt to overcome substance use disorders. The withdrawal process varies from person to person. The duration can depend on several factors, such as the substance involved, the length of use, and the person’s overall physical and mental health.

This article will examine the general timeline for withdrawal from various substances, discuss the factors affecting the duration, and provide some tips for managing the symptoms. Please note that the information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for alcohol withdrawal can vary based on the severity of the person’s alcohol use disorder. In general, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can appear within 6-24 hours after the last drink and peak within 24-72 hours. Here’s a general breakdown of the alcohol withdrawal timeline:

  • 6-12 hours: Minor symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, nausea, and insomnia may begin to emerge.
  • 12-24 hours: Seizures can occur in some cases.
  • 24-48 hours: Symptoms such as hallucinations and increased heart rate may develop.
  • 48-72 hours: Delirium tremens (DTs), a severe and potentially life-threatening condition, can sometimes occur. Symptoms of DTs include confusion, fever, and seizures.
  • 72 hours and beyond: Symptoms gradually decrease in intensity, but emotional and psychological symptoms may persist for weeks or even months.

It is crucial to seek medical supervision during alcohol withdrawal, as the process can be dangerous, particularly when delirium tremens is involved.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

Opioids include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as illicit drugs like heroin. The withdrawal timeline for opioids can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the specific substance and the individual’s usage history.

  • 6-12 hours (short-acting opioids) or 30 hours (long-acting opioids): Symptoms such as muscle aches, anxiety, and agitation may appear.
  • 1-3 days: Symptoms peak and may include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and insomnia.
  • 4-7 days: Physical symptoms begin to subside, but emotional and psychological symptoms may persist.
  • 1-2 weeks: Most physical symptoms have resolved, but emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and cravings may continue for weeks or months.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Timeline

Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax, and Ativan, are prescription medications used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be challenging and lengthy, sometimes lasting several months or more. The timeline varies depending on the benzodiazepine and the person’s usage history.

  • 1-4 days: Initial symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and agitation may begin to emerge.
  • 1-2 weeks: Symptoms often peak and can include increased heart rate, sweating, tremors, and seizures in severe cases.
  • 2-4 weeks: Physical symptoms begin to subside, but emotional and psychological symptoms may persist.
  • 1-3 months or more: Most physical symptoms have resolved, but emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression, and cravings may continue for an extended period.

Stimulant Withdrawal Timeline

Stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin. The withdrawal timeline for stimulants can vary, but symptoms will generally appear within hours to a few days after the last use.

  • 6-12 hours (cocaine) or 24-48 hours (methamphetamine): Initial symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and anxiety may emerge.
  • 1-7 days: Symptoms may peak, including intense cravings, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.
  • 1-2 weeks: Most acute physical symptoms subside, but emotional symptoms and cravings may persist.
  • 3-4 weeks and beyond: Emotional and psychological symptoms may continue for several weeks or months, with cravings potentially lasting even longer.

Factors Affecting Withdrawal Duration

Several factors can influence how long withdrawal lasts. The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms can be affected by the following:

  1. Substance used: Different substances have different withdrawal timelines and symptom profiles. For example, alcohol withdrawal can be more rapid and potentially life-threatening, while benzodiazepine withdrawal can be protracted and challenging. Learn more about substances here.
  2. Duration of use: Generally, the longer a person uses a substance, the more severe and prolonged their withdrawal symptoms may be.
  3. Frequency and amount of use: Higher doses and more frequent substance use can lead to more intense withdrawal symptoms and a longer recovery process.
  1. Co-occurring mental health conditions: People with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may experience more severe or prolonged withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Physical health: A person’s overall physical health can impact withdrawal. For example, a healthy individual may recover more quickly than someone with pre-existing health issues.
  3. Metabolism and genetics: Individual differences in metabolism and genetic factors can affect the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Support systems: A strong support network, including friends, family, and professional help, can positively impact the withdrawal process and recovery.

Tips for Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

While withdrawal can be a difficult experience, there are ways to help manage the symptoms and make the process more tolerable:

  1. Seek professional help: Consult with a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to create a safe and effective withdrawal plan tailored to your needs.
  2. Taper off the substance: In some cases, gradually reducing the dose of the substance can help minimize withdrawal symptoms. This should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
  3. Medication-assisted treatment: Certain medications can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and support recovery. Discuss potential options with a healthcare provider.
  4. Engage in regular exercise: Physical activity can help boost mood and reduce stress, which can be beneficial during withdrawal.
  1. Practice relaxation techniques: Holistic therapy techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage anxiety and stress during withdrawal.
  2. Join a support group: Connecting with others who have gone through or are going through withdrawal can provide valuable emotional support, encouragement, and practical advice.
  3. Stay patient: Withdrawal can be long and challenging, but it is important to remember that it is a necessary step toward recovery and a healthier future.

The duration of withdrawal can vary significantly based on the substance involved, the individual’s usage history, and other personal factors. While withdrawal is often an uncomfortable and challenging experience, it is a crucial step toward recovery. By understanding the general timeline for withdrawal, being aware of the factors that can impact its duration, and utilizing strategies to manage symptoms, you can better navigate the withdrawal process and set the stage for long-term success in overcoming substance use disorders. Remember, seeking professional help and support from loved ones is key to ensuring a safe and successful recovery journey.


Avedis Detox Supports Drug Withdrawal in Los Angeles, CA

Detox and inpatient recovery programs, like those offered at Avedis Detox and Recovery, provide comprehensive and personalized care for individuals struggling with substance misuse disorders. These programs help individuals safely navigate the withdrawal process, manage withdrawal symptoms, and begin their journey toward long-term recovery. Avedis Detox and Recovery’s experienced professionals work diligently to create a supportive and nurturing environment where patients can focus on healing and building a foundation for lasting change.

Avedis Detox and Recovery’s detox program is tailored to each patient’s unique needs, considering their substance use history, physical health, and mental well-being. By utilizing evidence-based practices and medication-assisted treatment, their team of experts can help patients manage withdrawal symptoms more effectively and reduce the risk of complications. This individualized approach ensures that patients receive the care and support they need to transition into the recovery phase safely.

What Happens After Detox?

Following detox, Avedis Detox and Recovery patients can participate in an inpatient recovery program emphasizing a holistic healing approach. This comprehensive program combines individual and group therapy, skill-building workshops, and recreational activities to promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Avedis Detox and Recovery empowers individuals to develop the tools and coping mechanisms necessary to maintain long-term sobriety by offering a well-rounded, structured environment. Their compassionate and dedicated staff provide ongoing support and encouragement, fostering a sense of community and connection vital for sustained recovery.

Avedis Detox and Recovery’s commitment to providing a personalized and supportive experience sets them apart as a leader in addiction treatment. By guiding patients through the detox and inpatient recovery process, they can help those with substance misuse disorders overcome their challenges and regain control of their lives. We can answer the question: How long does recovery last? If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact Avedis Detox and Recovery. Consider us a trusted partner in your journey toward a healthier, happier future.

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