How Long Does Detox Last?

People living with drug and alcohol addiction need comprehensive treatment and ongoing support to get sober and avoid relapse for life. When people first begin treatment for addiction, many require the support and supervision of a medically-supported detox program.

Outpatient drug and alcohol detox programs give people the care and treatment they need in the earliest days of sobriety and offer the best chance at a safe, complete detoxification process.

Once people begin their recovery journey, they may be eager to get through the first stage, which can be very challenging. So, just how long does detox last, and what can people expect from a detox program?

This article will explore how long drug and alcohol withdrawal lasts, a basic timeline for withdrawal symptoms, and the benefits of professional treatment during detox. Reach out to the specialists at Cobb Outpatient Detox now to learn about our effective, comprehensive detox programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

What Happens During Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when people who have been misusing drugs or alcohol suddenly stop taking these substances. When someone has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they lose control over their substance use. Their body requires drugs or alcohol to function properly. When they stop taking these substances, withdrawal symptoms develop.

The symptoms people experience during withdrawal vary from person to person and depend in part on what substance you used.

Alcohol withdrawal

Some of the symptoms people commonly experience during alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Heightened senses
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

People typically develop symptoms within just hours of their last drink. Alcohol withdrawal can become life-threatening and may lead to a deadly condition called Delirium Tremens (DTs). Delirium Tremens is marked by extreme agitation, seizures, hallucinations, and confusion.

Drug withdrawal symptoms

The duration, onset, and severity of drug withdrawal symptoms depends on the substance a person used, how much and how often they used it, and the length of time they used it.

Drug withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and can be dangerous. Signs of drug withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood changes
  • Insomnia
  • GI problems
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Fever
  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Panic

While many symptoms of drug withdrawal aren’t life-threatening, some people will experience deadly complications that require immediate medical care.

Cravings are common during drug withdrawal, and many people relapse before detox is complete. Support from a professional detox program can greatly increase your chances of completing detox safely.

How Long Does Detox Last?

There are many factors that can affect how long detox lasts. However, many people experience symptoms on a similar timeline.

Here are basic guidelines for how long detox from certain substances may last.


People typically develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms within just hours of their last drink. In many cases, symptoms peak around day three and begin to lessen after about five days. However, many people experience lingering symptoms, including cravings and mood changes, for longer.


Stimulant withdrawal symptoms typically begin within 24 hours of a person’s last dose and may last for three to five days.

Long-acting benzodiazepines

Because long-acting benzos stay in the body longer, withdrawal symptoms often do not show up for two to seven days after your last dose. People may experience symptoms for two to eight weeks or longer.

Short-acting benzodiazepines

Most people begin to notice withdrawal symptoms within a day or two of their last dose. Withdrawal typically lasts two to four weeks or longer.

Long-acting opioids

Symptoms of withdrawal from long-acting opioids like Methadone may develop within 12 to 48 hours of your last dose and last between 10 and 20 days.

Short-acting opioids

Withdrawal symptoms typically develop within eight to 24 hours of your last dose and can last between four and ten days.


Heroin withdrawal symptoms generally appear within about 24 hours of your last dose and can last for up to a week.


Marijuana withdrawal symptoms typically show up within a few days of your last use and can linger for several weeks.

Knowing how long detox and withdrawal may last can help you stay motivated throughout the detox process, even when it feels challenging. Having treatment and support to keep you comfortable and help manage your withdrawal symptoms is crucial to your long-term success. If you or a loved one is attempting to stop using drugs or alcohol, seek the help of an outpatient drug and alcohol detox program.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love struggles with addiction and needs help to stop using drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. The treatment you need is available at Cobb Outpatient Detox.

Our dedicated addiction treatment specialists understand that people with substance abuse and addiction need compassionate, comprehensive treatment. Reach out to our admissions team to learn about our programs or schedule an intake assessment now.

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