Length of Drug Detox

Dr. Howard Samuels Outreach Team

Latest Detox Questions

"I've heard that coming off drugs can be dangerous. How do you know if someone needs drug detox?"

"I want to stop using opiates. What is the best way to detox off opiates?"

"I'm not looking forward to detoxing. How long does drug relapse last?"

"I've heard that coming off drugs can be dangerous. How do you know if someone needs drug detox?"
How long does drug detox last?

The length of a drug detox can vary depending on the substance, period of use, and dosage. A drug detox is the period of time in which the body is flushing out the chemicals that were ingested. Generally the user will experience physical and emotional withdrawals. The withdrawals, depending on the type of drug can initiate within a few hours. The detox experience and length of time is best explained by the different categories of drugs:

Crack and Cocaine: The withdrawal symptoms of crack or cocaine begin within a few hours of last use. The withdrawals symptoms are primarily psychological. Feelings of anxiety, restlessness, cravings, panic and paranoia can become overwhelming during this period. Physical withdrawals can include spasms and weakness. With heavy users crack and cocaine withdrawals can last up to 90 days.

Opiates and Heroin: Oxycontin, percodan, morphine and heroin can have extremely uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawals that can initiate within 8 hours of cessation. Flu-like symptoms, pain, spasms, vomiting, insomnia and depression can be expected. These severe withdrawals can last up to a week. A method of tapering off opiates can aide in the discomfort and safety. Post acute withdrawals symptoms (PAWS) are common, and these withdrawals can come and go for several years.

Hallucinogens: Ecstasy (MDMA) has a period of withdrawal termed "the comedown" which initiates roughly 2-4 hours depending on the dose. The user will experience anxiety, insomnia, nausea, headaches, irritability and paranoia for several hours and in some cases as long as a week. LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, and ketamine do not generally produce withdrawal symptoms.

It is highly recommended to those coming off of drugs or alcohol to enroll in a medically supervised drug detox. A detox facility can ensure the comfort, and safety of a drug detox. Integrating a healthy diet, therapy, support and exercise during a drug detox is vital.

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