Quitting drugs or alcohol may trigger withdrawal symptoms, prompting many people to ask, “How long can withdrawal symptoms last?”
Going through withdrawal is a unique experience that varies based on the substance, usage amount, and duration of use. Detox removes the addictive substance and its toxins from the body. How long do withdrawals last, then? Physical withdrawal typically lasts 3 to 5 days, while psychological and emotional withdrawal can linger for much longer, sometimes months.
Drug withdrawal symptoms may include depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal ideation alongside physical symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, insomnia, tremors, rapid heart rate, while severe cases require medical intervention for potentially life-threatening DTs (delirium tremens) that may involve seizures, hallucinations, and convulsions.
Withdrawal timelines differ based on the substance, usage patterns, and individual factors. While these timelines provide general insights, individual experiences may vary considerably.
Drug Withdrawal Timeline
How long does withdrawal last depends largely on the substance in question.
- Opioids: Withdrawal symptoms from short-acting opioids typically begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose, peak at around 72 hours, and start subsiding within a week. Long-acting opioids might have a delayed onset of symptoms.
- Benzodiazepines: Withdrawal from short-acting benzodiazepines can start within 1 to 4 days, peak in intensity after about a week, and gradually improve over several weeks. Long-acting benzodiazepines can have a more gradual onset and longer duration.
- Stimulants: Withdrawal from stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines, often leads to a crash within hours to days, followed by a longer period of low mood, fatigue, and increased sleep.
Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
How long does alcohol withdrawal last may vary, but typically follows this timeline:
- 6 to 12 hours: Mild symptoms may present, including anxiety, insomnia, and shaky hands.
- 24 to 48 hours: Symptoms can intensify, with hallucinations, increased heart rate, and higher blood pressure.
- 48 to 72 hours: Severe cases might experience delirium tremens, characterized by confusion, fever, seizures, and hallucinations.
- 3 to 5 days: Symptoms generally begin to decrease, but mood disturbances and cravings might persist.
- 1 to 2 weeks: Physical symptoms often subside, while psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety might linger.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Now that you know how long is withdrawal, what symptoms can you expect? Common withdrawal symptoms include:
Physical symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, chills, sweating, tremors, and headaches.
Emotional and psychological symptoms might include anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.
Insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns are common during withdrawal.
Intense cravings for the substance can persist, making the process challenging.
Appetite fluctuations, ranging from increased hunger to reduced interest in food, can occur during the withdrawal process.
Profound tiredness and lack of energy are often experienced during drug or alcohol withdrawal.
Confusion, memory problems, and difficulty making decisions can arise.
Some people might experience physical sensations such as tingling, numbness, or heightened sensitivity.
Emotional instability and rapid mood changes are common during drug or alcohol detox.
Hallucinations and delirium
In severe cases, hallucinations and delirium can occur, especially during alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Some individuals might experience heightened thoughts of self-harm or suicide, particularly during withdrawal from certain substances.
Remember that withdrawal experiences are individualized, and not everyone will experience all of these symptoms. How long can withdrawal last, as well as the presentation of symptoms, can vary widely based on the factors outlined above. Seek professional guidance and medical supervision during withdrawal to manage symptoms safely and receive the most effective and appropriate support.
Treatment for Withdrawals
Withdrawal from substances often requires medical and psychological interventions to manage symptoms and support the individual’s journey towards recovery. The type of treatment depends on the substance, severity of withdrawal, and individual needs.
- Medication: Medical professionals might prescribe medications to alleviate specific withdrawal symptoms. For instance, FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine or methadone can help manage opioid withdrawal, while benzodiazepines might be used for alcohol withdrawal.
- Medical monitoring: Severe withdrawal cases, especially from alcohol or certain drugs, may need close medical supervision in a detoxification facility or hospital setting. This can help manage potentially dangerous symptoms and complications.
- Therapy: Psychological support is key during the withdrawal process. Behavioral therapies, counseling, and support groups can help individuals cope with the emotional and psychological challenges of withdrawal.
- Holistic approaches: Complementary therapies like yoga, mindfulness, and nutritional support can contribute to overall well-being during the withdrawal process.
- Gradual tapering: For certain substances, a gradual reduction in dosage under medical supervision can help minimize withdrawal symptoms.
- Inpatient or outpatient programs: Depending on the severity of withdrawal and individual circumstances, individuals might benefit from inpatient detox programs or outpatient support.
Consulting with healthcare providers or addiction specialists can guide individuals towards the most appropriate treatment plan for their specific needs.
When do withdrawal symptoms start?
Withdrawal symptoms usually start within hours to a day after discontinuing the substance.
How long do withdrawal symptoms last?
How long can withdrawal symptoms last can vary widely, generally lasting from a few days to a couple of weeks.
How long does opioid withdrawal last?
Opioid withdrawal can last about a week, with peak symptoms appearing within the first 72 hours.
How long does Adderall withdrawal last?
Adderall withdrawal duration depends on factors such as usage patterns, but acute symptoms might last a week or more.
How long does fentanyl withdrawal last?
Fentanyl withdrawal duration can be intense and relatively short, lasting around one to two weeks, but longer-lasting symptoms might persist.
Get Treatment for Alcohol & Drug Withdrawal at Gratitude Lodge
Whether you require assistance detoxing from alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medications, Gratitude Lodge in Southern California offers a variety of comprehensive medical detox programs. We have pet-friendly treatment facilities located in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA that are dedicated to your whole-body addiction recovery.
Access medications and continuous clinical and emotional care as you withdraw from drugs or alcohol as comfortably and safely as possible at one of our beachside centers. Following detox, you can move into ongoing inpatient treatment. Take advantage of personalized treatment that draws from interventions such as:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapies
- Aftercare support
Call 888-861-1658 when you are ready to withdraw from drugs or alcohol and then engage with ongoing inpatient treatment.