Drug Withdrawal, Timelines + Treatment

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Addiction to drugs causes extreme damage to the lives of those who can’t stop their addictions and their loved ones. Getting help to overcome a substance use disorder is one of the most important things a person can do. While there are many choices for facilities that treat addiction, Port Charlotte Detox stands out because we use the most modern treatments available. Your care with us begins from the first step of going to detox all the way through a highly effective and structured residential rehab. Those wondering, “How long does drug withdrawal last?” will find this common question is addressed through our ability to help ease withdrawal symptoms. We believe in making detox and residential care as painless as possible so everyone we treat can cross the finish line to enjoying a substance-free life. 

What is Drug Withdrawal?

When someone abuses a drug to the point of addiction, their body develops a reliance on it. When the drug is no longer used, the person’s system begins to crave it because it no longer provides the physiological response they need. The symptoms can be physical, mental, and emotional in nature. Left untreated, they can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. 

Why Does Withdrawal Occur?

When a person becomes addicted to drugs, it alters how their brain chemistry works. The brain naturally produces certain feel-good chemicals, but that production is halted when a person develops a substance use disorder. They rely on the drug to make them feel positive feelings like euphoria, and when they stop using the drug, they have a physiological reaction. As well, emotional reactions can occur that make withdrawal difficult to endure. How long does drug withdrawal last? It depends on a few different factors, but everyone who reaches the point of addiction and then stops using drugs will experience some type of withdrawal symptoms. 

How Long Does Drug Withdrawal Last?

Even when a person knows they need professional help to overcome an addiction, the thought of going to a program can feel intimidating. One of the biggest concerns they have is wondering how long does drug withdrawal last. While there isn’t one answer that fits every situation and every substance, there are some general guidelines. Withdrawal symptoms begin within a short amount of time after a person stops using a substance. This can mean as soon as just a few hours after taking the last dosage. 

Many of the initial symptoms resolve themselves while a person is in a detox program. This is especially true when the person receives medical support like FDA-approved medications during the initial days of becoming sober. Some withdrawal symptoms will last past the detox process and into the next stage of treatment. Many symptoms end after several days or become less intensive. Those that tend to last longer than others are often emotional, such as feelings of anxiety or depression. Cravings to use drugs may also linger for several weeks.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal

The specific signs and symptoms a person experiences during the withdrawal process depend on a few factors. This includes which substance they used, and the length and severity of their addiction. Common signs and symptoms that happen during drug withdrawal include:

  • Shakiness
  • Change in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Moodiness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Opioid Withdrawal + Timeline

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
 

The timeline varies per person but a good guideline is as follows: 

Day 1: Symptoms begin within several hours of last taking the drug. Common ones include shaking, muscle pain, diarrhea, anxiety, and drug cravings. 

Day 2-3: Previous symptoms continue and new ones develop, including nausea, vomiting, feeling tired, and moodiness. 

Day 4-7: Symptoms peak during this period and many end. 

Benzo Withdrawal + Timeline

Symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal can include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

The timeline varies per person but a good guideline is as follows: 

Day 1-2: Symptoms begin within a few hours of the last dosage. Common ones include headache, insomnia, and anxiety.

Day 3-5: Previous symptoms worsen and new ones happen, including nausea, high blood pressure, and moodiness.

Day 6-8: Symptoms begin to decrease during this time.

Cocaine Withdrawal + Timeline

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Paranoia
  • Cognitive difficulties
 

The timeline varies per person but a good guideline is as follows: 

Day 1: Symptoms begin within about 8-12 hours of last using cocaine. Common ones include headaches, sweating, muscle aches, and anxiety.

Day 2-4: This is the peak period when the previous symptoms increase. New ones develop, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and moodiness.  

Day 5-10: Symptoms decrease during this time and many stop completely.

Meth Withdrawal + Timeline

Symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive difficulty
  • Anxiety
 

The timeline varies per person but a good guideline is as follows: 

Day 1-2: Symptoms begin within several hours of the last dosage. Common ones include headache, insomnia, and anxiety. 

Day 3-5: Previous symptoms increase and others begin, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and moodiness. 

Day 6-8: Symptoms decrease during this time and many of them end. 

Other Detox + Withdrawal Timelines

How Do I Know Drug Detox is Necessary?

When someone tries to stop abusing drugs on their own, they almost always end up failing. This is because the withdrawal symptoms can be so trying that they need a professional program that offers relief from them. Along with wondering, “How long does drug withdrawal last?”, many people ask themselves if they even need to go to a formal detox center. Someone on the fence about whether they should seek help from addiction experts because they have lost control of their drug usage can ask themselves some questions:

  • Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when not using drugs?
  • Have I developed a tolerance and have to increase how much of a drug I take?
  • Have I attempted to stop abusing drugs on my own but couldn’t do it?
  • Do I feel like I can only manage to get through the day if I am high?
  • Does my career or education suffer because of my drug usage?
  • Do my personal relationships have discord because of my drug usage?
  • Do I experience poor medical and mental health symptoms related to drugs?
  • Do I use drugs to help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other difficult emotions or moods?
  • Do I obtain drugs through illegal means?
 

If you recognize yourself in two or more of these questions, you should discuss your situation with a medical professional to see what your options are for detox.

What Medications Are Used During Drug Detox?

One of the big advantages of attending a detox program is getting access to prescription medications that help ease many withdrawal symptoms. Opioid withdrawal symptoms prove challenging for many people, and three types of drugs can be used to combat them. They include methadone and Buprenorphine, both of which help reduce drug cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone can also be used because it blocks the euphoric effects typically felt when someone uses opioids. This makes it less tempting to relapse because the person won’t be able to feel the high they used to chase when using opioid drugs. 

Other medications can be used to treat medical symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, and body aches. In addition, prescription medications often come into play to help ease common symptoms of poor mental health that often happen during the withdrawal process. This includes anxiety, depression, and moodiness.

How Does Drug Detox Work?

Drug detox begins by providing an assessment of each person to determine their current state of physical and mental health. During the detox process, they will be monitored for withdrawal symptoms, and relief for them will be offered via medical and therapeutic support. The individual will attend therapy sessions that target resolving the initial challenges of going through detox. These therapies also help the person understand what contributed to developing their addiction and how to resolve those issues.

Begin Treatment for Drug Addiction Today

Are you concerned about how long drug withdrawal lasts and want to find a program that provides healing assistance to help you get through it? Port Charlotte Detox understands the road to recovery has its challenges, and we believe no one should suffer needlessly. Our detox and residential programs offer medical and psychological support to help you get through the initial stages of learning to live without abusing drugs. Our staff of experienced and dedicated clinicians help you understand the source of your addictive behaviors and work to resolve them. We guide you through different types of therapies that help heal addiction. As well, we offer an array of medications that minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Contact us today to get more information about how easy it is to get started in our program. Get the healing help you deserve to hit the reset button on your life.

Get The Help You Need Now

Living with addiction comes with feelings of guilt, shame, pain, and sorrow. Life can become heavy and it can be hard to see a way out. At Port Charlotte Detox, we have empathy and compassion for your experience and have created a seamless admissions process so you can get the quality of care you deserve. Did you know that most major insurance plans may cover the cost of detox? Call us at (844) 338-6972 or verify your insurance now.