How Long Does It Take To Detox From Drugs?

Accepting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and that you need support is often the hardest step in recovery. If you are at this stage, we are proud of the brave choice you have made. For many people, the first question will be, “So, how long does it take to detox from drugs?” There is not one straight forward answer, but learning about the process and how to detox safely will empower you to make healthy choices and stay in control of your symptoms.

It is strongly advised that when detoxing from any substance, you do so under the supervision of medical professionals. Some aspects of detox can be dangerous and the support of expert clinicians increases your safety and comfort during the process.

Drug Addiction in Florida, USA

Recent research on the Florida county population suggests that on average, 8% of the Florida population are using illicit substances. This equates to around 1.5 million people. Furthermore, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that across the United States, 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2020 – the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in the country. Of these 93,000 deaths, 7,579 took place in Florida. This puts Florida at number two in the country for overdose deaths and has a sharp 37% increase from 2019. The only state with a higher number is California.

Do I Need to Detox?

Recognizing that you have a problem and you need support to get through your addiction can be challenging. There are some criteria that can help to identify problem drug use, but generally, if substances are negatively impacting or dictating your life, it’s possible that you are living with a dependency. Accepting this is the only way to move forward to a better place.

Some criteria which may be used to diagnose an addiction to drugs or alcohol include the following:

  • Using substances negatively impacts your life
  • Being preoccupied with using and obtaining drugs or alcohol
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Can’t stop using despite the negative consequences
  • Relationship problems due to drug use
  • A lack of enjoyment in previous interests
  • Using drugs in risky situations
  • Putting yourself in danger due to drug abuse
  • Increased tolerance to substances
  • Experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms

If you associate with two or three of these criteria, it may indicate you are living with a mild addiction. If most or all of these indicators are relevant to you, it could suggest you are living with a severe substance use disorder.

Regardless of what stage you are at, seeking help is always the right choice. Many people find themselves stuck in a position of denial about their condition, and furthermore, others may attempt to overcome addiction alone. This can be extremely damaging to your health and well-being, and lead to further physical and mental health issues. Taking a judgement-free approach to your addiction can help you find the compassion and self-care you need to start making healthier choices for you.

How Long is the Detox Process?

Detoxing from a substance involves ridding the body of any traces of the drug, plus the toxins they create. Usually, individuals going through drug or alcohol detox will experience withdrawal symptoms which can vary in severity depending on a number of factors.

This process can take anywhere from days to months, and throughout this time symptoms and experiences will fluctuate. How long detox takes depends on a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Which substance you are detoxing from
  • The presence of other substances
  • Frequency of use
  • Quantity of use
  • Co-existing mental health issues
  • Physical health medical history
  • Age
  • Gender

The initial detox is the crucial first step, freeing your system of substances so you can fully commit and focus on the psychological aspect of dependency. A typical drug detox program can take anywhere from three days to three weeks.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Preparing yourself for the challenges of the detox period is advisable. Most people will experience physical withdrawal symptoms, and depending on the substance, there may be some difficult psychological withdrawal symptoms to manage too.

Typical withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Sleeping problems
  • Fluctuating mood
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Fever and sweating
  • Muscle tremors or shakes
  • Panic attacks
  • Vivid dreams and delirium
  • Strong substance cravings

With certain substances, it’s possible to experience severe withdrawal symptoms which have life-threatening consequences. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include delirium tremens and seizures which is why it is strongly advised to engage in a medically-assisted detox. Quitting cold turkey without access to medical attention puts your life in danger and reduces your chances of a sustained recovery.

Detox Process by Substance

The answer to ‘how long does detox take?’, can be more accurately answered if we distinguish between drugs. The substance used affects the length of time it remains in the body; in turn, this impacts how long the detox process lasts. Generally, in the right conditions, an individual can go through the detox period in a week, though cravings are likely to persist for weeks or months after this. Below we look at some of the most commonly abused substances and their drug withdrawal timelines.

Drug Withdrawal Timelines

Alcohol

Days 1-3: Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of the last drink. They typically include anxiety, sleeping problems, and shakes/tremors.

Days 3-5: Symptoms are usually most acute within the first three days. This can include hallucinations, seizures, and extreme dehydration.
Days 5-7: Typically symptoms will decrease after one week.
7 days +: Severe cravings may continue for months after quitting.

Cannabis

Days 1-3: Symptoms may not appear until one or two days after last use. Maintaining good health at this stage can support the cannabis detox process. Hydration and adequate nutrition are key.
Days 3-5: Withdrawal symptoms are likely to peak within this period; these include exhaustion, reduced appetite, headaches, sleep problems, and digestive issues.
Days 5-7: During this stage the psychological symptoms of withdrawal are likely to occur including irritability, intense dreaming, cravings, and low mood.
7 days +: Symptoms may cease after this period, though frequent users may find that withdrawal symptoms continue for two to three weeks or more.

Opioids & OPIATES (iNCLUDING CODEINE, Heroin, MORPHINE)

Days 1-3: Withdrawal varies depending on whether the substance is fast or slow-acting. Detoxing from heroin may incur symptoms within a few hours and can include painful withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, anxiety, streaming nose, excessive perspiration, trouble sleeping, and frequent yawning.
Days 3-5: Physical symptoms are likely to peak at this time and include gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, abdominal cramps, shivers, sight changes, and increased heart rate.
Days 5-7: Some symptoms may dissipate but individuals may continue to experience diarrhea, poor appetite, dehydration, or seizures.
7 days +: In severe opioid withdrawal, individuals may experience symptoms for months including sleep problems, anger, cravings, anxiety, and depression.

Stimulants (InCLUDING Cocaine, CRYSTAL Meth)

Days 1-3: The initial cocaine withdrawal is often referred to as the ‘crash’. This can include exhaustion, aches and pains, frustration, and mood fluctuations. Cravings may temporarily subside.
Days 3-5: Cravings may increase again, as well as symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and lethargy.
Days 5-7: Sleep problems, intense drug cravings, low mood, and poor concentration may continue.
7 days + Drug cravings are typically the symptoms that remain for weeks or even months in stimulant withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines

Days 1-3: Early symptoms include irritability, nausea and vomiting, headache, and muscle pain.

Days 3-5: When symptoms are at their strongest in this phase, they could include psychological symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, shaking, restlessness, and physical symptoms including dry-retching, and irregular heart beat.

Days 5-7: For many people, severe sleep issues occur at this stage.

7 days +: The most severe withdrawal symptoms tend to last up to two weeks and may include weight loss, trouble concentrating, and trouble regulating emotions.

Support for Drug Addiction

NP Addiction Clinics serve the Florida community with a compassionate, holistic approach to addiction treatment. We use cutting-edge research and a range of new therapeutic techniques to treat a range of alcohol and drug dependencies.

If you are ready to move forwards from your substance abuse and find a healthier, happier future, we can guide you through the early days of recovery and set you up to make empowered life choices. If you have questions about our addiction treatment options, or you would like to schedule an assessment, call us today at (888) 574-3506.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team

RELATED ARTICLES

A person suffering from anxiety disorder because they never found out the answer to the question: "what is an anxiety disorder"
Mental Health

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

And do I have an anxiety disorder? Sweaty palms. Rapid breath. Racing heartbeat. A feeling like you can’t get enough breath? Like the walls are

Read More »

Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine