How Long Does Withdrawal Last?


One of the most daunting challenges addicts face during withdrawal is the thought of enduring the process. Drug detox and withdrawal can be an uncomfortable experience, with a variety of symptoms that may last days or weeks.

Withdrawal signs and symptoms vary depending on the drug of abuse, as well as the person’s individual physiology. In general, however, addicts can expect to experience some combination of mental and physical symptoms when they give up drugs.

What Is Drug or Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when a person suddenly stops using a drug or drinking alcohol after using it regularly for a period of time. When this happens, the body is no longer accustomed to functioning without the substance, and it can lead to a range of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on several factors, including the type of drug being used, the dosage, how long it was being used, and the person’s individual physiology.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they require hospitalization. This is especially true for alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal, which can both be life-threatening.

Timeline of an Alcohol Withdrawal and Symptoms

Many people ask, “Are all withdrawal symptoms the same?” While there are many similarities, some substances have far more severe symptoms than others. Consider alcohol:

Withdrawal from alcohol begins soon after the last drink is consumed. For most people, this will be within eight hours, but it can occur as quickly as two hours after drinking. The early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are similar to those of a hangover. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

These symptoms peak within 24 to 48 hours and typically resolve within five days. However, some people may experience more severe symptoms, known as delirium tremens (DTs), which can occur three to five days after drinking stops. DTs common symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures

DTs can be fatal if not treated promptly. Therefore, it is important for anyone experiencing these symptoms to seek medical supervision immediately.

Timeline of Drug Withdrawal and Symptoms

Withdrawal from other drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, follows a similar withdrawal timeline. Symptoms typically begin within eight hours of the last dose and peak within two to three days.

The length of withdrawal can last for weeks or even months, however, it depends on the individual’s physiology and the drug they are withdrawing from.

Alcohol and drug withdrawal can be a difficult and uncomfortable experience. However, there are treatments available that can help make the process more tolerable. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, seek help right away.

What Are the Dangers of Withdrawing at Home?

Withdrawing at home can be extremely dangerous. Not only are you risking serious health complications, but you’re also putting yourself at risk of relapse. If you’re considering withdrawing at home, it’s important to understand the risks involved.

Some of the dangers of withdrawing at home include:

Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most common dangers of withdrawing at home. When your body becomes dehydrated, it doesn’t have adequate fluids to function properly, which may lead to a number of health complications, including kidney failure and death.

Seizures: Seizures are another common complication of withdrawal. When you’re seizing, your body is convulsing, and you can lose consciousness. Seizures can be extremely dangerous, and they can even lead to death.

Heart Problems: Heart problems are another serious complication of withdrawal, such as rapid heart rate. When your heart isn’t working properly, it can cause a number of health problems, including heart attacks and strokes.

Some people experience psychological symptoms in addition to common symptoms. Likewise, some people have very mild symptoms, while others experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Before attempting to withdraw at home, seek professional help. There are a number of treatment options available, and a professional can help you find the best option for your situation.

What Is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Withdrawal symptoms can linger long after someone has detoxed from alcohol or drugs. This is because, during active addiction, substances change the way the brain functions. 

These changes can persist even after a person stops using drugs or alcohol, and they can lead to problems with mood, sleep, energy levels, and more. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

PAWS can make it hard for people to live their lives and stick to their recovery goals. It’s important to be aware of the potential for PAWS so you can seek help if necessary.

Understanding and Finding a Detox Program

If you or someone you know suffers from a substance use disorder of any kind, it’s important to understand the symptoms of withdrawal and how to find a detox program that can help. 

At Agape Detox, we understand that addiction and withdrawal can be a difficult and scary experience. That’s why our team is here to support you through every step of the detox process. We encourage you to reach out to one of our admissions counselors if you have any questions about getting the help you need.

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